Tag Archives: Science Communication

War, sacrifice, and swallows that tell of summer: the narratives and metaphors of 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

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. A preprint of my first research article on this project is now available. In it, I outline the prevalence, and the reasons and implications of the UK’s cultural preference for framing Covid-19 as warfare, but also explain its shortcomings in a science communication context. In a recent conference paper, I explore furthermore what the history of science, science communication, and religion of past epidemics can teach us about the use of narrative in a public health crisis through a comparison of Covid-19 with the Victorian cholera epidemic, which also shows us what narratives and metaphors might be preferable. If you’re pressed for time, I also wrote a shorter piece, which you can read here.

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‘Alice in Wonderland & Science’ film for University of Oxford

In August I was extremely excited to be invited to shoot a little image film about my work on Victorian fantasy literature and science at Christ Church, Oxford. Christ Church kindly let me use some of Lewis Carroll’s own manuscript materials from their collection (have a look at some of their digitised items here) – including his photographs, proofs, sketches, letters, and his dedicated presentation copy of a first edition copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland! I also speak about Victorian children’s literature’s ties to Victorian Science Communication & Education, about Victorian Lunatic Asylums – and Charles Dickens’s visit to one – and how all of that can change how we think about Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature in general – I hope you like it!  

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