Personal Reflections on Space in Pandemic

Assignment 1: Personal reflections on space in the age of the pandemicAfter almost a year, we’re feeling all pandemicked out, yet the public health emergency continues to play a major role in our lives. Much of our response to COVID19 has to do with our relationships with lived spaces—where we can go, whom we can see, and how we must space ourselves. Your first assignment will be in part a reflection piece about your own experiences but also incorporating some of the now voluminous peer-reviewed evidence on behavioural effects of pandemics. Here are the requirements:1. Personal reflectionFor the first part of your paper, I would like you to describe an experience (either a single experience or something ongoing) that you have had that relates to both the COVID19 pandemic and to behavioural settings. I always hesitate to give examples because I don’t want you to just latch onto my example for your paper, but I’ll tell you that early on in the pandemic, before we understood that outdoor spaces were relatively safer (but not absolutely safe mind you), there was a great deal of chatter about problems of social distancing on sidewalks and trails. My own experience was that the normal experience of dueling personal space that sometimes happens in public places was exacerbated. Some people took great care to give a wide berth. Others didn’t. We actually tried to study this in my laboratory (in the end results were inconclusive) because some of my students argued that this was something that was both gendered and racialized. I could describe specific instances of my feelings of being crowded on the Iron Horse Trail in Kitchener, for example, but what I’ve described is the general idea. Hopefully this gives you some idea of the kind of content that I’m looking for in this part of the paper. Don’t sweat it and remember that your personal experience is YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, so nobody (including me) can tell you that it’s wrong.2. Pandemics and environmental psychologyIn the second part of the paper, your challenge is a little greater because I’d like you to take your personal experience and relate it to some aspect of environmental psychology. So to continue with the example that I’ve described above, you might decide to begin by looking at some of the research on personal space (and by all means take advantage of whatever content you can find on the course site but please go beyond this). You might then go beyond this to see whether you can find any research that relates to psychological factors related to social distancing in the pandemic. You might wonder whether, since this emergency is really less than a year old, you’ll be able to find very much. And I can tell you with some confidence that you’ll find plenty of material and of course all published quite recently!3. The nitty grittyAt the end of this exercise, I’d like you to have a paper that is about 2000 words long (let’s say between 2000 and 2500 words), where the first 500 words (max) is introspective and experiential, as described above, and the rest of the paper (so 1500 to 2000 words) describes the science as we understand it. I’d like you to consult a minimum of five peer-reviewed sources and to include them in an APA formatted reference section.Here’s how the grading is going to work:The whole assignment is going to be worth 30% of your final grade. 20% of that grade will come from part 1 above (so 6 points) and the other 80% will come from part 2 above (so 24 points). Here’s the rubric that I will use:Part 1.Did the student describe a personal experience of the pandemic that involves a behavioural setting? If so, then 5 points. Did they use well-formed grammatical sentences free of spelling errors? If so, then 1 more point. (in other words, the grading for this part of the assignment will be extremely gentle… you’ll only lose points if your writing is unintelligible or if you haven’t made a good faith effort to conform to the broad guidelines of the assignment)Part 2.I will assess Part 2 of your paper roughly equally according to two criteria:a. Knowledge. Does the paper show evidence that the student has conducted sufficient literature review, assimilated ideas from the readings, and done a good job of covering the relevant material?b. Communication. Does the paper show effort to communicate ideas clearly? This includes such things as proper form (beginning with an introduction and ending with a conclusion, building a logical progression of arguments) but also the prosaic matter of getting grammar and spelling right (proofread proofread proofread). Are the references in proper APA format and are the in-line citations done correctly?In other words, the paper will be graded on both content and form with equal weighting being given to each of these two components.

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