Behind the Mask

Vernacular Culture in the Time of COVID

Behind the Mask
Ben Bridges, Ross Brillhart, Diane Goldstein
Publication Date
Utah State University Press

Vernacular responses have been crucial for communities seeking creative ways to cope with the coronavirus pandemic. With most people locked down and separated from the normal ebb and flow of life for an extended period of time, COVID-19 inspired community and creativity, adaptation and flexibility, traditional knowledge, resistance, and dynamism. Removing people from assumed norms and daily lives, the pandemic provided a moment of insight into the nature of vernacular culture as it was used, abused, celebrated, critiqued, and discarded. In Behind the Mask, contributors from the USA, the UK, and Scandinavia emphasize the choices that individual people and communities made during the COVID pandemic, prioritizing the everyday lives of people enduring this health crisis.

 Despite vernacular’s potential nod to dominant or external culture, it is the strong connection to the local that grounds the vernacular within the experiential context that it occupies. Exploring the nature and shape of vernacular responses to the ongoing public health crisis, Behind the Mask documents processes that are otherwise likely to be forgotten. Including different ethnographic presents, contributors capture moments during the pandemic rather than upon reflection, making the work important to students and scholars of folklore and ethnology, as well as general readers interested in the COVID pandemic.

Contributors: Pieper Bloomquist, Sheila Bock, Kinsey Brooke, James Deutsch, Anne Eriksen, Troyd A. Geist, Julianne Graper, Incoronata Inserra, Andrea Kitta, Kyrre Kverndokk, Lucy Long, Andrew Robinson, Theresa Vaughan