Title Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives
Subtitle Stories of Rage and Repair
Author Emilia Nielsen
ISBN 9781487504373
List price USD 39.95
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Hardbound
No of pages 184
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2019
Original publisher University of Toronto Press
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
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“Emilia Nielsen explores graphic narrative, comics, and other media to critique breast cancer’s cultural impact. Focusing on the performance of patienthood and survivorship in disruptive narratives, Emilia Nielsen clearly argues that personal narratives have the power to ‘shift the public discourse’ from its long tradition of mystifying the disease.”

Jane E. Shultz, Professor, Department of English, Indiana University

“Emilia Nielsen impressively draws on, and enters in dialogue with, a wide range of recent scholarship addressing illness narratives and challenging mainstream breast cancer culture. Nielsen shows how the study of disruptive breast cancer narratives requires attention to the performativity of patienthood and resistance as well as to the entanglement of emotion, gender, and sexuality.”

Stella Bolaki, Senior Lecturer, School of English, University of Kent


Engaging with discussions surrounding the culture of disease, Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives explores politically insistent narratives of illness. Resisting the optimism of pink ribbon culture, these stories use anger as a starting place to reframe cancer as a collective rather than an individual problem.

Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives discusses the ways emotion, gender, and sexuality, in relation to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, all become complicated, relational, and questioning. Providing theoretically informed close-readings of breast cancer narratives, this study explores how disruption functions both personally and politically. Highlighting a number of contributors in the field of health and gender studies including Barbara Ehrenreich, Kathlyn Conway, Audre Lorde, and Teva Harrison, this work takes into account documentary film, television, and social media as popular mediums used to explore stories of disease.


Chapter 1. Shifting Public Perceptions of Breast Cancer • Stories of Breast Cancer • “The Angry Breast Cancer Survivors” • Narrative Inquiry in Interdisciplinary Health Research • Normative and Disruptive Stories • Description of Chapters

Chapter 2. Feminist Counternarratives • Sharing Our Stories • Breast Cancer Narratives in Public • Feminist Narrative Bioethics, Illness Narratives, and the Medical Humanities • Breast Cancer Narrative Ethics • The Power of Counternarratives

Chapter 3. Angry Stories of Survivorship • “Welcome to Cancerland” • Feeling Angry • Challenging Happiness • Contesting Survivorship • The Cancer Journals • Ordinary Life • Bad Patient

Chapter 4. Questioning Environmental Causation • Chasing the Cancer Answer • Cancer Killjoy • The Problem with Personal Responsibility • Crazy Sexy Cancer • F**k Cancer

Chapter 5. Queering Breast Cancer • “White Glasses” • Doing Elegiac Politics • The Summer of Her Baldness • Living Elegiac Politics • The L Word • Gender/Cancer Rage

Chapter 6. The Power of Narrative Repair • Revisiting Counternarratives • Enacting Resistance • Performing Patienthood • Narrative Repair

Chapter 7. Postscript: Screening Pink Ribbons, Inc.





About the Author:

Emilia Nielsen is Assistant Professor in the Health and Society program, Department of Social Science at York University.

Target Audience:

People interested in health, gender studies and breast cancer/oncology.

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