COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories and the Unvaccinated “Other”

Stephanie L. Singleton (American Folklore Society)

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, conspiratorial rhetoric flourished and was directed at US citizens who questioned the safety of mRNA vaccines. These individuals were then viewed as unvaccinated/un-American "others" lacking in intelligence and morals. As a result, COVID-19 conspiracy theories that saw the government's refusal to address concerns as “proof” of malicious intent proliferated. This paper explores how conspiratorial rhetoric was used to "other" and censor those who challenged the official narrative on mRNA vaccines, and how conspiracy theories were employed to generate public discourse on issues such as democracy, human rights, scientific research, and long COVID.

Part of 01-11 National Politics, History, and Folklore, Thursday, November 02, 8:30 am–10:00 am