Personal profile

Research

My research engages with questions of how the (inter)mediality, materiality, and historical development of comics interact with, critique, and help shape social and political discourse in various linguistic and cultural contexts. I am co-founder and Co-Director of Amsterdam Comics, Vice Research Coordinator for the Environmental and Medical Humanities Programme of the CLUE+ Interfaculty Research Institute, Co-Director of the PULSE Network: Medical and Health Humanities, and a board member of the Netherlands Institute for Cultural Analysis.

Over the last several years, my research has focused on Graphic Medicine, an umbrella term for comics that explore healthcare issues, the theoretical discourse these comics engender, and the study of comics as expressive communicative tools. Coined as “the intersection between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare,” Graphic Medicine is concerned with encouraging more individualized healthcare practices through the production and study of comics that visualize the subjective and often ineffable experiences of living with illness, disability, or disorders.

I am currently developing this line of research in my ERC Consolidator Grant, “Where are the Humanities in the Medical Humanities: How Comics Can Improve Healthcare Training, Practice, and Dissemination,” which inquires how, as both a theoretical research field and artistic research practice that produces theory, Graphic Medicine is well suited to examine how the Humanities are currently being used, but are not yet fully integrated, within the Critical Medical and Health Humanities. Focusing on Dutch, French, and English Graphic Medicine produced in The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, my project will comparatively analyze how the discourse and practice travels and shifts across national, cultural, and linguistic contexts in light of various healthcare systems, access, and cultural norms.

I am co-editor and co-author, together with Anna Poletti, of Graphic Medicine (University of Hawai‘i Press/Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 2022), a collection in which comics artists and scholars of life writing, literature, and comics explore the lived experience of illness and disability through original texts, images, and the dynamic interplay between the two. By treating illness and disability as an experience of fundamentally changed living, rather than a separate narrative episode organized by treatment, recovery, and a return to “normal life,” Graphic Medicine asks what it means to give and receive care. The collection was awarded an Honorable Mention "Best Special Issue" category of the 2022 Council of Editors of Learned Journals awards, and was nominated for an Eisner Award in the category of best Academic / Scholarly Publication.

I am also co-editor and co-author, together with Simon Grennan and Rik Spanjers, of Key Terms in Comics Studies (Palgrave Macmillan 2022), a glossary of over 300 terms and critical concepts currently used in the Anglophone academic study of comics, written by nearly 100 international and contemporary experts from the field. My other co-edited collected volumes include: Comics and Power: Representing and Questioning Culture, Subjects, and Communities (Cambridge Scholars 2015), “Comics in Art/Art in Comics” (Image [&] Narrative 2016), "As Slowly as Possible" (ASAP/Journal 2019), and "Drawing Yourself In and Out of It" (Digressions 2019). 

Teaching

I hold the Basic and Senior Teaching Qualifications (BKO and SKO) and teach in the BA programme Literature and Society, the MA programme Literature in a Visual Culture, and the RMA programme Literary Studies. I also act as faculty advisor for the creative writing and experimental image/text journal Expanded Field.

In 2019 I was awarded a Comenius Teaching Fellowship for my project “Opening a Dialogue about Mental Health through Comics and Creative Writing” that brought together the theories of the Critical Medical and Health Humanities and Literary Studies with the practices of creative writing and comics drawing in the university classroom. I am particularly interested in practice-based, experimental, and embodied pedagogies, which I use in my courses:

BA Courses:

  • Creative Writing
  • Creative Writing and the Publishing Industry
  • Literature in a Visual Culture

(R)MA Courses:

  • The Graphic Novel
  • Contested Spaces

She also supervises PhD projects and theses on all levels, and is particularly interested in projects about comics, image/texts, (inter)mediality, creative practice, and Graphic Medicine.

Ancillary activities

No ancillary activities

Ancillary activities are updated daily

Academic qualification

Cultural Analysis, PhD, ASCA, University of Amsterdam

Award Date: 11 Jun 2013

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