In memory of the pre-pandemic world, when historians were still able to conduct archival research, I created a checklist based on my own experience.
“Don’t travel at night, don’t travel by car, and don’t travel out of the city,” the warning of the Department of State repeated over and over in my head as we zipped along the small highway in darkness.
It had always been my professional dream to take students on a study abroad program that would be meaningful and impact their outlook on their role in the world.
Now that summer is approaching and summer schools for PhD candidates are likely to be cancelled, postponed, or arranged online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have found myself pondering my past summer school experiences.
“I have a bit of a provocative question for Taylor.”
Oh no. Here it comes.
“Have you ever done ayahuasca?”
It just did not sit right anymore to go on all these research trips. That’s when I calculated the Carbon Footprint of my project until thus far.
Now that I’m pursuing a doctoral degree in the highly interdisciplinary field of environmental history, I have come to embrace new research methods.
As I sit in my home in Serampore, India, flanked by the river Hugli and waiting for the already delayed Monsoons to arrive and bring with it some relief, in what has been a record-breaking and extraordinarily hot summer in India, I recognize that writing about water in place-based research is a self-defeating endeavor.