Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many students to continue their coursework virtually, UC Irvine political science professor Cecelia Lynch launched an online class based on her blog and project “Religion and Critical Investigations of Humanitarianism in Africa.” As part of the course, some of Lynch’s students wrote about personal challenges resulting from the pandemic, their experiences and opinions on racism, and their thoughts on where humanitarian aid is needed now.
When COVID-19 shifted the lives of University of California students to an online environment in March, students enrolled in Critical Investigations into Humanitarianism in Africa already had plans to be there. The online course, developed and led by UCI political science professor Cecelia Lynch and funded by an Innovative Learning Technology Initiative grant from the UC Office of the President, launched in spring. The curriculum draws from Lynch’s decade-long project of the same name which has expanded engagements and ongoing dialogues with research institutes in Africa on topics including war, health, gender and religion, and governance. The research – which is available publicly through the CIHA Blog - is supported by on-going grants from the Henry Luce Foundation.
Given the severe stresses brought on by the pandemic, students enrolled in CIHA were offered the option of writing about their experiences and giving their advice for actual and would-be humanitarian actors during this time. Check out their reflections online and learn more about the project.