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…

Natural Symbols: Some thoughts on interdisciplinary communication

As the weather changes in the fall, I often suffer from a bit of sleep-onset insomnia. Recently at night I’ve found myself reaching for Mary Douglas’s 1970 slip of a book, Natural Symbols, whose high-structuralist insights into cosmology can have a wonderfully somnolent effect. Jokes aside, I’m fascinated by Douglas’s central assertion that symbolism arises…