Inspiring Minds seeks to broaden awareness and impact of graduate student research, while enhancing transferable skills. Students were challenged to describe their research, scholarship or creative activity in 150 or fewer words to share with our community.

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This Major Research Paper compares the portrayal of the 1918 Influenza in the media in Spain and Canada. This pandemic, dubbed by the public as the “Spanish Flu,” presents a historical case study that demonstrates the detrimental social, economic, and political implications of associating a virus with a foreign nation, which is particularly relevant in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic today. To this end, the study analyzes headlines, stories, advertisements, and political/editorial cartoons in Spanish and Canadian newspapers (such as El País and The Globe and Mail, respectively) to document the Canadian press’ role in perpetuating this harmful rhetoric, which in this case lead to discrimination against Spaniards in Canada and affected international relations between the two countries for decades afterwards.

Hanna Barnett
MA candidate, Hispanic Studies (Migration and Ethnic Relations)
Faculty of Arts and Humanities - Western University

Lauren Beck

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Hanna Barnett completed her Masters in Hispanic Studies at Western last year, and is now completing her PhD in the same program. Inspired by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, her research focuses on media representations of pandemics, and the association between diseases and a country or racial group, but centred in the Hispanic context.

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