Free Summer Course: Thinking Through COVID-19


This free, 1-unit interdisciplinary course invites returning and incoming students to think through different approaches to understanding COVID-19, pandemics and their interactions with the social, political and natural world.

Occidental College professors, Oxy students, and community experts will think through the problem of the viral pandemic, exploring issues raised in political, social, economic, scientific, historical, emotional, intellectual, ethical terms. The course will also show ways in which students, faculty, staff, and the larger community might work through this crisis together to address the multiplicity of this pandemic. Finally, COVID-19 will function as a lens through which we focus on ways in which societies must change to relieve the inequitable burdens imposed and exposed by COVID-19. NOTE: Course presentations and other materials are available to all Oxy students but only incoming first-year students can register for the course to earn one unit of academic credit.

The course begins Monday, June 22, 2020.

Course Schedule

Organizing Faculty
Professor Mary Christianakis

Mary Christianakis

Professor, Critical Theory and Social Justice
(323) 259-2580

Mary Christianakis is a professor of language, literacy, and culture. She studies literacy development, language, and discourse from a critical sociocritical perspective.

Professor Alexander Day

Alexander F. Day

Associate Professor, History; Affiliated Faculty, East Asian Studies
(323) 259-2752

Alexander Day studies the intellectual, social, and cultural history of peasants, food, and agrarian change in China. He teaches Chinese, East Asian, and world history. Read his Oxy Story profile.

Professor Jessica Dirkes

Jessica Dirkes

Non-Tenure Track Assistant Professor, Co-Chair, Public Health; Public Health Program Coordinator
(323) 341-4005

Jessica Dirkes is an NTT Assistant Professor of Public Health and the Public Health Program Coordinator.

Professor Gretchen North

Gretchen North

John W. McMenamin Endowed Chair in Biology; Advisory Committee, Biochemistry; Advisory Committee, Urban and Environmental Policy
(323) 259-2898

Gretchen North investigates how plants cope with physically challenging conditions.