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#Covid, Social Crisis and the Search for Story in the Digital Age

Headshot of Richard Jean So
Tuesday, March 28, 2023
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Richard Jean So
Digital Humanities

Duke English invites you to join us for the first talk in our Digital Humanities series. Richard Jean So, Associate Professor of English and Cultural Analytics, McGill University, will speak on "#Covid, Social Crisis and the Search for Story in the Digital Age" on Tuesday, March 28th, at 3:30 pm in room 314 Allen Building.


As the Covid-19 pandemic winds down, scholars have begun to ask: how will culture memorialize this social crisis? What will be the Covid-19 "narrative"? However, since early 2020, tens of thousands of ordinary online users, on popular writing platforms like Wattpad, have been writing about Covid-19 in real time. This talk combines computational and critical methods, leveraging the affordances of Internet data, to study how individuals internalized Covid-19 by writing stories about it, ad hoc and before they know how it would end. What kinds of stories did they write? What kinds of social worlds did they imagine? How did those stories evolve over time, as the world learned more about the pandemic? Broadly, this talk reflects on the impact of new writing platforms on how we understand the relationship between writing and social representation, models traditionally rooted in pre-digital print culture.

We are looking forward to having you join us Tuesday at 3:30 pm!

Contact: Quanta Holden