In the ongoing Covidian Age, classic disease narratives from Daniel Defoe through Mary Shelley to Cormac McCarthy and Stephen King have made a comeback. Explorations of the Arts and Humanities in representing and critiquing pathologies, the “sick role” and medicine, with apocalyptic, extinction, pandemic and other scenarios have also resurfaced. It is in this context that the Dept. of English puts together this Podcast eSeries.
Neeraja Sundaram teaches Literature at the School of Arts and Sciences, Azim Premji University. At APU, she has developed and taught courses on literary criticism and theory, Romantic literature and foundation courses on reading and writing for undergraduates. Her research lies at the intersection of Literature and the Health Humanities and as such, focuses on questions of narrative and identity in the context of illness experience. As part of exploring connections between the story of a disease event in individuals and societies and a cultural transaction in meaning that occurs via its reception, she has worked on a range of media texts and forms but those of special interest remain the memoir, medical documentary and comics and graphic narrative.
She has published essays on the representation of the ailing celebrity body in contemporary media, questions of agency in fictional representations of the grotesque body, the epidemiological fiction of Octavia Butler, the emerging canon of physician-writers and epidemics in contemporary Hollywood. Her more recent work has focused on the medium of graphic novels and the perspective of caregivers with close attention to rights, precarity and gender as it emerges through narrative.