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Hot Off the Press: Our Co-Executive Director's Latest Paper, Pandemic Form!

Abstract

Narrative structures, though invisible to the naked eye, guide our understanding of pandemics. Like curves and graphs, we can plot them, identify their patterns and organizing principles. These structures act upon our understanding of social and biological events just as much as the rhythms of viral replication and mutation. They order not only themselves but also social and health outcomes. This essay uses narrative precision to expand beyond Charles Rosenberg’s influential dramaturgic model and develops new pandemic forms, scaled from the level of an individual line break to the multi-part series: Arc, a form of sequence. Cycle, a form of repetition. Sequel, a form of elongation. Caesura, a form of break. It investigates the potentialities and limitations of these forms, how they intersect, collide, and contradict, and how analysis of these interactions contributes to a deeper understanding of pandemics, their effects, and the diverse perspectives defining their structures. In doing so, it prototypes how literary methods offer conceptual frameworks for pandemic historiography and how a transdisciplinary, medical humanities analysis produces novel understandings at the intersection of health, culture, and society.





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