Pandemic Social Problems, with video and partial reading list

PN Cohen photo / CC-BY /

With a lecture and reading list, almost ready to start class.

Almost 6 months ago, on March 2, I had an informal COVID-19 debriefing with 50 students in my Social Problems class. Some of what I said came true, and I’m glad (sort of?) none of it was completely wrong (though we didn’t actually hit 100 million worldwide confirmed cases in May). For a reality check I go back to this Twitter thread, where I jotted down what I told them:

Now, as I prepare to teach the course online next week, I have updated my overview lecture, which has grown to 40 minutes.

Beyond some fundamentals, I’m tossing out the traditional Social Problems course outline and just doing the pandemic and related issues this semester, so this is the introductory lecture. I expect to record some more lectures. If I decide they’re not too embarrassing to share I’ll put them on my YouTube channel (which you can apparently subscribe to if you want to be notified of the videos). Feel free to use them for whatever you like, and pass along your feedback.

The course doesn’t start till next week, so I don’t have everything together yet, but I have a lot of readings, some for me and some for the students, which I’m sharing below.

Happy to have more suggestions, too.


The 1918 Flu pandemic

Race and Ethnic Disparities 

  • Hammonds, Evelynn M., and Susan M. Reverby. 2019. “Toward a Historically Informed Analysis of Racial Health Disparities Since 1619.” American Journal of Public Health 109 (10): 1348–49.
  • Hogarth, Rana Asali. 2019. “The Myth of Innate Racial Differences Between White and Black People’s Bodies: Lessons From the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” American Journal of Public Health 109 (10): 1339–41.
  • Egede, Leonard E., and Rebekah J. Walker. 2020. “Structural Racism, Social Risk Factors, and Covid-19 — A Dangerous Convergence for Black Americans.” New England Journal of Medicine.
  • Bobrow, Emily. 2020. “She Was Pregnant With Twins During Covid. Why Did Only One Survive?” New York Times, August 6, 2020, sec. New York.
  • COVD race/ethnicity data:
  • Moore, Jazmyn T., Jessica N. Ricaldi, and Charles E. Rose. 2020. “Disparities in Incidence of COVID-19 Among Underrepresented Racial/Ethnic Groups in Counties Identified as Hotspots During June 5–18, 2020 — 22 States, February–June 2020.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69.
  • Kim, Lindsay, Michael Whitaker, and Alissa O’Halloran. 2020. “Hospitalization Rates and Characteristics of Children Aged 18 Years Hospitalized with Laboratory-Confirmed COVID-19 — COVID-NET, 14 States, March 1–July 25, 2020.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 69.


Economic crisis and inequality

Gender and the lockdown

Government response

Anti-Asian racism

Trusting experts and confirmation bias, videos


2 thoughts on “Pandemic Social Problems, with video and partial reading list

  1. Thanks for sharing. This is a good reading list also for myself (: Additional reading suggestions.
    Racial/ethnic disparities in US:
    1) Marc A Garcia et al. 2020. “The Color of COVID-19: Structural Racism and the Pandemic’s Disproportionate Impact on Older Racial and Ethnic Minorities”The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, , gbaa114,
    2) Gertrude R Gauthier et al. 2020. Exacerbating Inequalities: Social Networks, Racial/Ethnic Disparities, and the COVID-19 Pandemic in the United States, The Journals of Gerontology: Series B, , gbaa117,

    Families & Caregiving:
    Jeffrey E. Stokes & Sarah E. Patterson (2020) Intergenerational Relationships, Family Caregiving Policy, and COVID-19 in the United States, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 32:4-5, 416-424, DOI: 10.1080/08959420.2020.1770031


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