Dr Annie Kelly is a writer, researcher, and the British correspondent for the well and deservedly praised podcast QAnon Anonymous. Her PhD research was on digital anti-feminism and the kinds of ideas that float around certain 'tradcon', biological essentialist, or religiously motivated groups. She does research on antifeminism, new digital cultures, conspiracy theories and right wing extremism.
Prompted by the resurgence in anti-vax sentiment, Annie's been looking into the history and sociology of vaccinations, and sees lots of interesting roots and themes for understanding what's going on right now. Her new podcast, "Vaccine - The Human Story" has been digging into precisely these issues, and so we had questions for Annie, lots of questions!
The history of the germ theory of disease, the early use (and abuse) of vaccinations, and the panics, xenophobia and quack therapies - it's quite simply fascinating stuff, and we get a wonderful overview from Annie in this episode.
Annie's work at QAA and elsewhere naturally focuses more on the extreme end of the spectrum, and while pulling no punches, she approaches what can be quite disturbing and confronting topics with a humour and empathy that is incredibly authoritative and reassuring. We talk about COVID and vaccines, but so much more, like the anti-feminist ideas that float around in the hinterland between athiesm and religiosity, pick up artists converting to Orthodox Christianity, and other weirdness.
One of our most enjoyable and informative interviews - do check it out!