Social Distance

தூரம் – (Social) Distance

Kamala Visweswaran, Chao Center/Anthropology

Every time I see the term “social distancing” my mind hears “duram” (தூரம்) the Tamil word for “distance.”[1] It was used as an interdiction for the distance savarna women in my grandmother’s time were supposed to keep from the rest of the family while menstruating—often in a back room or separate hut—because they were considered impure…read more.

The Perversity of Social Distancing

Rosemary Hennessy, English

Social distancing, I’ve decided, is perverse.

Isn’t “distancing” contrary to the very essence of “social”? As human animals, social is what we have done for ages: sharing and gathering close in order to reproduce a way of life interdependently.  Yet here we are in the twenty-first century…read more.

More Life

Melissa Weininger, Jewish Studies

In a recent op-ed in The New York Times, sociologist Eric Klinenberg wrote about the need for what he calls “social solidarity” during times of crisis, which he defines as “the interdependence between individuals and across groups.” Instead of thinking about our response to the coronavirus pandemic as “social distancing,” he encourages us to reframe…read more.


Helena Michie, Director of CSWGS

Every few days on my Facebook feed—which I check more than ever now—I see an ad for the 2020 Census. Be counted, it says. Each time I see the ad—after I wonder how many fewer Americans there will be to count by the time counting ends—I think about the first Census I know anything about, the British Census of 1840. That census relied on the relatively new science of statistics and on the soon-to-be-powerful idea of…read more.


Brian Riedel, Associate Director of CSWGS


Distance sharpens them
I rank now by risk now by reward
In faith a future will loosen…read more.

Social Distance highlights the greater distances between us all

Brandon Mack, M.Ed
Pronouns: he/him/his
Black Lives Matter Houston

One of the unfortunate byproducts of COVID-19/Coronavirus is that it brings to light inequities that already exist within society. As the news has been reporting, the virus is disproportionally affecting communities of color, but most specifically the Black/African American community. The reasons are rooted in many…read more.

Every Home is a Universe: A Short Story in English and Spanish

Gisela Heffes
Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Studies

48th Avenue. Building 10. 4th floor.

On the morning of Thursday, March 14, Cristina Rodríguez slept more than usual. The night before, she stayed up late watching television. First, the news. Deaths worldwide from the anomaly were increasing everywhere, but especially in Italy and Spain. An extravagance. Shivering under a blanket, sheltered by a brandy and a…read more.

Co-parenting Through a Global Pandemic

Lorena Gauthereau
Recovering the US Hispanic Literary Heritage at the University of Houston

A month ago, I packed toys, books, and science kits, and handed them to my ex-husband. Then I threw my arms around my eight-year-old son, trying to hide the tears streaming down my face, and said goodbye until…read more.

Social Health

Chelsea Clark, Houston, TX

Humans are social beings. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, we are all beings that seek community for our interests, our pain, and our goals because finding community is connected to our identity. I’m reminded of the year I was transitioning to 7th grade, and my mother challenged me to…read more.

Behind the Mask

Jacqueline Couti
Classical and European Studies

With each passing day, shrouded in their glaring ineptitude and unreliability, many governments embarked upon an obscene merry-go-round. Our survival and well-being were none of their concern. The economy and money on the other hand . . . These governments’ sharp U-turns leave us dizzy, all but reeling from whip-lash…read more.

The ZOOM Society

Mary Kay Dauria
Cancer Research Advocate

Six weeks ago Zoom was not in my vocabulary as a proper noun. Just a brief six  weeks ago  I was learning to maneuver Zoom, use chat, block and unblock microphones and find best photo angles.  Now my life is consumed with Zoom!…read more.

Ode to My Relationship with a Scanner: Now Past

Meredith McCullough
Department of English; CSWGS Certificate Student

Once I thought up a mnemonic
To be taken as a tonic
Immunity to boring scanning.
You see, without the proper planning….read more.

Physical Distancing as Social Action

Kelly McKisson
Department of English

Feminist scholars have long theorized how the comfort of our bodies is maintained by the labor of others. The fragile ecologies in which we make our lives are maintained collectively by our relations with others, by their bodies. “However we choose to think of the social body,” Eula Biss writes, “we are each other’s environment.” What we often understand as…read more.

What Social Distancing Means to One Non-Social Media User

Angela Wren Wall
CSWGS Administrator

When I started hearing daily use of the term “social distancing,” I became unsettled….read more.