In this talk, I approach the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as a discursive artefact – what we (think we) know about it and how we (are made to) act and live during its course is shaped by what is being said and, even more so, written about it. I will therefore draw on a mixed corpus consisting of messages from the Gov.sg Telegram channel, official statements and announcements, media coverage, as well as memes circulating online. Through a corpus-assisted multimodal critical analysis of fragments of these, at times discordant, discourses that have been shaping and are shaped by the ongoing pandemic, I will offer reflections on the biopolitics of COVID-19 in Singapore over the last two years.
Ivan Panović is an assistant professor of Linguistics and Multilingual Studies in the School of Humanities at NTU where he teaches a range of courses on the relationships between language and gender, sexuality, food, environment and globalisation. He is interested in ethnographic and multimodal discourse analytic approaches to vernacular writing and literacies as social practices, language ideologies, language creativity, sociolinguistic aspects of migration and social and spatial mobility. Lately, he has been thinking about what words do to bodies.