2020 Summer Stories: Personal Narrative, Sensemaking, and Memory during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Delaney Zuver

Student Name: Delaney Zuver
Major: Communication Studies
Advisors: Nii Kotei Nikoi, Ahmet Atay

Critical Digital Engagement Award

The summer of 2020 contained many important historic moments that have impacted an entire generation of people. My Independent Study aims to analyze the ways in which people remember this period of time and how they structure their personal narratives. I also investigated how these personal stories and memories are influenced by media and cultural narratives. To do this, I interviewed 13 individuals that spent their summers all across the country. Each person had their own unique experience and shed light on many different aspects of the summer’s events. From uprisings for racial justice to climate disasters to everyday life in a global pandemic, each person offered an important piece to the puzzle that is our collective memory as a country. I then compiled these interviews on to a website in order to preserve them for future generations. My hope is that this project will exist as an early account of the summer of 2020 and will begin the work of adding nuance to our memory of this time as a country. I also hope that this project will encourage people to see this time from a different perspective, and critically examine their own experience. Finally, I hope it leads audiences to recognize the importance of their own stories and inspire them to share them with the world.

Delaney will be online to field comments on April 16: 2-4 pm EDT (PST 11am-1pm, Africa/Europe: evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on April 2, 2021.