At the end of December, I traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to speak to Harvard University students about Mis(h)adra — academic and writer Soha Bayoumi was teaching a graphic class this semester, and kindly included Mis(h)adra on the syllabus!! I was floored to see it! I had met Soha at MICE this year, and was happy to work out a visit to Harvard to speak to her class.
I sat in on the last class of the semester and, after some presentations, talked with the students about Mis(h)adra and the themes of illness intersecting with culture. We spoke a lot about how my experience with my own Middle Eastern culture is one of sustained silence, with an expectation to keep your illness behind close doors — as well as how that led me to keeping my experience bottled up, and how I found in Mis(h)adra a journey to break out of that silence and be more open about my condition. Everyone asked awesome questions — it was so much fun!
Soha’s class had some great books on the syllabus, and I can’t wait to read all of them. Here are some picks that really stood out to me:
With the Light: Raising An Autistic Child by Keiko Tobe
Comics Are Research: Graphic Narratives as a New Way of Seeing Clinical Practice by
Lissa by Sherine Hamdy, Coleman Nye, Sarula Bao, Caroline Brewer, and Marc Parenteau
Incidentally, one of my favorite mangas is a medical drama — Black Jack by Osamu Tezuka! It’s a classic and I highly recommend you check it out if you’re not familiar.
Anyway, it was a really cool experience, and a great reminder as to why I love graphic medicine and therapy through comics (+ games!) as a whole.
Here’s a photo of me and Soha after the class! :>