Dr. Hugh Gusterson, anthropologist, discussing "COVID and CULTURE"

Air Dates: December 19-21, 2020

This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Dr. Hugh Gusterson, Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia discussing "COVID and Culture."

Dr. Gusterson discusses many ways anthropologists might help people to understand COVID-19 and culture - from such topics as why certain communities are so resistant to wearing masks, why some countries have done better than others in handling the pandemic, and why are people hoarding items like toilet paper?

What does COVID teach us about American society? Anthropological studies reveal such issues as our fractured public health care system, the neglect of the elderly, racial and class inequalities, and the post-truth media environment.

It raises such questions as to why the wealthiest country on earth with such a huge concentration of experts and PhDs, would have the most dismal performance in combating the pandemic? And how does our fractured, polarized political environment make matters worse, weakening American response to the pandemic? What is the Zoom culture doing to us?

Gusterson is the recipient of the MacArthur Grant, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Science Foundation award, and many other awards. He served as president of the American Ethnological Society and was honored with the “Anthropology in Media” Award. Gusterson's areas of expertise include the anthropology of science, public anthropology, and nuclear culture.


“COVID poses the challenge of whether we can reinvent our cultural practices. The experiment is still ongoing. Can we, or is it too late to imagine the real threat that Covid poses? Is it too late to change our behavior - to start wearing masks and to care about the potential for infecting our neighbors?“ -- Dr. Hugh Gusterson