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The Department of Sociology Spring 2023 Colloquium Series Presents: Dr. Whitney Pirtle

On Wednesday, March 22, 2023, the Sociology Colloquium Series will feature Dr. Whitney Pirtle. Dr. Whitney Pirtle is an Associate Professor of Sociology and McArthur Foundation Chair in International Justice and Human Rights at the University of California, Merced, where she also directs the Sociology of Health and Equity (SHE) Lab. Her latest research includes writing on Covid-19 pandemic inequities from the standpoint of the Black Radical Tradition. She is the co-editor, with Zakiya Luna, of Black Feminist Sociology: Perspectives and Praxis with Routledge Press. She is currently working on two book manuscripts, one of race in post-apartheid South Africa and the other is under contract with Polity Press tentatively titled, Black Identities: The Expansiveness of Blackness in the US.

Colloquia Title and Topic:

"Dying, Surviving, and Thriving through the Pandemic: Theorizing Covid-19 Inequities across Structural Domains of Racism, Capitalism, and Sexism "

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted everyone, but not equally. Some have died, some have survived, and a few even seem to thrive. This talk will discuss Dr. Pirtle's ongoing theoretical work that utilizes Black Radical Traditions (BRT) to explain inequities in health outcomes. She conceptualizes BRT as an organizing framework and argues Critical Race Theory, Racial Capitalism, and Black Feminism can independently and collectively contribute to health equity today, especially in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic. The talk will also demonstrate an empirical application of the framing that utilizes the 2019 and 2020 waves of the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey to examine whether the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with changes to daily activity limitations due to poor physical or mental health and whether those changes were patterned by structural inequalities such as structural racism and/or sexism. Collectively, the discussion helps us think through equitable interventions that might help more of us thrive.