“But if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself” (Hamlet, 5.1.15.)
Category: History of Medicine
Intercourse Has Not Been Enjoyable: Married Women’s Sexual Pleasure in Imperial Japan, 1920s–1930s
Classification matters in creating the rhetoric and reality of “female sexual dysfunction.” A woman got married, but she did not enjoy having sex with her husband. What would come next if she lived in imperial Japan?
Harmful or Healthful? Medical Perspectives on Cannibalism in Early Modern Europe
When syphilis broke out in Europe during the late fifteenth century, people debated the disease’s origins. Many believed that it had arrived from the recently encountered “New World” (Eamon 2), but Bolognese surgeon Leonardo Fioravanti (1517-88) proposed that the outbreak was caused by cannibalism that had occurred during the French invasion of Naples in 1494….
Tropical Insects and the Colonial Entomopoiesis of Pestilence
In the era of human-induced climate change, insects have become the preeminent emissaries of Death, morphing the proverbial scythe into tiny tentacles of destruction. The invasion of tropical insects into the Global North has emerged as a key narrative template of the climate apocalypse: articles in scientific and journalistic outlets register the harrowing threat of…
The Healthy Exotic Taste of the Empire: A Story of Restyling Manchurian Food in Modern Japan
What is Manchurian Food? Here is a short story about what it was, and how it was restyled by zest and curiosity of nutrition scientists, urban consumers, and policymakers in prewar and wartime Japanese Empire (1930s-40s).
Book Review: Emotions and Surgery in Britain, 1793-1912
“Detachment is not the eternal emotional disposition of the surgical operator.” So concludes Michael Brown in Emotions and Surgery in Britain, 1793-1912. By reconstructing the history of how emotions informed and often guided surgical decisions, he thoroughly dismantles any notion of the cold hearted surgeon.
Human Health, Animal Health
This past summer, I spent some time in the British Library paging through sixteenth- and seventeenth-century medical recipe books. My primary interest was finding remedies relating to appetite and the stomach. As someone who is interested in the history of animal-human interactions, however, I could not help noticing that some of these manuscripts contained remedies…
A Bloom of Love? How Saffron Crocus Took Root in Japan
A new medicinal plant took root in foreign soil and became naturalized, but why? If you’ve spent generously on flowers—perhaps for this Valentine’s Day?—look no further than this essay for company.
Transformed Food and Dietary Style in Modern Japan (1870s)
How did nutritional knowledge transform people’s perception of food and dietary life in 1870s’ Japan?
Ethnographically Capturing the Autoimmune: Textures and Surplus
Ethnographically Capturing the Autoimmune: Textures and Surplus My New Year resolves to avoid fitting in within academic circles that reductively evaluate and lazily quantify my professional and personal contributions. I am tired of defending: my dissertation, my philosophies, and, ultimately, myself. Mentors and elders have confessed that the purpose of academic hazing is to…