Graphic Medicine is an exciting new book series from Penn State Press. Curated by an editorial collective with scholarly, creative, and clinical expertise, the series is inspired by a growing awareness of the value of comics as an important resource for communicating about a range of issues broadly termed “medical.” For medical practitioners, patients, and families and caregivers dealing with illness and disability, graphic narrative enlightens complicated or difficult experiences. For scholars in literary, cultural, and comics studies, the genre articulates a complex and powerful analysis of illness, medicine, and disability and a rethinking of the boundaries of “health.” The series will be diverse in its approach. It will include monographic studies and edited collections from scholars, practitioners, and medical educators, as well as original comics from artists and non-artists alike, such as self-reflective “graphic pathographies” or comics used in medical training and education, providing a creative way to learn and teach.
The Patient: Global Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Kimberly Myers, M.A., Ph.D.
While pain and suffering are universal, the experience,understanding, and expression of them are not. What it means to be a patient is unique to each individual: for example, what one person experiences as bothersome back pain, another might experience as debilitating. But patienthood also depends on one’s culture, both broadly and more narrowly defined (e.g., one’s ethnicity on the one hand and one’s immediate social circle on the other). Illness is a phenomenon constructed – sometimes passively, sometimes actively – according to the core values of the culture(s) of which the patient is a part. The Patient: Global Interdisciplinary Perspectives seeks to raise critical consciousness of issues confronting patients and contribute to a richer understanding of how one’s culture impacts the lived experience of disease. The chapters in this collection provide a snapshot of situations as they exist in a particular cultural and historical moment. Their long-term value lies in providing important historical documentation of where we are as an international community in the first decade of the 21st century. Hopefully, we can use such historical reminders as yardsticks to measure our progress in healthcare accessibility and funding as we reflect on the similarities and differences that exist between people across the globe, and among the particular communities in which they live.
The Patient (Aperçus: Histories Texts Cultures)
edited by: Kimberly Myers and Harold Schweizer
This collection of ten essays addresses the suffering of patients and how individuals as well as the larger society understand that suffering and try to ameliorate it. Four essays are personal reflections on illness, often interspersed with analyses of literary texts and including original poetry and creative prose. These pieces reveal how suffering is intensely private, how it happens interstitially, between medical appointments, procedures, and treatments. The essays reveal how, for many people, the psychological fragmentation that typically accompanies serious disease is ultimately more threatening to one’s overall well-being than the disease itself. The other six essays take a wider view of patienthood, examining it through the lens of history, politics, or culture. As a whole, this thoughtful volume attests to the rich intellectual and personal gains that result from an exploration of the condition of patienthood and what it means to become ‘patient’.
Illness in the Academy
Kimberly R. Myers, M.A., Ph.D.
Illness in the Academy investigates the deep-seated, widespread belief among academics and medical professionals that lived experiences outside the workplace should not be sacrificed to the ideal of objectivity those academic and medical professions so highly value. The 47 selections in this collection illuminate how academics bring their intellectual and creative tools, skills, and perspectives to bear on experiences of illness. The selections cross genres as well as bridge disciplines and cultures.