CEA Podcast Series: first season on COVID-19
Inspired by the need for reliable information and cross-cultural collaboration and communication in the context of COVID-19, three CEA students - Shreya Urvashi from TISS, Juan Camilo Reyes from University of Los Andes, and Alexander Husenbeth from RUC - have created Global Voices, the Critical Knowledge Podcast. Global Voices is an ongoing and open CEA project to which students, academics, and activists can contribute together. Global Voices combines expertise and experience from different backgrounds to foster forward-thinking, cross-boundary and interdisciplinary conversations. The first season sheds light on important aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic as a historical, political, psychological, and scientific event. It aims to enable discussions that can help us free ourselves from the atomized realm of our rooms and consider the implications of the historical moment we are living.
The first episode, The Historical Significance of COVID-19, is available on Spotify, Soundcloud and Hubhopper and contextualizes COVID-19 historically. We were joined by two experts on epidemiology: Catalina Gonzalez Uribe, Master in Anthropology, MSc in Social Epidemiology, as well as Doctorate in Epidemiology and Public Health from University of Los Andes, Colombia; and Maarten van Wijhe from Roskilde University, Denmark, postdoctoral researcher on epidemiology, who works with the historical and statistical aspects of infectious diseases.
In our second episode, The Future of Democracy and Civic Intelligence in Light of COVID-19, we reflected on the significance of technology and discuss democracy, emancipation, activism, and civic engagement with our two guests: Doug Schuler, Professor Emeritus at the Evergreen College in USA; and Siddesh Sarma, an alumnus of education and psychology of Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai in India. The episode is available on Spotify, Hubhopper, and Soundcloud.
Episode 3 of Global Voices is called The Socioeconomic Implications of the Lockdown and features R. Ramakumar, Professor at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and J. Mohan Rao, Professor Emeritus at University of Massachusetts, COVID-19 is causing severe economic problems around the world. It becomes clear that many of the goods that we take for granted are in fact dependent on many factors that are vulnerable to the impacts of a state of unexpected crisis. Departing from the issue of food security, and with a special focus on India and the US, we talked about the economic-epidemiological dilemmas for policymakers, and their disproportionate global impacts.
Episode 4 is called Environmental Impact of COVID-19: Crisis and Opportunity in the Anthropocene. Global carbon emissions have fallen substantially - giving us an insight into, as some say, what the world would look like without fossil fuels. The unprecedented restrictions on travel, work and industry due to the coronavirus have ensured good air quality in many otherwise choked cities. Wildlife has returned to habitats. Pollution is considerably down across continents, in comparison to the pre-pandemic normality. Is this just a fleeting event, or could it lead to longer-lasting changes? Our guests were Prof. Tamara Steger, researches on environmental and social justice and currently teaches in Budapest, Hungary, at CEU (Central European University). She holds a Bachelor of Science (cum laude) from State University of New York, a Master of Marine Studies from University of Washington, and a Ph.D. (with distinction) from Syracuse University. T Jayaraman is a Senior Fellow of Climate Change at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai in India. He used to work as a Professor at School of Habitat Studies in Tata Inst. of Social Sciences, Mumbai. TJ is trained as a theoretical physicist, and his current interests revolve around climate change. He also looks at science policy, and the history and philosophy of science.
Episode 5 explores the theme: Education and Mental Health in Isolation: New Challenges for Motivation and Innovation. We spoke with two psychologists about the challenges for motivation and reaching out during the lockdown, with a special focus on education. Bhasker Malu is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at CHRIST in Bangalore, India. He has developed a website, Onestoppsychology.com, and co-developed an android app called Summarizing Psychology. He has researched student motivation and contributed his insights into the role of isolation and technology on the psychology of human beings. Jesper Jørgensen is a cognitive psychologist with a specialization in spaceflight research. His knowledge about the psychology of astronauts and sailors who spend long periods of time in varying states of isolation, and about the role of space and time in how humans make sense of these states, complements this podcast. Together, we explored questions like: can demands on students be kept stable during these times? How should parents, educators, or other people in positions of responsibility react? As mental health has reached the status of a public health concern, the interconnected and intersectional nature of health and the role of social interaction in our wellbeing is a topic that deserves in-depth discussion.
Juan Camilo is from Colombia and studies Geoscience at University of Los Andes. Alexander studies Social Psychology and International Studies at Roskilde University, and Shreya is a PhD student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences researching Higher Education and student culture. We have recently added Adrijana Turajlic, Global Humanities student at Roskilde University, and K. SriSivaram, who studies Social Science at TISS, to our team, and have received help from Critical Edges, CEAs international student magazine, drawing on their experience and network for support. Stay tuned for more episodes in the following weeks. To students, activists, and academics interested in collaborating and contributing to the podcast, please do not hesitate to contact Shreya, Juan, Sascha, or CEA directly.