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Graphic Medicine and Mental Illness: Dialogic Diagnostics

April 22, 2021
12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Speaker: Elizabeth J. Donaldson, Ph.D., Professor of English

“Dialogic diagnostics” describes the ways artists who are patients annotate and refigure medical texts in comics. In other words, they take a diagnosis and create a dialogue with the text. For example, in Marbles, Ellen Forney lists the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for bipolar disorder and fills the margins with her personal commentary—expanding and talking back to the text, whose authority she parodies. This talk focuses specifically on the use of this convention in graphic memoirs of psychiatric disability and includes examples from Brick’s Depresso, Rachel Lindsey’s Rx, and others. These comics show us that patients are not passive recipients of labels. A diagnosis, under normal circumstances, takes place in the clinical encounter, in an exchange between physician and patient, and then extends outward.

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Use the button above or go to and enter meeting ID: 939 1776 3854.

This event is part of the Dean’s Digital Café Series, NYIT College of Arts & Sciences, Spring 2021.