Paper on ‘war’ and ‘sacrifice’ narratives in the Covid-19 pandemic

A line from Vera Lynn's WW2 song, also quoted by Elizabeth II during the Covid-19 pandemic, in a pub window
Vera Lynn quote on a pub

Since joining the ECLAS ‘Science and Religion Narratives’ project at the University of York, I have been applying my background in communication and media science, history of science and comparative literary studies to analyse the narratives of the Covid-19 pandemic. In a recent conference paper, I explain why we should be very sceptical of the ones that came to dominate in the UK – that of “warfare” against a virus, and “sacrifice” in such a “war”. I analyse their religious and cultural history, which, even when we are unaware of it, can influence our behaviours. As their (over-)use isn’t new, I also explore, what the history of science, and science communication, can teach us about the use of narrative in medical crisis through the Victorian cholera pandemic. I also wrote a shorter piece, which you can read here. A longer article is in the works – so watch this space for more, soon!

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