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…

Pain without Cause

Diana Rose Newby // …if the only external sign of the felt-experience of pain (for which there is no alteration in the blood count, no shadow on the X ray, no pattern on the CAT scan) is the patient’s verbal report (however itself inadequate), then to bypass the voice is to bypass the bodily event,…

Natural Birth: An Introduction

Jennifer Edwell // Recently, there have been a number of articles by health journalists and bioethicists critiqing the concept of “natural birth.” In these projects, writers investigate where the term natural birth comes from and how it affects the way people understand and regard birth experiences (see Martucci, 2018; Tucker, 2018). For example, in May…

Memory is a Winged Horse: On Sea Monsters, Labyrinths, and the Brain

Fernanda Pérez Gay Juárez, translated from Spanish by Álvaro García // “Hippocampus” is the scientific name for the seahorse, an S-shaped fish with ringed, bony plates and a dorsal crest. Its tail is long, prehensile and coiled in spiral, and its head resembles that of a horse. Before reproducing, two seahorses intertwine in an eight-hour…

Slow Violence and Its Bearing on the Chronic

Raghav K. Goyal // I. The chronic and the acute Today’s American healthcare system is built to address the acute. Healthcare professionals medically lower blood pressures and blood sugars, crack open sterna, excise, break and reattach, detain, cut, laparoscopically solder and burn and fuse. Expensive machines, well-compensated workers. As a community, we respond to the…

Mother-tales: otherness and doubt in the neonatal intensive care unit

Emily Wheater // Recently in Synapsis, Jessica M.E. Kirwan discussed the portrayal by male, Enlightenment-era physicians of mothers in obstetric texts and images. William Hunter’s illustrations of pregnant bodies are deeply dehumanising in their presentation of butchered female bodies, and gradually stripping away the mother’s body altogether leaving just the uterus behind. What a wonderful…

Parenting in Public, from Passivity to Peace

Mira Assaf Kafantaris and Alicia Andrzejewski Introduction Is the affective experience of public parenting a health concern, a concern for the medical humanities? Certainly, the constant surveillance of parents, mothers in particular, is born out of care and concern for the well-being of children. This surveillance and the interventions/invasions it inspires, however, result in a…

Compelling Associations: Kay Redfield Jamison on the Artistic Temperament in Manic-Depressive Illness

Amala Poli // One of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive illness in the world [1], Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, attempts to address a compelling association between artistic and manic-depressive temperaments through a literary, biographical, and scientific argument (5). Since the late eighteenth century, the glamorization of certain types…

The Biopolitics of Interface Design

Gabi Schaffzin // This week I read two pieces which had me thinking about the ways that our bodies are controlled via an often overlooked field in the health humanities: interface design. The first, Mark Paterson’s 2018 essay, “The Biopolitics of Sensation, Techniques of Quantification, and the Production of a ‘New’ Sensorium,” was sent to…