Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 9.59.42 AM2017 | University of Toronto Press | ethnoGRAPHIC series

Co-Author Sherine Hamdy

Illustrators Sarula Bao & Caroline Brewer

As young girls in Cairo, Anna and Layla strike up an unlikely friendship that crosses class, cultural, and religious divides. Years later, Anna learns that she may carry the hereditary cancer gene responsible for her mother’s death. Meanwhile, Layla’s family is faced with a difficult decision about kidney transplantation. Their friendship is put to the test when these medical crises reveal stark differences in their perspectives…until revolutionary unrest in Egypt changes their lives forever.

The first book in a new series, Lissa brings anthropological research to life in comic form, combining scholarly insights and accessible, visually-rich storytelling to foster greater understanding of global politics, inequalities, and solidarity.

Watch the trailer for the documentary film by Francesco Dragone about creating Lissa:



m_stx_32_2_139_cover.pdfThe Commons as Accumulation Strategy: Postgenomic Mutations in Biological Property

Social Text, 2019

link to article





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Drawing the Revolution: The Practice and Politics of Collaboration in the Graphic Novel Lissa 

ADA, 2018

link to article





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Science and Performance: The(or)atrical Entanglements and Hauntological Relations

Introduction to guest edited special issue of Performance Matters, 2017

link to article online



dram.2012.56.issue-4.largecover1-250x250Cancer Previval and the Theatrical Fact

TDR, 2012

link to article onlinesample page

Healthy women who are at hereditary risk for developing breast and ovarian cancer are surgically enacting the disease in material registers on their flesh in order to survive cancer in advance. In this practice of “previval,” the disease becomes itself, or gains biomedical substance, through its own theatrical gesture.



Untimely Economies of Survival

Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, 2013

link to article onlinesample page

This article takes the recent turn against hope in breast cancer activism as a point of entry into a broader examination of speculative economies of science that creatively imagine, materialize, and manage futures in the present. It argues that untimeliness – anticipatory, simultaneous, porous, and prognostic in its articulation – captures these alternate arrangements of life and action as they are mobilized in cancer research that hails healthy women as experimental subjects to participate in clinical studies.


Book Chapters

“Speculative Science: Genres of Future Life and the Matter of In-Vitro Meat.”

The Palgrave Handbook of 21st Century Science and Literature, Ed. Priscilla Wald. Palgrave Macmillan, Forthcoming

“Crafting Lissa, an Ethnographic Story: A Collaboration in Four Parts.”

Collaboration as Anthropological Method. Eds. George Marcus and Dominic Boyer. Cornell University Press. Co-author Sherine Hamdy, Forthcoming.


Online Publications

Creative Collaborations: The Making of “Lissa (Still Time): a graphic medical ethnography of friendship, loss, and revolution.” 

Somatosphere, May 2016

Teaching Comics in a Medical Anthropology and Humanities Class

Teaching Culture, March 2015