School of Global Studies

Global Studies - responding to the COVID-19 pandemic

Academics across the School of Global Studies are drawing on their wide-ranging research expertise to react and inform during the current Coronavirus outbreak.

From providing specialist insight on health policy to writing pieces for the UK and international media on migrant key workers, and debating the impact the virus might have on Brexit, our School’s research in Anthropology, International Relations, International Development and Geography can bring understanding, challenge and perspective to the crisis.

Further reading and resources on COVID-19 connected with the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex

University of Sussex response to COVID-19 – read about how our research, community support, manufacturing and media stories are addressing the challenges of the pandemic

Sussex Sustainability Research Programme (SSRP) Forum: the Pandemic and Sustainability – a forum offering policy recommendations through analyses and articles on the impact of the pandemic on sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Discover Society: The COVID-19 Chronicles – a series of articles by social scientists responding to the pandemic from a range of perspectives

CORTH Research Centre responses to COVID-19 – collated by the Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health including blogs by members

COVID-19 resources and research on epidemics and pandemics – collated by the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre based at University of Sussex and the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) which carries out interdisciplinary global research that unites development studies with science and technology studies.

Research Centres in the School with a health policy focus

The Centre for Global Health Policy addresses pandemic responses and how the health of populations can be improved, especially healthcare for all and solutions to anti-microbial resistance.  Professor Stefan Elbe is long established in this field and his work has been cited frequently in the current response to COVID-19. He is currently sharing his expertise with a foresight group at the World Health Organisation (WHO) looking at new issues which could significantly impact global health.

Selected publications from the Centre for Global Health Policy

The Centre for Cultures of Reproduction, Technologies and Health (CORTH) analyses the intersections between cultures of human reproduction, social identities, health and technologies.  CORTH has a dedicated page showing how members are engaging with the pandemic. Co-director Professor Maya Unnithan together with CORTH colleagues has recently submitted evidence to the UK Parliamentary Committee inquiry into Unequal impact: Coronavirus and the impact on people with protected characteristics and has been invited to join the Global Perinatal Task Force on Birth Setting, coordinated by the University of British Columbia.

Current research initiatives and responses to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic by our departments: Blogs, articles, media and more


Professor Peter Newell (IR), with expertise on tackling climate change, has been invited to join a Government Office for Science working group on Supporting Lower Carbon Local Economies.
Launched in July, the group which, includes policy and analysis officials from government, academics, and research funders, and will report to the Chief Scientific Advisers on priorities viewed as important to help government respond effectively to Covid 19 in the mid- to long-term.


The Sussex Asia Centre has been collaborating with the Afghanistan Institute of Strategic Studies in Herat and Kabul in promoting policy and public discussion on the effect of the pandemic in AfghanistanMagnus Marsden (Professor of Social Anthropology, Chief Academic Adviser at the Afghan Institute for Strategic Studies and Director of the Sussex Asia Centre School of Global Studies, University of Sussex)

Hyper-precarious lives: Bangladeshi migrants on Azad visas in Qatar during the COVID-19 pandemic (Routed Magazine) by Priya Deshingkar

Fifty Days of Lockdown in India: A View from Two Villages in Tamil Nadu (EPW Engage – linked to Economic & Political Weekly) by Grace Carswell (Reader in Human Geography) and Geert De Neve (Professor Of Social Anthropology & South Asian Studies (Anthropology))

Migrants Crisis in India: A quest for inclusive city (Socio Legal Literary) YouTube presentation and debate led by Priya Deshingkar

Faceless and Dispossessed, India’s circular migrants in the times of Covid-19 (DownToEarth blog) by Priya Deshingkar

Priya Deshingkar discussing the current migrant crisis in India resulting from the pandemic lockdown (interview with Asiaville)


Migrant exodus – the second wave (BOOM YouTube) by Govindraj Ethiraj, Priya Deshingkar & Anindita Adhikari

Sustainable Development Goals and the Pandemic  for the Universities Policy Engagement Network (UPEN) by Ruth Segal (Research Fellow in Global Studies researching SDG synergies and trade-offs with the Sussex Sustainability Research Programme

Priya Deshingkar was interviewed for the following media articles:

‘Lionhearted’ girl bikes dad across India, Inspiring a Nation (The New York Times)

An inclusion model for migrants that draws upon data (live Mint)

The migrant mess (India Today)

Caught in a pincer – India’s migrants: between corona and climate change (Centre for Science and Environment – India)

Parts of Delhi sizzle at 45 degrees Celsius, no quick respite likely (Hindustan Times) by Priya Deshingkar (discussing the impact the heat has on migrant workers walking back to their villages)

