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.
Rene Almeling is an associate professor of sociology at Yale University with research and teaching interests in gender and medicine. Using a range of qualitative, historical, and quantitative methods, she examines questions about how biological bodies and cultural norms interact to influence scientific knowledge, medical markets, and individual experiences. She is the author of Sex Cells (University of California Press, 2011), an award-winning book that offers an inside look at the American market for egg donors and sperm donors. Her second book, GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men's Reproductive Health, will be published by the University of California Press in August 2020. In it, she argues that the historical lack of biomedical attention to men’s reproductive health has profound implications for contemporary reproductive politics. Her articles have appeared in American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Gender & Society. She is a recipient of the Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Research, one of Yale’s highest honors. During the 2019–20 academic year, she is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.