Three scholars share their pandemic experiences, weaving narrative and poetry in an anti-anti-narrative of illness, death, stress, and fear. This is a tale of relentless living at a distance—of the drip, drip, drip, drip, drip, minute by minute, year after year, endless cascade of unresolved anxiety and the shared cortisol spike so many of us have endured slogging through the interminable pandemic in a death-indifferent culture.
Magnitude 5.1: A Collaborative Anti-Anti-Narrative of Chaos and Cortisol during the Pandemic
Christine S. Davis is an autoethnographic, poetic, and aesthetic ethnographer. She is Emeritus professor of health communication at UNC-Charlotte, a poet, and an artist. She is a Fulbright Scholar, and writes and teaches at the intersection of contemplative and arts-based methods of understanding, and health, specifically in the areas of women and children’s health, end-of-life communication, and family disability. She studies people with illnesses and conditions that are incurable as they face revisions in their personal identity and narrative and negotiate the liminal spaces between “well” and “unwell,” alive and dead, and power and marginalization. She teaches courses in health humanities, end-of-life communication, health care narratives, and research methods. Her most recent book, The Personal Is Political: Body Politics in a Trump World (2020, Brill|Sense), was co-edited with Dr. Jon Crane and is a narrative exploration of bodies affected by contemporary politics. Dr. Davis is currently writing a memoir about her semester at UCC (University College Cork, Ireland) lecturing and looking at the Magdalene Laundries and the mother and baby homes to understand their influence on Irish identity and on her own Irish heritage. Her BA degree in communication is from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) and her MA degree in communication studies is from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her PhD in communication studies was awarded by the University of South Florida in 2005.
Margaret M. Quinlan is a professor of communication studies and the director of an interdisciplinary minor, health & medical humanities. She explores how communication creates, resists, and transforms knowledges about bodies. She critiques power structures to empower individuals who are marginalized inside and outside of health care systems. She examines the nexus of public perceptions of medicine, science, and technology, both historically and presently. She investigates the role communication plays in public understandings of medical expertise, illness, wellness, caring, treatment, health, and healing. She also critiques the interrelationships and inequities of these structures to facilitate empowering knowledge for those marginalized in traditional healthcare contexts by race, class, illness, ability, socioeconomic, and sexual and gender identity (LGTBQIA), etc. status. Dr. Quinlan has authored approximately forty journal articles and seventeen book chapters, and co-produced documentaries in a regional Emmy award–winning series (national distribution with PBS; available on Amazon). She also co-authored a book with Bethany L. Johnson, You’re Doing It Wrong! Mothering, Media, and Medical Expertise (2019, Rutgers University Press).
Christine S. Davis, Margaret M. Quinlan, Jonathan L. Crane; Magnitude 5.1: A Collaborative Anti-Anti-Narrative of Chaos and Cortisol during the Pandemic. Journal of Autoethnography 1 April 2023; 4 (2): 202–223. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/joae.2023.4.2.202
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