In "Comics, Health, and Embodiment," Professor Rachel Adams teaches students that the medium’s combination of words and pictures is particularly adept at depicting illness.
February 09, 2021
This fall, Rachel Adams, a professor of English and Comparative Literature, is teaching a course titled Comics, Health, and Embodiment. The class will look at graphic narratives with a focus on embodied identities such as gender, sexuality, race, and age. Given its relevance, she updated the course materials and assignments to respond to the pandemic by including graphic narratives that deal with experiences of health, illness, and disability, including the work of Alison Bechdel, CeCe Bell, and Ellen Forney, among others, “to make sense of current events,” Adams said.
Adams has a personal investment in the course’s subject matter. Soon after the birth of her second son, Henry, doctors told her and her husband that he had been diagnosed with Down syndrome. The news had a seismic effect on Adams’ perception of her family’s future and her outlook on life.