Contesting, Negotiating, Living; New Research Directions in Mental Health II: Contesting marginalization: (carto)graphic representations of mental health

Type: Virtual Panel
Theme: Mental Health in the Academy Affinity Group
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM (PST)
Room: Virtual 15
Organizers: Linda Peake, Ebru Ustundag, Beverley Mullings, Laurence Simard-Gagnon
Chairs: Linda Peake


Contesting marginalization: (carto)graphic representations of mental health

Scholars have recently begun exploring the benefits of creative mediums to understand the complexities of health care and health inequities (Williams, 2012; Vaccarella, 2013; Quesenberry and Squier, 2015; de Leeuw and Hawkins, 2017; de Leeuw et al., 2018). Recent scholarship in geohumanities and health geographies has argued for the necessity of the incorporation of visual ontologies and epistemologies to expand our understandings of health and to contest pathologized understandings of “illness” (Donovan 2015; Donovan and Ustundag 2017). Recent autobiographical graphic novels by female artists like Rachel Lindsay (Rx), Ellen Forney (Marbles), Katie Green (Lighter Than My Shadow) offer novel representations of complex and nuanced understanding of mental health. By utilizing comics’ multimodal form, these artists disturb, question and contest grand illness narratives. By taking control of their illness representations, these graphic memoirs offer a new way of understanding of hard to express sensations and experiences of mental health in relation to broader social and political power structures.

In this session we aim to expand the discussions on geographies of mental health into this visual realm. Some of the questions to consider include:
How can we graphically capture and represent individual and marginalized experiences, in ways that links these experiences to broader systems of health care and health equities?
In what ways can these interventions help us to understand hard to express realities and sensations?
In what ways can these interventions question broader discourses of medicalization and medicalized subjectivities?
How can these interventions contribute to expanding our understanding of cartography as storytelling practice? More particularly, how can they help us invent new ways of mapping mental health through various dimensions and scales (bodies, homes, neighbourhoods, cities, institutions, etc.)?


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Panelist Robert Wilton McMaster University 15 3:05 PM
Panelist Marcia England Miami University 15 3:20 PM
Panelist Laurence Simard-Gagnon 15 3:35 PM
Panelist Ebru Ustundag Brock University 15 3:50 PM
Panelist Courtney Donovan San Francisco State University 15 4:05 PM

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