When medical anthropologist Arthur Kleinman writes that “illness has meaning,” he reminds us that the human experience of being sick involves more than bodily symptoms. Moreover, the effects of illness and disability are rarely confined to one person. In this course, we will analyze a diverse collection of writers who have taken as their topic the human struggle to make sense of suffering and debility through a range of genres including fiction, non-fiction, graphic memoir, podcasts, and oral histories. Divided into five units, the course will allow us to explore not just the medical, but also the personal, ethical, cultural, and political facets of illness from the perspectives of patients, healers, and families. Central texts will include works by Abby Norman, Damon Tweedy, Brian Fies, and Lulu Wang. Additionally, students will explore a set of oral histories from the Stories to Save Lives project to learn more about the experiences of patients, healers, and families from across North Carolina.