Why India’s migrants deserve a better deal by Priya Deshingkar

Key workers’ stories of exploitation and resistance by Ben Rogaly (Professor of Human Geography)

UK food inequality under Covid-19 and the community restaurant (Le Monde diplomatique) by Ben Selwyn (Professor in International Relations and International Development)

7 books top medical experts say you should read to become an ultimate authority on pandemics so you’re prepared for the next one – includes Stefan Elbe’s Pandemics, Pills, and Politics: Governing Global Health Security

COVID-19, economic free fall and air pollution by Andreas Antoniades (Senior Lecturer in International Relations who is focussed on global debt dynamics, financial crises, and the changing vulnerability-resilience nexus between advanced and emerging economies)

Environment and poverty during the Coronavirus crisis: a lesson for global collaboration by Alex Antonarakis (Senior Lecturer in Global Change, Alexander’s research is centred on the interface of terrestrial ecology, land use and climate change in relation to forest ecosystems)

The COVID-19 pandemic and refugees: fears and opportunities by Michael Collyer (Professor of Geography, Michael is primarily a political geographer with an interest in the relationship between people on the move and states)

COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu: textile livelihoods under threat by Geert De Neve (Professor of Social Anthropology and South Asian Studies, Geert’s research has primarily focussed on industrial work and the politics of labour in India’s informal economy)

COVID-19: a shot in the arm for healthcare?  By Ben Hunter (Lecturer in International Development in the School of Global Studies. Ben works at the intersection of health and development, with a particular interest in how new areas of commercial exchange emerge in the health sector)

Life, but not as we know it by Peter Newell (Professor of International Relations and specialist in the politics and political economy of environment and development)

Sustainable pandemic preparedness: beyond health systems in poor countries by Anne Roemer-Mahler (Reader in International Relations and Deputy Director of the Centre for Global health Policy, who focusses on global health governance, health security and antimicrobial resistance)

COVID-19, Europe, inequality and global justice by Gurminder K Bhambra (Chapter 3 in 12 perspectives on the pandemic – International social science though leaders reflect on COVID-19 Social Science pamphlet by De Gruyter

Geert De Neve (Professor of Social Anthropology and South Asian Studies) was interviewed for the following article: A tense textile hub spins out of control  (live Mint) -  how will the garment industry in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu adapt to a post-Covid situation?


Evidence submission to the UK Parliamentary Women’s Equality Select Committee by Maya Unnithan on the Unequal impact: Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on people with protected characteristics

Why we should listen to social scientists about COVID-19 by Magnus Marsden

One size fits all? Why lockdowns might not be Africa’s best bet by James Fairhead (Professor of Anthropology, specialising in environmental and medical anthropology) and Melissa Leach

The danger of bailing out a bankrupt socio-economic system: the pandemic and the day after by Andreas Antoniades

Rethinking Brexit in the light of COVID-19 by Gurminder K Bhambra (Professor of Postcolonial and Decolonial Studies)

Essential workers of the world unite! by Santiago Leyva del Rio and Kaveri Medappa (Kaveri is a PhD researcher in International Development at University of Sussex. Her research focuses on the changing experiences of work and mobilisation among platform/gig workers in India).

In Pakistan, Sex Workers Face  Cruel Dilemma (The Independent) by Saba Karim Khan, PGR in Anthropology

China may have prevented over 700,000 COVID-19 cases with its strict control measures to stop spread, scientists say (Newsweek) – Stefan Elbe was interviewed for this article

Locked out under Coronavirus lockdown – continuing exclusion of India’s migrant workforce by Navella Ahmed and Priya Deshingkar (Naveela is a post-doc researcher at the Sheffield Institute of International Development (SIID) having completed her PhD at the University of Sussex on urban migrants in India and access to social protection. Priya is Professor of Migration and Development at the University of Sussex and has published extensively on migration in India.)


The UK feigns ignorance, but five years on it’s still intimately involved in Yemen’s war (The Guardian) by Anna Stavrianakis (Professor of International Relations)

COVID-19, International Trade and Global China: reflections from Yiwu by Magnus Marsden (Professor of Social Anthropology)

America’s coronavirus caseload looks worse than China’s. Here’s what experts say (Newsweek) - Stefan Elbe was interviewed for this article

3 Countries starting Coronavirus vaccine trials in global race to stop COVID-19 before the end of the year (Newsweek) – Stefan Elbe, interviewed for the article is a Professor of International Relations and a specialist in global health policy