Today’s #AntiAbleistComposition feature is “What We See When We Digitize Pain: The Risk of Valorizing Imaged-Based Representations of Fibromyalgia over Body and Bodily Experience” by Vyshali Manivannan.
Vyshali Manivannan is a writer, educator, and creative-critical scholar. She teaches Writing Studies in the Department of English and Modern Language Studies at Pace University in Pleasantville, NY. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Journalism and Media Studies at Rutgers University, where her doctoral research critically examines discourses around the ailing body, biomedical technologies intended to locate and visually render chronic pain, and the ableist imperatives of academic style. Her other research interests include comics and animation, online anonymity and economies of offense, trickster hermeneutics, and decentralized movements. Her methodological research interests unite affect theory, autoethnography, and approaches in the rhetorics of health and medicine. Her scholarship has appeared in Digital Health, Platform, and Fibreculture among others, and she was an invited contributor to The New York Times Room for Debate issue on Internet trolls. She has also performed creative-critical work at international conferences such as WTF Affect 2015 and Capacious 2018.
Manivannan also holds an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia University School of the Arts, where she focused on fictocriticism, creative nonfiction, and the lyric essay. Her creative work has been featured in literary journals such as Consequence, The Fanzine, DIAGRAM, and Black Clock, as well as in live performances such as Yoni Ki Baat 2010. She was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize in Nonfiction and was among those listed in “Notable Essays and Literary Nonfiction of 2014” in Best American Essays 2015. Her first novel, Invictus, was published when she was 15. She is currently working on a creative nonfiction manuscript about vicarious trauma and Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict, and its parallels and lessons for the contemporary political landscape in the U.S. She is presently represented by Mary Krienke at Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
She has taught Composition & Rhetoric and Media Studies at the undergraduate level for over ten years, and additionally created and taught 8th-12th grade curricula in English, Creative Writing, and Academic Writing at the Countee Cullen Community Center site of the Harlem Children’s Zone. She has developed and taught writing courses themed around subjects like cyberpunk, Batman, horror film, and narrative medicine; and media studies courses focusing on geeks, hackers, and trolls; journalism writing; fake news and bullshit; consumer media culture; gender, race, class, and sexuality; media ethics and law; and the histories of electronic and digital media. She regularly teaches University Writing in Columbia University’s summer bridge program for under-resourced incoming freshmen.