In fall 2020, CCS Professor of Humanities Dr. Gioia Woods embarked on an ambitious initiative, the NAU Plague Project, to bring students, faculty, and community together to read Albert Camus’ 1947 novel The Plague and to participate in a wide variety of events, including panel presentations with local health professionals, collaborative reading and discussion between university students and area high schools, an interfaith panel discussion, and a workshop on how to collect pandemic stories to record and express life during quarantine and COVID-19. Dr. Woods incorporated these activities also into HUM 382 Pandemic Stories, an upper-division course offered by the department of Comparative Cultural Studies and co-taught by Dr. Woods, Professor of English Nicole Walker, and Professor of English Dr. Donelle Ruwe. The course also featured invited guest speakers from the community and faculty across campus.
In November, the Plague Project reached a national audience in the first episode of the podcast “Making Meaning: Why the Humanities Matter,” produced by the Federation of State Humanities Councils. In the episode, “The Humanities in Times of Crisis,” physician, poet, and writer Dr. Rafael Campo reflects on how the humanities can heal us and reads his poem “The Doctor’s Song” and Dr. Woods discusses the Pandemic Stories part of the Plague Project. Listen to the podcast here.