Since its beginning in May 2020, Rituals in the Making has developed in myriad ways, guided by the generosity of individuals and communities who have shared their experiences with death and mourning during the pandemic.
Here is a sampling of some of those conversations and observations from our fieldwork. They include excerpts from interviews, brief write-ups of events we attended and observed, as well as photo essays.
Showcasing the “Culture Keepers” Research: Dr. Fletcher presents a preview of the oral history project on African American funeral homes
“It Feels Like We’re Putting Them to Rest”: The final day of cleaning and ordering the flags from the In America: Remember installation
The 20,000 flags enter a new stage as a physical-digital archive of COVID loss and remembrance.
Passed down through the generations in the African American community, funeral Service is a network of families forged by blood and bond.
Coding, Plotting, and Analyzing the Language of Misinformation: A deep dive into contested knowledge on social media
Examining thousands of posts about COVID on social media, the CIC subteam is using qualitative database software to analyze them.
Materializing the Virtual: Engaging in Online and In-Person COVID-19 March to Remember Memorial Events
Mobilization around COVID justice and remembrance takes different forms and is propelled by a range of organizations, activists, and mourners. A prime example was the multi-sited COVID March to Remember event, organized by COVID Survivors for Change, Yellow Heart Memorial, and Faces of COVID Victims. The march and associated events took place over three days,…
In the early months of 2022, the United States was once again in the middle of a surge with the omicron variant sweeping through communities across the country. The Rituals in the Making team had the opportunity to observe first hand the clashing experiences and interpretations of the pandemic at that point in time through…
In a way, these two signs create a moment of ironic condemnation. These are two institutions toward which many Americans look for safety and yet suspended between them is a representation of a quarter-million deceased citizens.
“I cut sprigs and then tucked them in the grave by the coffin. I think these were more meaningful than store-bought flowers because they were her flowers. Her azaleas.”
“One of the most important human things we do is honor our dead and grieve.”
“I also want to celebrate my mom’s life and I’m afraid Zoom would just be about her death. My parents had a beautiful life.”
When we spoke to Emma, a 27 year-old social work student in Manhattan, she was still feeling overwhelmed by the deaths of her two grandfathers, Bob and Marty. She was also overwhelmed by the rules Jewish funerals necessitated.
As with so much of this research, we often find ourselves drawn into the very ‘rituals in the making’ that we seek to understand.