From Climate Change to COVID-19:

Communicating Complexity and Collective Affect through Digital Memes

How do memes simplify complex topics, making them politically legible and emotionally digestible to wide and diverse audiences on an increasingly global scale, using the techno-social affordances of social media platforms? This interdisciplinary project seeks to understand how memes are produced and mobilized to communicate ideas, attitudes and affects related to COVID-19 and climate change, as a way of probing larger societal sentiments around these intertwined global crises. It assumes a collaboration between anthropology, political communication science, and media studies, and is funded by the Global Digital Cultures initiative at the University of Amsterdam.