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 Heart of a Child

Jennifer & April Edwell // February is American Heart Month. The heart is an amazing organ that deserves our fascination and veneration. There it is tirelessly beating inside your chest right now, running on its own electricity, steady and miraculous.

The Indian Mental Healthcare Act 2017: A Challenging Horizon

Amala Poli // In 2017, a new Mental Healthcare Act was passed in India, seeking to address several gaps and problems in the previous act of 1987. While marking a significant moment in Indian history by attempting to prioritize patients’ rights and consent, the new act raises new concerns. Can the status quo be transformed through…

A New History of Hereditary Science: ‘Genetics in the Madhouse’

David Robertson // Aided by the rapid growth of publicly available big data and internet search engines, genealogy tracing has become a hugely popular activity. But its origins are not so technologically glamorous: as historian Theodore Porter puts it, ‘The science of human heredity arose first amid the moans, stench, and unruly despair of mostly…

The Body as Manuscript | Columbia Global Centers Mumbai

A Workshop with Dr. Rishi Goyal, emergency physician and co-editor of Synapsis and Manjula Padmanabhan, novelist, artist and Onassis award winning playwright of Harvest. Health, Politics and the Imagination in Colonial and Contemporary India February 18-19, 2019 The past several years have witnessed a growing interest in developing coursework and programs that emphasize the humanities…

Wordsworth and ‘The Companionable Leech’

Lesley Thulin // John Stuart Mill famously suggested literature’s therapeutic potential when he declared William Wordsworth’s poetry “a medicine for my state of mind” (Mill 85). According to his Autobiography (1874), Mill read Wordsworth during a bout of “habitual depression” and was immediately cured (86). For Mill, Wordsworth’s poetry expressed “states of feeling, and of…

Neurodiverse Reading

Ittai Orr // In See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (Duke Univ. Press, 2018), Ralph Savarese writes that literature is a kind of social medicine, that it represents a “way of restoring relation” (193). There is no better illustration of this power of literature—or rather, of a…

After diagnosis: releasing cdr_ (2013-2019)

Bennett Kuhn  //  Artist Alfred Darlington (p.k.a. Daedelus) recently tweeted What’s that thing you are still working on, that could already be considered done, but you haven’t quit on trying to perfect it, even though there is no standard to compare it against; remaining undone and no end in sight? I encountered Alfred’s words at…

The Cult of the Invalid: Early Modern Origins

Sneha Mantri // Between the late seventeenth century and the early nineteenth century, Europe canonized a new scientific order, based on experimentation and logic rather than the empiricism and introspection that characterized traditional analytical thought since Aristotle. This dramatic paradigm shift, now well established as the scientific method, led to astonishing leaps of knowledge. For…