Special Issue: On Police, Prison, and Plagues

Khaleel Grant, Elsa Hardy, Max Mishler, and Elizabeth Ross // Starting in December of 2020, a series of rebellions rocked the St. Louis City Justice Center (CJC) and the St. Louis City Minimum Security Institution (MSI), frequently referred to as “the Workhouse.” People incarcerated at both institutions broke out of their cells, detained correctional officers,…

Notes on Grim

Emily Waples// Last week, we reached a point in this pandemic that has been some eighteen months in the making: more Americans have now died of COVID-19 than of the 1918-1919 flu. I’ve been dreading the moment less for the fact of it than for the fanfare, anticipating the precise terms in which I knew…

Epidemics, Social Welfare, and “Condition of England” Literature

Benjamin Schacht // When an epidemic sweeps a community—or a pandemic sweeps the globe—the health, but equally the living conditions and resources of others suddenly take on an existential significance. The Covid-19 pandemic has recently made this significance plain in a particularly dramatic way, but long before early 2020, the observation that illness signifies our…

Lucid Dreaming: The Unexpected Drawbacks

Manaal Siddiqui // An expansive hall full of laughter, jeers and people running and jumping. Fluorescent lights bounce off the walls. All different colors. Pink, yellow, red, purple. A young woman realizes that she is present amidst the chaos. She feels queasy, not sure how to handle the fact that her family is casting spells…

Book review: Engendering Islands by Ashley M. Williard

Emilie Egger // Williard, Ashley M. Engendering Islands: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Violence in the Early French Caribbean. Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 2021. Many of the sources for Ashley M. Williard’s literary analysis in Engendering Islands exist in fragments. Williard’s examination of the sparse and partial traveler’s journals, religious documents, and letters that remain from…

Essential Oils Entrepreneurship and the Dangers of the Patient Narrative

Haejoo Kim // The buzz around essential oils mobilizes two important keywords of today’s mainstream alternative health practices. First and foremost, they are “natural”—“Goodbye Toxins, Hello Nature,” advertises doTERRA, one of the largest essential oil companies currently operating in the US.[1] In the rhetorical universe of many alternative health practices today, nature is a keyword…

Book Review: Narrative Art and the Politics of Health

Steven Rhue //  Narrative Art and the Politics of Health stands out as wonderful collection of essays that unites disparate stories of health and wellbeing entangled with in the politics of medicine and healing. Brooks and Blanchette have carefully organized this assortment of writings in three thematic divisions. Part 1 of the volume concerns institutional narratives that confront…