We thank all contributors of the 17th Blog Carnival for their insightful perspectives, discussions, and examples of rhetoric and communication in the time of COVID-19. In our CFP for this blog carnival, we called upon contributors to “explore the rhetorics, discourses, and perspectives around COVID-19, to examine the potential consequences and ramifications of the pandemic, and/or to create possible action plans at the individual, local, national, and global levels.” We are grateful for the examples provided by the contributors intersecting theoretical explorations and pedagogical practices.
Entries in this blog carnival offer a good mix of transnational conversations, personal and pedagogical reflections, and critical rhetorical analysis in response to rhetoric and communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nancy Henaku explores what the virality of the “Dancing Pallbearers” meme on social media platforms suggests about the intersection between circulation, globalization, and digital culture under COVID-19, highlighting the rhetorical and chronotopic implications of its transnational usage. Turning to transnational conversations in Chinese digital media spaces, Chen Chen uses the “positionality, privilege, power” heuristic to analyze how “Stand By Her”—a feminist activist group—used Weibo and WeChat to coordinate support for female medical professionals working in the epicenter of COVID-19. Similarly, employing a new materialist perspective, Jianfen Chen focuses on how face masks have been temporarily coded into social rules and people’s daily lives in China and how face masks disclose their eventfulness as the assemblage rhetoric amid the pandemic.
Personal and Pedagogical Reflections
Sharing personal reflections of the pandemic, Megan McIntyre tells the story of her mother’s recovery from COVID-19, connecting this experience to the wider call for ever more “slow-ness” as a strategy of resistance against a conclusive impulse. Mapping pedagogical implications, Fernanda Batista introduces “Power Academic Writing,” a language program in Ontario, Canada, and poses questions as to how the COVID-19 outbreak may have influenced student participation. Along a similar vein, J. J. Sylvia argues that an affirmative pedagogical approach is needed to help students develop epistemological strategies that not only critique but also build coherent world views that avoid conspiracy thinking.
Critical Rhetorical Analysis
Turning to critical rhetorical theories, Jason Luther offers examples of how relational methods for composing and sharing Quranzines have led to critical and post/humanizing responses to our crisis. Noah Wilson examines how posthuman, ecological conceptions of ethos can help us to understand the ways that conspiracy theories surrounding the corona-virus proliferate in our digital information ecosystems. Finally, Stacy Cacciatore argues that the uptick in virtual running events during the COVID-19 pandemic introduces an opportunity for vernacular rhetorics in the women’s running community to affect the everyday female recreational runner’s experience.
What we have learned from these entries in the blog carnival is that the COVID-19 pandemic poses ecological, epistemic, and pedagogical challenges to the computers and writing community, while also opening up new conversations about how to best address such challenges through revising and extending our current theories and practices. These blog entries bring together the perspectives of researchers and teachers who collectively provide insight into relational practices for joining the struggle against the pandemic and reshaping inclusive ecologies. To continue the conversation about rhetoric and communication in the time of COVID-19, we invite readers to share reactions on our Facebook and Twitter pages or in each blog post. We would love to hear what you think. Hope you enjoy reading the blog posts!