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Medical General

Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives

Stories of Rage and Repair

by (author) Emilia Nielsen

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2019
General, Women's Studies, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2019
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Dec 2018
    List Price

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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.

About the author

Emilia Nielsen's debut collection of poetry, Surge Narrows (Leaf Press, 2013), was a finalist for the League of Canadian Poets' Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Her poems have appeared in literary journals across Canada including Descant, The Fiddlehead, Grain, and PRISM international, which nominated her work for a Pushcart Prize. She holds a PhD in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from the University of British Columbia, a MA in English from the University of New Brunswick and a BFA in Writing from the University of Victoria. Throughout 2017-2018, Emilia will be a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. In spring 2018, she will travel to Berlin, Germany to take up a Visiting Scholar position at the Margherita von Brentano Center for Gender Studies at the Freie Universitat Berlin. Her creative projects are currently supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts and the Edmonton Arts Council.

Emilia Nielsen's profile page


  • Winner, 2020 Elli Köngäs-Maranda Prize awarded by the American Folklore Society

Other titles by Emilia Nielsen