“Very Dramatic”: Healing, Teaching, and the Placebo Effect

Roanne Kantor // Once again, I am in the midst of teaching a medical humanities course to a group primarily composed of pre-med students. Even though it’s quite distant from my original training, I’ve taught this course more than any other since leaving graduate school. Whenever I work with this population, I think of my…

Translating Medicine Part III: Interview with Colin Halverson

Roanne Kantor // What does translation mean to you? Can you talk about the way that it shapes your academic project?  The process of ‘translation’ figures centrally in my dissertation, “Individualized: An Ethnography of Translation in Genomic Medicine.” This title plays on the metaphorical extension of ‘translation’ in medical jargon, referring to the application of…

Translating Medicine Part II: Sabrina Datoo

Roanne Kantor // RK: To start, what does “medicine” mean, in the context of your work? Can you say a bit about your scholarly project? SD: The words used for medicine in my sources are the Arabic words tibb, and hikmat. The second of these has a broader range of meaning, including ‘knowledge’ and ‘wisdom’….

Translating Medicine Part I: Introduction

Roanne Kantor // We’re rounding out the first year at Synapsis. It makes me want to come full circle, to re-approach the very first questions I asked in this venue: about the nature of interdisciplinary research on health and medicine, and the shared language we develop to make that research possible. The thing about this “department…

Distress Call

A Medical Model I wanted to begin by expressing my gratitude for Travis’s most recent post, “Taking Stock: Disability Studies and the Medical Humanities.” There, he provides a brief and cogent outline of the ongoing negotiation between a medical model of disability–in which disability is identical to impairment–and the OG social model, where disability is…

Keeping it Real

An interesting set of coincidences happened recently, all to do with the strange category of realism and its relationship to the real. Freud would insist that coincidences are precisely the wrong ground upon which to discuss “realism,”  since an unlikely recurrence of the same element is, if memory serves me, a classic example of the…

Cut Off: Amputation and Agency

Roanne Kantor What does it mean to feel cut off? What is the relationship between this feeling, a feeling of alienation and non-belonging, and the physical act of separation implied by the medical procedure of amputation? Last month I was inspired by Kristina’s review of Anatomy of a Soldier, in which an injured soldier comes…

Twin Studies

Back in September, I found myself in a small community just outside of Ithaca, NY, in the company of several colleagues from Cornell. We were there to participate in community’s annual “Fun Run.” I use the term “fun” here with some reservations, defining it provisionally and according to terminology that was current when I ran…