In their contribution to the “Covid-19 and the Social Sciences” series, Elisabeth Jean Wood, Douglas Rogers, K. Sivaramakrishnan, and Rene Almeling explain that for the foreseeable future, research in many field sites will face complex ethical and logistical challenges, and argue that immersive ethnographic field research will likely be among the last areas of academic research to resume something resembling its prepandemic rhythms. They reflect on the necessary conditions for the resumption of US-based or international field research and propose a series of principles that academic institutions can follow in order to avoid promulgating unresponsive, blanket policies.
Douglas Rogers is professor of anthropology and faculty director of the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies at Yale University. His interests in states and corporations, natural resources and energy, and religion and ethics have led to two award-winning books: The Old Faith and the Russian Land: A Historical Ethnography of Ethics in the Urals (Cornell University Press, 2009) and The Depths of Russia: Oil, Power, and Culture After Socialism (Cornell University Press, 2015). His research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, the National Science Foundation, the National Council on Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and other organizations. Rogers’s current historical and ethnographic research concerns the history and practice petroleum microbiology and scientific debates on the origins of hydrocarbons. In 2000¬–1, he was a fellow of the SSRC’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship program.