Doing history requires many things of us. One of those is a sense of detachment from what we are studying, so that historians can maintain their sense of objectivity. In an ideal world, I suppose, historians would only focus on events long after they happened. But, as the singer-songwriter John Prine (himself diagnosed with coronavirus) wrote, "It’s a crooked piece of time that we live in."
What I'd like to try, then, is to do some history of the event we are living through, making use of our historical skills to help us understand and to process these extraordinary times. There are challenges inherent in trying to study an event that is constantly evolving. I think the benefits to us of studying the American response to the pandemic outweigh these difficulties. So, your assignment is as follows:
Historians love to serve the academic community, and we have been called on, once again, to rise to the occasion. The Head of the Burroughs History department contacted me from 2050 (apparently, they have time machines and this is how they chose to use them). She wants help teaching how the Coronavirus affected America in 2020 by having you create a set of materials for her to teach. She also let me in on a little secret—strangely, each one of you has a grandchild in her class. So, to help your grandchildren and the future Head of the History Department, in your groups, you will:
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