Elizabeth Donaldson gives a talk next to a large screen presenting depictions of mental illness in comics. Photo by Annemarie LePard | The Hofstra Chronicle
Elizabeth Donaldson gives a talk next to a large screen presenting depictions of mental illness in comics. Photo by Annemarie LePard | The Hofstra Chronicle

Visiting professor analyzes mental illness in comics

Donaldson cited the Batman franchise as an example to explain how mental illness and criminality are often linked together. She referred to the stereotyped physicians and inmates of the Arkham Asylum as extreme examples of the idea of ascribing mental illness to violent acts.


Through a discussion centered around psychographics, graphic memoirs and underrepresented psychiatric disabilities, Elizabeth Donaldson, professor of English and director of the Medical Humanities Program at the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) contrasted the connection between psychosis and violence in traditional superhero comics with the representation of mental illness in more contemporary publications.

“Even though the comics genre as a whole, including works about mental illness, may be flourishing, comics, graphic novels and memoirs that focus specifically on schizophrenia are still few and far between,” Donaldson said. Read more…


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