Graphic Medicine’s Possible Futures: Reconsidering Poetics and Reading
Dates: 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 March 2023
Location: Utrecht University (Kromme Nieuwegracht 80, room 1.06)
Instructors: Erin La Cour and Anna Poletti
Contact: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Credits: 5 ECTS
Since its coinage in 2007 by medical practitioner and comics artist Ian Williams, graphic medicine has steadily gained traction as an umbrella term for comics that explore healthcare issues, the theoretical discourse these comics engender, and the study of comics as expressive communicative tools. Moving on from the use of comics in medical institutions, which predominately take the form of simple, top-down didactic infographics on posters and in patient brochures, graphic medicine aims to expand the benefits of using comics in both healthcare training and information dissemination by focusing on how the complex affordances of the comics medium can provide subjective insights into experiences of various forms of illness and disability.
In this course, we will begin by discussing the development of graphic medicine as an area of practice and research within the broader context of the medical humanities. Tracing the overlapping interests of lifewriting, comics, and graphic medicine scholarship, we will focus on two, interconnected, topics for further research in graphic medicine: continued attention to the role of comics poetics in presenting experiences of living with or alongside disability or illness, and the need for continued research into the experience of reading graphic medicine by different reader groups (members of the public, medical professionals in training, patients and their loved ones).
*Students will be asked to read several sections from the instructors’ edited volume Graphic Medicine’s Possible Futures: Reconsidering Poetics and Reading (available on Project Muse)
Erin La Cour is Assistant Professor of English Literature and Visual Culture at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Her research focuses on the mediality, intermediality, and affect of comics in several socio-historical cultural milieux. She is the co-editor of “Graphic Medicine” (Biography 2022) and Key Terms in Comics Studies (Palgrave Macmillan 2022) and co-founder and co-director of the research consortium Amsterdam Comics. She is also a Comenius Fellow of The Netherlands Initiative for Education Research (NRO), for which she conducted the project ‘Opening a Dialogue about Mental Health through Comics and Creative Writing.’
Anna Poletti is Associate Professor of English at Utrecht University, The Netherlands. Their research focus is contemporary life writing, with particular interests in youth cultures, ephemera (both digital and analogue) and the role of mediation and materiality in autobiography. With Erin La Cour, Anna is co-editor of a forthcoming special issue of Biography: an interdisciplinary quarterly on “Graphic Medicine.” They also co-edit the New Directions in Life Narrative monograph series for Bloomsbury Academic. Their most recent book is Stories of the Self: Life Writing After the Book (New York University Press, 2020).
Bookings are closed for this event.