Introducing Synapsis

Dear Readers, Thank you! Editing, producing, designing (and reading!) this journal has been exceptionally gratifying. We are thankful for the bright and bold writers who each week step out of the confines of their traditional disciplines. We are thankful for being introduced to new ideas, artistic works and academic texts. And we are thankful for…

The Dawn of Diagnostic Culture: Contemporary Depression in Finland

Annastiina Mäkilä // The 21st century could be labeled the century of diagnostic culture.[1] During the last few decades, cultural understandings of depression in the West have undergone a homogenization toward biological and DSM-based frameworks. This is undoubtedly because many aspects of daily life are increasingly dependent on psychiatric diagnosis; not only is it required to access…

Resident (rez(ə)dənt) n. || A physician who lives at the hospital.

Jennifer & April Edwell // In 1938, congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which limited the standard workweek to 44 hours. However, this regulation did not extend to medical training programs. In fact, there was no national duty hour limit for medical residents until 2003. Efforts to improve duty hour guidelines have been driven…

Prophylactic Fictions; or, The Purpose of Caravans

  Travis Lau // To mangle Clausewitz yet again, was prophylaxis a continuation of politics with other means or were politics shaped by the imperatives of prevention? Peter Baldwin[1] In the lead-up toward the recent midterm elections, my inbox was bombarded by links from colleagues to a recent Fox News segment in which a former…

“Very Dramatic”: Healing, Teaching, and the Placebo Effect

Roanne Kantor // Once again, I am in the midst of teaching a medical humanities course to a group primarily composed of pre-med students. Even though it’s quite distant from my original training, I’ve taught this course more than any other since leaving graduate school. Whenever I work with this population, I think of my…

Queering Masculinity in the Era of the New Woman Doctor

In Sydney Grier’s Victorian novel about a New Woman doctor, Peace with Honour, Grier plays with gender identity in ways only subtly hinted at in popular Victorian fiction and media at the time. While most depictions of the New Woman were focused on her supposed lack of femininity, Grier’s novel also played with reader’s notions…

FTM: Arriving, No Arrivals

FTM is an internet acronym that people use to identify themselves as someone who has transitioned, or is transitioning, from female to male, as well as someone who has transitioned, or is transitioning, into a first-time mom. FTM is an identity but it is also a hashtag: a sorting tool that creates a digital community, a grouping mechanism. When the #FemaleToMale and #FirstTimeMom tags collide, an accidental abbreviation of experience is turned into a digital community, and the hashtag becomes an intersection. The personal narratives we articulate below are meant to explore this intersection.

Picture This: The Art of Looking Like a Scientist

Emily Wheater // Earlier this year, the Wellcome Trust in the UK announced their new Photography Prize. They call on photographers to share, uncover, and disseminate new insights into medicine and healthcare at several levels of resolution: the global and social, technological, and biological. The Awards are a celebration of photography intersecting with science to…

What the Autist Poet and Filmmaker, DJ Savarese, Taught Me About Neurodiversity

Katherine Berko // Though it is a truism that no two minds think alike, not all differences are treated equally.  This discrepancy is what has led austists and other activists over the past several decades to coin the term “neurodiversity,” which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the range of differences in individual brain function…

Operating Guide: Fixing Disease in Parkinson’s Research

Liora O’Donnell Goldensher // The emergence of the new genomic science in the 1990s and early 2000s raised alarm among many sociologists, who highlighted the frequency with which the “genetics of difference” framed both questions and findings in terms of racial difference.  This framing, many argued, was nothing new.  Genomics had not “resurrected race in…

Coming Out of the Politico-Medical Closet

Benjamin Gagnon Chainey // One day, as he was assaulted by journalists in a scrum outside Québec’s legislative assembly, the now-former health minister, Gaétan Barrette, became impatient. Harassed with specific and sensitive questions on healthcare accessibility for patients, he exclaimed: “We’re not here to do literature!” With this statement, lightly expressed but heavy with meaning, the…