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…

A Paradisaical Phantom Pain

Yuki Bailey // “I know there were some photos lost in the fire, but I’m just glad my mom is ok,” said my uncle, after informing me that my grandmother’s house in Paradise, California had burned down. “Yeah, that’s the most important thing,” I responded. After hanging up the phone, I started to cry, as…

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health ✪ Part 2: Woman, M.D.

Sarah L. Berry // If you’re a female voter, thank a woman doctor. Without 19th-century female physicians, we might not soon be celebrating the 100th anniversary of suffrage. In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree just as the women’s rights movement kicked off in Seneca Falls, NY….

Gatekeepers who guard and unlock

Sasheenie Moodley // Some argue that ethnographic data collection, during fieldwork, sounds as easy as “picking apples from a tree” (Polkinghorne, 2005:141). In other words, research information regarding participants’ life experiences is ripe and ready for the taking. Yet this is not always the case. Seeking understanding in work with vulnerable participants is less about…

Skin Deep: Biometrics and Containment in Sabrina Vourvoulias’s INK

Salvador Herrera // On October 22nd, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed a rule titled “DNA-Sample Collection From Immigration Detainees.”[1] The rule would remove one Obama-era exception in the Code of Federal Regulations to the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005: an exception that dismisses DNA collection as a requirement if institutional funds are limited.[2]…

Write/Right About Your Body

Madeleine Mant // I teach Introduction to the Anthropology of Health to an exquisitely diverse group of second-year undergraduate students. The class is a gateway prerequisite to all upper-level health-stream courses, thus it necessitates a balance between the biological and sociocultural aspects of health anthropology. Students are exposed to the work of Gregor Mendel and…

From Healing to Feeling: Two Experiments with Electric Shocks

Pauline Picot // 2013. Lyon, France. A young woman is sitting on a chair. She has long, well-groomed hair and is wearing a denim jacket. She knows what is about to happen. She agreed to participate. There is a disposable camera in front of her. She hesitates for a moment. Then she suddenly presses the…

Derrière(s): Chronos and the Gay Male

Dr. Brian J. Troth // “Le passé est passé. The future is now.” These temporal adages, for all intents and purposes platitudes uttered without much thought, suggest that we are obsessed with moving forward, going so far as to prematurely announce the impossibility that the future has already arrived. Yet we are also apt to…

Environmental Neurodiversity and Systems Change

Neşe Devenot // Neurodivergent perspectives inspired two of the biggest environmental justice movements of 2019—Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future”—and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. For her part, Thunberg garnered widespread media attention for linking her global impact to having Asperger’s, an autism-spectrum condition that Thunberg calls her “superpower.” According to Thunberg,…

Zombie Epic: Medicalized Politics on Screen

Erik Larsen // Of all the monsters populating modern culture, zombies have lurched into a dominant position in our television and film. Despite varied examples across media forms, one trait unites these mindless eaters: zombies are distinctly unhealthy. Whether decaying bodies or the hosts for a decimating plague, zombies incarnate our sense of health’s absence,…

Desire I: Desire and the Formulation of Bourgeois Subject

Chia Yu Lien// In this and the following posts, I would like to talk about the concept of desire—more specifically, the desire of the bourgeois subject, or in Lauren Berlant’s words, “capitalist subject” (2007, 779). I am not talking about desire as a primary physiological drive, such as the desire to breathe or to eat,…