• Plague and Prejudice: Archaeology, COVID-19 and the resurgence of social justice movements

    Plague and Prejudice: Archaeology, COVID-19 and the resurgence of social justice movements

    Posted by Panos Kratimenos on 2022-10-26

PIA is proud to announce a new forthcoming special issue, Plague and Prejudice: Archaeology, COVID-19 and the resurgence of social justice movements. The abstract can be found below. Please contact ioa.pia-editor@ucl.ac.uk for further information or to submit an abstract (c.200-300 words). The deadline for expressions of interest and submission of abstracts is 16th December 2022.  

Plague and Prejudice: Archaeology, COVID-19 and the resurgence of social justice movements

The last few years have been eventful, to say the least.

In relatively short order, a wide array of social justice movements – from #MeToo, to Black Lives Matter, to indigenous struggles (both long-standing and new), to a litany of regional and global class-, sex-, gender- and ethnicity-based movements – have exploded into (and back into) life across the world. Concomitantly, various reactionary, nativist and revanchist tendencies have emerged, aiming to stifle and, indeed, in many cases, roll back the achievements of such movements. This fractious political environment has fomented in a time of increasing economic inequality and precarity, with two supposedly once-in-a-lifetime global economic cataclysms occurring barely a decade apart (2007/8 and 2019 to present). All of this, of course, cannot be separated from the ongoing climate catastrophe and, in particular, the seismic demographic and economic shifts which this has and will continue to entail.

Then, of course, there is the small matter of a (hopefully!) once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Since December 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to an estimated 6.5 million deaths (WHO, 2022) and forced a sea change on the majority of the world’s population, the effects of which continue to be felt in many parts of the world. Crucially, however, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been fundamentally unequal (see, for example, Ahmed et al. 2020, McGreal 2020, and Patel et al. 2020), with the bases for this differential impact largely centred around many of the same vectors at the root of the myriad social justice movements outlined above (see, for example, Isaac & Elrick 2021; Valencia et al. 2021).

This special issue of
Papers from the Institute of Archaeology draws together researchers, lecturers, professionals and students to reflect on the intersection of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resurgent social justice movements across the world on archaeology, cultural heritage, museums and the study of the past more broadly. We invite participants to consider the theoretical, methodological and practical impact, and to share experiences of how these last few years have shaped or altered their perceptions of these disciplines, inherent assumptions therein, teaching, research, learning and the role of these disciplines within society more broadly.



Ahmed, Faheem, Na’eem Ahmed, Christopher Pissarides and Joseph Stiglitz. 2020. ‘Why inequality could spread COVID-19’, The Lancet Public Health 5(5):e240. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30085-2

Isaac, Maike & Jennifer Elrick. 2020. ‘How COVID-19 may alleviate the multiple marginalization of racialized migrant workers’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 44(5): 851–63. https://doi.org/10.1080/01419870.2020.1842900

McGreal, Chris. 2020. ‘The inequality virus: how the pandemic hit America’s poorest’, Guardian, 9th April 2020. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/09/america-inequality-laid-bare-coronavirus

Patel, J. A., F. B. H. Nielsen, Ashni A. Badiani, Sahar Assi, V. A. Unadkat, B. Patel, Ramya Ravindrane, & Heather Wardle. 2020. ‘Poverty, inequality and COVID-19: the forgotten vulnerable’, Public Health 183: 110–11.

Valencia Rendon, Andres Felipe, Isabela Mendes Volschan, Manoella de Novais Pereira, Alessandra de Freitas Pimentel, Wagner Lima Monteiro, Gláucia Maria Moraes de Oliveira. 2020. ‘Marginalization, Vulnerability and Economic Dynamics in COVID-19’, International Journal of Cardiovascular Studies 34(3): 319–23. https://doi.org/10.36660/ijcs.20210029

World Health Organization (WHO), Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. Available at: https://covid19.who.int/; accessed: 21st July 2022.


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