Saturday, December 05, 2009

CFP: Comics and Medicine: Medical Narrative in Graphic Novels (January 29; June 17)

Call for papers:

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. 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.

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

Abstracts may be in Word, WordPerfect, or RTF formats, following this order: author(s), affiliation, email address, title of abstract, body of abstract

We acknowledge receipt and answer to all proposals submitted. Abstracts will be peer-reviewed blind and papers for presentation will be selected by Friday 26th of February 2010.

A report of the conference will be submitted to relevant journals and websites. All the papers and posters accepted for and presented at the conference will be eligible for development in a themed volume (subject to funding).

Paul Gravett
is a London-based freelance journalist, curator, lecturer, writer and broadcaster, who has worked in comics publishing and promotion since 1981. He has curated numerous exhibitions of comic art in Britain and in Europe and since 2003 has been the director of Comica, London's International Comics Festival at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. Paul is the co-author, with Peter Stanbury, of the books Manga: 60 Years Of Japanese Comics (2004), Graphic Novels: Stories To Change Your Life (2005), Great British Comics: Celebrating A Century Of Ripping Yarns & Wizard Wheezes (2006), The Leather Nun & Other Incredibly Strange Comics (2008) and he is the editor of The Mammoth Book Of Best Crime Comics (2008). On television he has been a consultant and interview subject on The South Bank Show's programme Manga Mania (2006) and BBC4's documentary series Comics Britannia (2007). Also, he appeared as interview subject in the DVD documentary The Mindscape Of Alan Moore (2007). He continues to write about comics for various periodicals.

Marc Zaffran, M.D. is a French-born Family Physician and a writer (under the pen name Martin Winckler). He is currently a researcher at the University of Montreal. He has written forty books including novels and essays on patient-doctor relationship, the ethics of healthcare and the representation of Doctors in mass-media fiction including pulp novels, television drama and comic-books. He is currently studying the works of a French doctor and comic-book artist, Charles Masson.

For more information go to or

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4/16/2010 1:07 AM  

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