Andrea Kitta is associate professor in the Department of English at East Carolina University with a specialty in medicine, belief, and the supernatural. Her current research includes vaccines, pandemic illness, contagion and contamination, stigmatized diseases, disability, health information on the internet, and Slender Man. She is the author of the 2012 Brian McConnell Book Award winner Vaccinations and Public Concern in History and coeditor of Diagnosing Folklore.
The stories, jokes, conspiracy theories, and rumors around outbreaks can be more damaging than the diseases that spawn them, and yet the fears and doubts of the general public are very real. Especially now, better communication and greater sensitivity are required in conversations about infectious disease and public health.
University Press of Colorado | Utah State University Press is offering free access to these two fantastic resources for understanding cultural responses to the current outbreak of coronavirus.
We are offering free resources for teachers who are suddenly teaching online and want to cover COVID-19 with their students. In the video, Dr. Kitta discusses the differences between gossip, rumor, urban legend, and conspiracies theories, then relates all of these folklore genres to the COVID-19 outbreak. This update contextualizes the work previously done in the book and gives a starting point for discussion about COVID-19 that can be used independently or in conjunction with the text. You can download an open access copy of The Kiss of Death: Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore. Chapter 2 specifically will align nicely with the use of the video.
Download the PDF in the 'Download Attachments" section below.
Contagion, Contamination, and Folklore