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…

On Virality, Corona or Otherwise.

About two weeks ago, I tweeted out about a troubling experience that happened while I was riding my apartment elevator after a long day of writing and teaching. Little did I know that it would circulate so widely, that it would go viral. In the ensuing days, replies to the tweet ranged from delight to…

Is teenage pregnancy a tragedy of the commons?

Sasheenie Moodley // Garrett Hardin might expect teenage pregnancy to be a ‘tragedy of the commons.’ On the contrary, teenage pregnancy might be an opportunity for communal care. Garrett Hardin (1968) argues that one of the greatest dangers to society is communal property. His “tragedy of the commons” is the notion that the “commons” is…

Actually, Psychedelics Are Better Without the Woo

Neşe Devenot // With the premier of the goop lab on Netflix last month, the wellness industrial complex officially descended on the psychedelic renaissance. Although some in the field interpret this development as a sign of progress, the psychedelic retreat model embraced by Goop provides minimal safety infrastructure in order to increase “access” and—ultimately—profits. Goop’s…

Sonny’s Blues: A Template for Eliciting Patient’s Narratives

Marcus Mosley // In its portrayal of the evolution of one person trying to understand another’s narrative, James Baldwin’s short story “Sonny’s Blues” models a number of ways in which doctors can cultivate more productive relationships with patients, through both careful language choices and emotional attunement. In order to fully understand a patient’s narrative and correctly…

Research on (and with) Abantu: A Reflection

Sinethemba Makanya // The title of my PhD research project is “Ukugula Kwabantu[1]: The Construction of Mental Health by Traditional Healers.” Throughout the process of my research, however, I have realized that my question is not necessarily whether or not “mental health” exists within the traditional healing canon, but rather, it is a question of…

Selling Sex: Erectile Dysfunction Treatments, Consumption, and Culture

John A. Carranza // In January 2020, Governor Gary Herbert of Utah suspended an HIV prevention campaign that used state-related sexual innuendo on condom packages to promote safer sex. For example, “Don’t Go Bare” was written over a bear’s backside. The issue, at least for Governor Herbert, was the use of taxpayer money that utilized…

Feeling Hot? Charting the Highs and Lows of Past and Present Fevers

Diana Novaceanu // Throughout the ages, fever has been a constant presence on an individual and collective scale, an “unavoidable part of everyday domestic experience” (Rosenberg, VIII).  The concept of fever has been reworked and reshaped with the gradual change of medical discourse. Moreover, fever effortlessly crossed into the metaphorical realm: its distorted sensory perception seemed…

Health by Post: Telemedicine and the Long Eighteenth Century

Madeleine Mant // The profound synergistic effect that distance—both geographic and sociocultural—plays upon health care access and outcomes is no surprise to contemporary physicians. As modern technological interventions such as eConsult, which allows patients’ cases to be ‘seen’ by a specialist without an in-person visit, become more commonplace, it is worthwhile to reflect on the…