Must the Medical Subject be “Human”? Normativity, Humanism, and the Medical Humanities

Erik Larsen // “He is the object of information, never a subject in communication” (200). With this pithy formula, Foucault summarizes the prisoner’s situation within the panoptic prison. The prisoner is everywhere observed and monitored, made into an object of study and manipulation, while never communicating personally with their panoptic observer. Foucault’s description of modern…

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,…

Persons or Things? On the Ethics of Anatomical Dissection

Erik Larsen // “Open up a few corpses: you will dissipate at once the darkness that observation alone could not…” (Qtd. in Foucault 146). Xavier Bichat’s maxim, written in his Anatomie générale of 1801, described a new medical epistemology—one that informs medical practice and training to this day. Along with his Parisian colleagues, Bichat attempted…