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…

Against Medical Humanities?

Travis Chi Wing Lau // As I have wrestled with in both my review of Sari Altschuler’s The Medical Imagination and in my essays about interdisciplinarity and disciplinary difference, I remain deeply interested in the question of methodology and how we define our fields of study. Like the concept of genre, a field sets expectations:…

Black Maternal Health Week: A Movement in Motion

Phyllisa Deroze// As an African American woman who has never met my paternal grandmother because she died from postpartum hemorrhaging and as a mother who is writing this essay while recovering from my third postpartum reconstructive surgery to repair the preventable damage caused during the birth of my daughter, I am elated to observe the…

Pat-a-caking One’s Way into the World of Blindness

Botsa Katara// “But he wouldnay get his fucking Dysfuckingfunctional Benefit man he would be lucky to get fucking re-registered … and the actual compen was a joke. Nay chance.” (Kelman 248) The epigram belongs to James Kelman’s Booker Prize winning novel, How Late It Was, How Late. Published in 1994, the novel documents the travails…

Reading Neurotica: Or, the Caregiver and Her Heartache

Lauren A. Mitchell //      I am helping a group of medical students learn how to take a comprehensive sexual history with a colleague, inspired by the interview template that Fenway Health in Boston uses.  This interview model expands on the usual “5 Ps of Sexual History Taking” (Pregnancy, Practices, Partners, Past History of…

When Music is a Social Good

Erica Cao // “Life Unclassed” has a simple backdrop—metronomic beats mark the grind of army life. The song has its own backstory: a joint creation by a 17-year-old high schooler from St. Louis with a 71-year-old veteran at the Bronx Veteran Affairs hospital in NYC.  This probably isn’t the kind of music you’re used to….

‘War Above the Clouds:’ Fluid Landscapes of the ‘Dodgy’ Soldier

Sanaullah Khan // The Siachen Glacier is one of the longest non-polar glaciers in the world. It was first discovered through a series of European expeditions, which consisted of officers of the British Army, geographers associated with the Royal Geographical Society (RGS), as well as geologists, mineralogists and meteorologists, in the early 20th century. The…

The Grief of Miss Jane Barker: A Seventeenth-Century Anatomy

Kaitlin Pontzer//There may be no wrong way to grieve, but the grief of Jane Barker was particularly odd.  When her beloved brother died in 1675, Barker wrote an anatomical poem to commemorate his passing. To be precise, she wrote “A Farewell to POETRY, with a Long Digression on ANATOMY,” in which she was guided on…