Inside the Anthropocene: Critical Media Literacy & the SARS-CoV2 Pandemic SARS-

deadline for submissions: 
June 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Heather Palmer University of Tennessee
contact email: 


 Invitation to submit to the International Journal of Critical Media Literacy Special Issue: 

Inside the Anthropocene: Critical Media Literacy & the SARS-CoV2 Pandemic 

SARS-CoV2 has created a global health emergency with real human cost that has also manifested as a media spectacle. This special issue will focus on the ways many different media platforms work as a kind of cultural pedagogy, a pedagogy that depends on the replication and distribution of certain forms of biopolitical power. 

The foundation of critical media literacy is the idea that the predominant ecosystem of our time emerges from the convergence of information, media, and technology. This ecosystem of information and culture shapes our deepest values and constitutes a common culture by providing a narrative that provides the symbols, myths, and resources that socialize us about how to behave and what to think, believe, fear, and desire (Kellner and Share 2020). 

We solicit articles from a range of disciplines that critically engage the coverage of this global crisis across multiple communication platforms (from traditional TV and print media to social media to local poster/listserv campaigns) using critical media literacy as a framework. We understand that media replicates asymmetrical access to power and engages in conflicts around class inequity, gender, racial and sexual oppression, religious discrimination, and political bias. As such, special consideration will be given to articles that track, monitor, and/or offer solutions to these representations as related to the current pandemic. 

Ideally, this special issue will comprise an archive of the dynamic processes through which these themes emerged, how their meanings were circulated, and how responses to them were constructed against the backdrop of the Anthropocene, an on-going constellation of human-related social, economic, and planetary catastrophes. Critical Media Literacy (CML), the “construction of critically informed media producers, critics, and users” (Kellner and Share 107) offers a pedagogical and political framework to engage with the exigencies of such precarious times of which SARS-CoV2 is but a part. 

Shorter form (10-15 pages or 4,000-7,500 words) and longer form (15-25 pages or 7,500 or 12,500 words) articles will be considered. Both focused discussions of particular media artifacts and broader looks across the pandemic are of interest. 

The following offers a list of subject areas authors may address through the lens of critical media literacy and is not meant to limit the range of potential topics: 

  • • The pedagogy of PSAs in the pandemic provided by government service organizations such as the WHO, CDC, or others at the local level. 
  • • Focused discussion on particular cultural artifacts, such as anti-science propaganda circulated in various forms of digital media, investigating how such widespread disinformation campaigns function pedagogically 



  • • Pandemic propaganda in a time of demagoguery, or a broad analysis of the propaganda offered by Trump’s administration regarding safety procedures and the threat levels of the pandemic 
  • • Critical analysis of the media coverage of the pandemic as it affects vulnerable populations and the bodies of BIPOC 
  • • Critical analysis of social media videos by nonscientists offering information about preventative best practices: for example, mask wearing, washing hands, sanitization practices 
  • • Trace efforts to target particular communities to encourage or dissuade them regarding scientific or governmental health guidance 
  • • Comparisons between scientists and nonscientists in explaining the origins of COVID in racist, anti-Asian sentiment 
  • • A specific case study of the coverage of the pandemic by a particular journalist or group 
  • • Articles of critical pedagogy that offer concrete ways to counter narratives of asymmetrical power in the classroom 
  • • Envisioning futurity in the Anthropocene--How critical media literacy (CML) as a liberatory pedagogy can be used to expand the necessary concept of science literacy in the classroom and to prepare students to respond to future disinformation campaigns 


Please send questions and completed MS to Heather Palmer at and Rebecca Jones at by June 15, 2021. 

See for submission instructions and format.