This dissertation examines the representations of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in superhero television shows, their source comics, and their corresponding fan fiction. Using close reading, in the tradition of Bérubé's (2018) examination of disability narratives in The Secret Life of Stories and Schalk's (2018) analysis of bodyminds in Bodyminds Reimagined, I explore how a character's PTSD is represented in the canonical media text (first through the comic book then through the television show) and discuss how the representation changes or evolves between mediums and provides or does not provide accurate representations of trauma, PTSD, and mental health. Through a sampling of popular fan texts from a given fandom and close reading the fan fiction and the tags, I interpret how fans construct PTSD and disability in their works: do they use the hegemonic medical model of disability, or do they construct PTSD through a social model? By providing an analysis of multiple media forms and PTSD throughout the superhero's stories, I show how fans both use and ignore canonical representations of disability and contribute to forms of oppression through their disabling of characters.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Texts and Technology
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Rouse, Lauren, ""But I Can't Forget": Media and Fannish Representations of Superheroes with PTSD" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1768.
Restricted to the UCF community until August 2024; it will then be open access.