APSU class to look at sociology of COVID-19 this fall
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – In the last few months, the new coronavirus has infected 5.6 million people worldwide, resulting in more than 350,000 deaths. At the same time, as governments and businesses have shut down – sometimes leading to protests and violent altercations – the pandemic has revealed deep fissures in modern society.
In the long months ahead, those fractures will likely deepen, permanently changing societies around the world from the ones we knew before this outbreak.
“COVID-19 is not only a medical issue,” Jonniann Butterfield, chair of the Austin Peay State University Department of Sociology, said. “Sociology is critical to understanding how this virus has impacted every part of our society from healthcare and education delivery to the culture wars of mask-wearing. It has exposed, and sometimes reinforced, race, class and gender disparities.”
This fall, when on-campus classes resume at Austin Peay, Butterfield will help students examine the social precursors and consequences of the global pandemic with a new class, “The Sociology of COVID-19.” The course, using a sociological framework, will analyze how the social organization of healthcare, education, the economy and politics facilitated society’s preparedness for and response to the pandemic.
The class will also tackle additional topics, including responses to quarantining, effects on relationships, the culture of fear and the role of science.
“An analysis of how the impacts of the virus vary across race, class and gender is also included in the course,” Butterfield said. “Students will consider the role of sociology in re-imagining a post-COVID-19 society.”
In addition to serving as chair, Butterfield is an associate professor of sociology. Her primary research interests include gender, sexualities and the family. She received a Ph.D. and M.S. in sociology from Florida State University and a B.S. in Sociology from the University of Pittsburgh.
For information on the Department of Sociology, visit https://www.apsu.edu/sociology/index.php.
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