culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Juanita Navarro Paez

PhD Student, Shame and Medicine

About me 

I completed two undergraduate degrees at Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, one in Media and Communications and another in Language Teaching. After five years working in the publishing industry, I went on to do an MLitt in Comparative Literature at the University of Glasgow.

My Media dissertation, focused on Batman’s The Joker, and my work as an editor of teaching material and children’s books kept me in a path that made evident the usefulness of text/image media to convey different types of messages. My MLitt dissertation focused on two contemporary autobiographical comics written by female authors. It looked into how the authors used that media to depict their experiences with mental illness in a manner that acknowledged the complexity of their life narratives, breaking with stereotypes of women with mental illness still pervasive in literature.

I have a passion for everything mass media and “pop culture”. I believe that analysing what is being said in these mediums and why it is being said can give us an important insight into different aspects of society. I am particularly interested in the voices of women and ethnic/racial minorities and in feminist, post-colonial, and gender theory approaches.

My research 

I’m joining the WCCEH as part of the Shame and Medicine Project. My project will explore how shame and shaming in medicine are represented through comics from an intersectional perspective. I will compile and engage with a corpus of comics that addresses the experiences, fictionalised or autobiographical, of patients, carers, medical students, and healthcare professionals.

Comics, being a media that combines text and image, offer important communicative tools that allow for in depth discussions of topics that could be considered taboo or overly complicated, both for authors and audiences. Moreover, they are commonly used by marginalised groups to make their own personal or collective stories known and regain control over their narratives.