How to Be Burnt Out

Joshua Franklin // When we become discouraged we want some medicine. When we are in good spirits we do not need any medicine. You should not mistake medicine for food. Sometimes medicine is necessary, but it should not become our food. (Suzuki, 65) The sun was setting on a warm spring evening a few years…

Hopes and Fears in The #HiddenCurriculum

Josh Franklin // As I walked to the library one morning this week, I could tell that the campus was beginning to fill with the inevitable buzz of students returning for the fall semester. I felt a rush of expectation and excitement, and I was reminded of the powerful and subtle feelings that academic rituals…

Natural Causes, Part 2: The Missing Gym-Goers

Josh Franklin // In Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich gives a withering critique of the wellness movement, from mindfulness to fitness and preventative medicine. In Part 1 of my review, I examined the way that Ehrenreich focuses on the inevitability of death to counter the moralistic optimism of healthy living and its fantasy of ultimately coming…

Natural Causes, Part I: Risk, Ritual, and the Critique of Wellness

Josh Franklin // In Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich offers a wide-ranging critique of the culture of wellness. From preventative care and exercise to positive thinking and mindfulness, Ehrenreich sees these modern health practices as futile attempts to experience some sense of control over the inevitability of death. But worse, she argues, they are based on…

Review: The Life and Death of Latisha King

Not so long ago, I presented a workshop for first and second year medical students about gender affirming care for transgender young people. I expected to receive questions about clinical protocols or about the health needs of transgender youth. So I was surprised when one student asked me, why is there so much hate and…

Young People, Society, and Change

by Josh Franklin How do young people, especially adolescents, become identified as political subjects? How do their desires become legible, individually and collectively? This is a question that loomed for me when I recently attended a panel presented by teens who created the MoCAT – the Museum of Contemporary American Teenagers. Teenagers from a Maryland…

Gender Science, Censorship, and Power

In December 2017, I read with interest when the Washington Post reported that CDC officials had been barred from using a series of words in their budget documents. As a researcher who studies transgender health and the experiences of gender diverse people in the healthcare system, I was particularly alarmed to see that the term…

The promise of teaching medical anthropology, part III

Joshua Franklin During my second year of medical school, a few months before I was to start my clinical rotations, I spent an afternoon visiting the child and adolescent gender and sexuality clinic where I was conducting anthropological fieldwork. I followed the physician as she saw a patient, a transgender boy who was starting to…

The promise of teaching medical anthropology, part II

Joshua Franklin What happens at the intersection of medicine and critical social sciences? In October’s post, “The promise of teaching medical anthropology,” I asked what critical and social medical education promises to medical students and our teachers. Lauren Berlant’s work suggests that as education increasingly obeys the rhythms of commodity circulation, we might think of…

The promise of teaching medical anthropology

Joshua Franklin In their classic essay about medical education, anthropologists Byron Good and Mary-Jo DelVeccio Good dispel the illusion of the medical humanities—anthropology in particular—as the savior of medicine. “Anthropology in medical schools,” they write, “thus occupies an ambiguous position; critic of the role of the natural sciences and the individualized and mechanistic forms of…