May 12, 2021 from 10am-12pm (MST)

They're not viral, they're spreadable: The allure of pandemic memes

From teaching handwashing to spreading xenophobic disinformation, memes cast a dense visual and aural layer across the pandemic information landscape. In this talk I use the theory of spreadability in participatory cultures to analyze the content, form, and stance of popular coronavirus memes in and beyond the Americas. I also juxtapose this human-centered view of memes with problematic representations of media content as “viral”, to keep focus on the crucial social, algorithmic, and geopolitical forces that distinguish the spread of digital information from the spread of biological matter.  



Dr. Diana Daly is an Assistant Professor in the University of Arizona iSchool, at the intersection of people, information, and technologies. Her work is focused on engagement for students and communities in the past, present, and future mediated through digital technology. As an educator she specializes in social media, online collaboration and qualitative research methodologies. She delivers content to large audiences using performance techniques along with media technologies including collective blogs, video lectures, educational social media apps, and audio work. In her scholarship and teaching she draws from and build on an interdisciplinary fund of knowledge including archival studies, digital culture, performance studies, and digital humanities.  Her dissertation work deployed qualitative inquiry and community engagement in person and online to interrogate a parade in honor of the dead as an archives. Her website...


As the Director of Individual Studies, she supervises undergraduate senior capstone projects and honors theses in the Information Science, Technology, and the Arts program; sheI coordinates and builds partnerships to support undergraduate and graduate internships; and streamline approvals workflow.

The Bat, the Pangolin and the Chinese Mad Doctor: About the Hypotheses on the Origins of COVID-19

What caused the COVID-19 pandemic? There is no consensus on that question. The Chinese government, the World Health Organization, the American alt-right or the environmentalists each put forward specific arguments to explain the initial outbreak. Was it a natural event? Have SARS-CoV-2 existed long before December of 2019? How sure are we there was no lab leak in Wuhan? These debates concurrently stem from scientific controversy and political discussion. This presentation analyzes the main theories about the origins of COVID-19 in the light of the political factor.



Dr. Elisa Chelle is a Professor in Political Science at the Université Paris Nanterre and Affiliate Researcher at Sciences Po Paris (LIEPP). A specialist in social policies and healthcare policies in the United States, she is the author of Gouverner les pauvres. Politiques sociales et administration du mérite (PUR, 2012) and Comprendre la politique de santé aux États-Unis (Hygée, 2019).


Her recent article in the Covid in the Americas (COVIDAM) blog: Conspiracy theories and Covid-19 in Donald Trump's America