The Journal of the Plague Year: A COVID-19 Archive (JOTPY) is a digital, crowdsourced archive collecting pandemic stories from around the globe. It encourages students and the public to submit stories of personal experiences during the pandemic. The project builds on the rich work of rapid-response archives in museum studies, oral history, anthropology, and disaster studies. JOTPY reconceptualizes the COVID-19 pandemic as a “slow disaster”: not a singular crisis, but an ongoing calamity provoked by deep historical, sociopolitical, and cultural processes that COVID-19 both reflects and highlights. In order to address the challenges of documenting a slow disaster, we propose employing the rolling-response archive model. We argue that the current pandemic has changed our understanding of crises and of how to document them ethically and equitably.
Slow Disasters and Adaptive Archiving: COVID-19 and the Rolling-Response Model
Kathleen Kole de Peralta is a clinical assistant professor of history at Arizona State University. Her research integrates the history of medicine and environment on early-modern Iberia and Peru to 1) capture the intrinsic, and historical relationship between environment and health in urban areas; 2) demonstrate the evolution of health as a fluid, changing concept depending on the cultural context within which it was produced; and 3) use the digital humanities and open-access platforms to make enviro-health history accessible to English- and Spanish-speaking audiences. More recently, she has served as a project lead on the Journal of the Plague Year and is the creator of the 80s Babies oral history project.
Marissa C. Rhodes is currently an assistant professor of history at Saint Leo University outside of Tampa, Florida. She received her PhD in history in 2019 and a MA in library science in 2011, both from the University at Buffalo. Her research focuses on how digital methodologies uncover gendered and racialized politics of historical women’s most intimate moments. The book project based on her dissertation is called Tender Trades: Wet Nursing, Urban Domestic Economies & the Intimate Politics of Inequity in the Anglo-Atlantic, 1750–1815. She is also a practicing public historian and founder/producer of Dig: A History Podcast, a feminist history podcast. As an ACLS Emerging Voices Post-Doc at Arizona State University, she acted as Managing Director for the Journal of the Plague Year: An Archive of COVID-19.
Kathleen Kole de Peralta, Marissa C. Rhodes; Slow Disasters and Adaptive Archiving: COVID-19 and the Rolling-Response Model. The Public Historian 1 November 2023; 45 (4): 7–25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2023.45.4.7
Download citation file: