Medical Humanities Colloquy 13.0

Title: Carousels and Dead Fish: Self-Identification With and Against Medical Terminology in Graphic Memoirs


Description: The power of a widely beloved graphic memoir is often that it represents a relatively common experience in a completely fresh and surprising way offering a new vernacular that connects with readers and builds community. In this talk, I articulate the concept of an “eccentric diagnosis,” a unique imagery that defines an illness or disability by negotiating the boundaries between medical frameworks and idiosyncratic experiences between the clinical and the individual. With “eccentric diagnoses,” readers find a sense of community that produces self-identification beyond and often supplementary to what is on offer from medical and psychiatric professionals.


Bio: Krista Quesenberry is an Assistant Professor of English at Albion College (Albion, Michigan, USA), where she teaches professional and technical writing, as well as journalism. She received her dual-title Ph.D. in English and Women’s Studies in 2016 from Pennsylvania State University. Krista’s recent work on comics, identity, and lifewriting appears in The Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, Life Writing, and More Critical Approaches to Comics: Theories and Methods (2019, Routledge). Her current projects include an examination of identity and diagnosis in graphic memoirs and an exploration of interdisciplinary feminist-literary methods in the twenty-first century.