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Illness Narratives in Comics

Public Lecture on October 17 at 6:00 p.m. at Freie Universität Berlin / Public Workshop on October 18

№ 295/2019 from Oct 10, 2019

A workshop on October 17 and 18 at Freie Universität Berlin will deal with the topic of illness narratives in comics. Participants will discuss questions surrounding how patients’ views can be integrated into medical training and practices through comics that depict illness, disability, therapy, and care. The workshop entitled “Comics Put to Practice: Illness Narratives as Tools of Empowerment in the Medical Sphere” will be in English and is open to the public. Participants must register in advance by contacting  pathographics@fsgs.fu-berlin.de. Professor of medicine Michael Green from Penn State University’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center will open the workshop with a keynote talk on “Using Comics to Teach and Learn about Doctoring: What, Why & How” on October 17 at 6:00 p.m. Michael Green is known for his trailblazing role in incorporating “graphic medicine” comics into his university medical courses. His talk will be in English and is open to the public. Advance registration is not required.

Scholars working in the field of medical humanities and narrative medicine have long worked under the assumption that illness narratives help to foreground patients’ perspectives in medical training and practice. What happens when the special medium of comics, as opposed to text alone, is taken into account with its unique way of depicting bodily experiences related to illness, disability, therapy, and care? How can comics be included in medical school curricula, training for health care professionals, and communication with patients and their family members? What examples of experiences from Germany, other European countries, and the USA might prove helpful? Participants will focus on these questions during the workshop.

Experts from various fields and professional backgrounds will give talks and contribute to discussions at the workshop, including medical professionals, historians of medicine, medical ethics specialists, literary scholars, comic scholars, science education and communication experts, and comic artists and authors. Speakers from Denmark, Germany, England, and the USA will be there to present.

The workshop is organized by the PathoGraphics research team at Freie Universität Berlin, Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, a project funded by the Einstein Foundation Berlin. Professor Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff leads the project, which also put together the 2017 exhibit “SICK! Kranksein im Comic | Reclaiming Illness through Comics” at the Berlin Museum of Medical History at the Charité. The exhibit has since traveled around Germany and Austria where it has been on display in museums and hospitals.

Further Information

Time and Location

  • Thursday, October 17 at 6:00 p.m.
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Room JK 33/121, Habelschwerdter Alle 45, 14195 Berlin, Subway stations: Dahlem-Dorf or Freie Universität/Thielplatz (U3)

Workshop Program



Prof. Dr. Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, Institute of German and Dutch Languages and Literatures and the Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, Freie Universität Berlin, Tel.: +49 30 838-51416, Email: i.krueger-fuerhoff@fu-berlin.de