A review of Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters

Amala Poli // Community performance artist and disability culture activist Petra Kuppers’ latest work Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounter is a reimagination of the embodied self in the world through a recognition of multiple life worlds and forms in contested spaces. The text models a form of inquiry, inviting the reader…

Dreaming for Survival in The Marrow Thieves

Amala Poli // Métis Canadian writer Cherie Dimaline’s novel set in a dystopian future titled The Marrow Thieves presents a society plagued by troubled sleep. This article examines Dimaline’s work in the context of a “sleep crisis”, which scholar Diletta de Cristofaro defines as “the notion that our modern society chronically struggles with a lack…

Collapsing Work-Life Balance in Covid-19

Amala Poli // The beep of the phone.. thudding heart, fingers clicking away. “Is everything okay?”  Yes, you say. “I just had to reply to this one email. All done now!” You set it aside, eyes flickering in the direction of the screen just a little.

Narrative Medicine Spring Basic Virtual Workshop: A Brief Reflection

Amala Poli // On March 19th, I began attending a three-day Basic Narrative Medicine (NM) Workshop. Like much else in academia during the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop was held virtually via Zoom sessions. Having attended panels and conferences in the last year on Zoom, I wondered about how this would translate the experience of being…

Is Zoom the sole source of fatigue?

Amala Poli // We have all heard about Zoom fatigue; most of us are perhaps experiencing it on an everyday basis. The literature on combating Zoom fatigue continues to abound, with new perspectives and ideas in each article. [1] [2] However, what can we think of the potent combination of research and academic work when…

Stepping up to the challenge: Kerala’s response to the coronavirus

Amala Poli // The state of Kerala in India, recognized in 2018 for effectively containing the deadly Nipah virus outbreak, has reported four deaths since the outbreak of the COVID-19, despite a population of 35 million people. Being the state with India’s first reported COVID-positive patient, instead of being the hardest-hit region, Kerala holds the…

Collectively Holding Space: A Reflection

Amala Poli // I find, when I write, I don’t want to write well-made scenes, narratives that flow, structures that give a sense of wholeness and balance, plays that feel intact. Intact people should write intact plays with sound narratives built of sound scenes that unfold with a sense of dependable cause and effect; solid…

The Elusive Nature of Dreams: Shifting Research Trends

Amala Poli // Dreams continue to be sources of mystery and fascination, eluding universal explanations, blurring reality and fiction and mixing the two in curious ways. We are closer now than we have ever been before to having comprehensive explanations of all sleep-related phenomena, ontological and phenomenological accounts that are backed by neuroscientific sleep research….

‘Joker’: A Complex Representation of Mental Illness?

Amala Poli // Joker (2019), a film directed by Todd Phillips, and co-produced by Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, represents mental illness in a way that is neither easily acceptable or dismissible. Some critics have viewed the film as a troubling representation of mental illness due to its construction of the troubled…

A Rhetorical Shift in Television Representations of Medicine

Amala Poli // A noticeable discursive turn in attitudes toward the medical enterprise has captured different television and talk shows. A recent Netflix show Diagnosis, already reviewed in Synapsis, is a documentary take on medical mysteries that are crowd-sourced for various diagnoses, inviting the participation of experts and patients alike in solving what appear to…