Conference on Medical Narrative in Graphic Novels: Call for Papers

Although the first comic book was invented in 1837 the long-format graphic narrative has only become a distinct and unique body of literary work relatively recently. Thanks in part to the growing Medical Humanities movement, many medical schools now encourage the reading of literature and the study of art to gain insights into the human condition.

A serious content for comics is not new but representation of illness in graphic novels is an increasing trend. The melding of text and visuals in graphic fiction and non-fiction has much to offer medical professionals, students and, indeed, patients. Among the growing number of graphic novels, a sub-genre exploring the patients’ and the carers’ experiences of illness or disability has emerged.

Comics and Medicine: Medical Narrative in Graphic Novels 17th June 2010

School of Advanced Study, Institute of English Studies, University of London

Confirmed keynote lectures by Paul Gravett and Marc Zaffran

This one-day interdisciplinary conference aims to explore medical narrative in graphic novels and comics. Papers and posters are invited on issues related to, but not restricted to, the

following themes:

•What motivates authors to produce graphic narratives with medical content?

•How does the audience for this growing genre differ from traditional markets for so-called ‘pathographies’?

•What additional insights can graphic narratives offer into healthcare compared with literature and film?

•What international trends are discernible in the production and reception of medical graphic narratives?

•What are the ethical implications of using graphic narratives to disseminate public health messages?

•What are the strengths of graphic fiction in bioethics conversations? In conversations between patients and health care workers?

•How have patients (and patient communities) turned to graphic fiction to communicate health care and advocacy information to other patients, their family and surrounding community, and their physicians?

•How do patient-created graphic fictions/narratives differ from physician-or health-care industry-created graphic narratives? What does this imply about the role played by graphic fiction in institutionalized medicine?

•How can graphic stories be used in medical education and patient education?

•What are the roles of graphic stories in enhancing communication within the medical profession, in scholarship and in the medical humanities?

Contributions are sought from humanities scholars, comics scholars, healthcare professionals, comics enthusiasts, writers and cartoonists.

300 word proposals for a 20 minute paper or a poster should be submitted by

Friday 29th January 2010 to

For further info  or for delegate bookings respectively visit

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