Rethinking Pink: U.S. Breast Cancer Activism in the 20th Century

Sarah Roth // Gracia Buffleben, a queer woman living with metastatic cancer, ascends the stage to receive an award at the Women and Cancer Walk. It is 1996 in San Francisco, and hundreds of women, families, and supporters sprawl in a park in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. Tables are set up around…

Notes on Grim

Emily Waples// Last week, we reached a point in this pandemic that has been some eighteen months in the making: more Americans have now died of COVID-19 than of the 1918-1919 flu. I’ve been dreading the moment less for the fact of it than for the fanfare, anticipating the precise terms in which I knew…

Epidemics, Social Welfare, and “Condition of England” Literature

Benjamin Schacht // When an epidemic sweeps a community—or a pandemic sweeps the globe—the health, but equally the living conditions and resources of others suddenly take on an existential significance. The Covid-19 pandemic has recently made this significance plain in a particularly dramatic way, but long before early 2020, the observation that illness signifies our…

Subjective objects

Madeleine Mant // As an anthropologist of health, I am deeply invested in both bodies and objects relating to bodies. I want to know how access to healthcare becomes embodied in varied sets of data, from human skeletal remains to institutional records to material culture. Traces of lived lives wait quietly, some beneath the soil,…

Gut Check: A History of Bowels and Brains

Timothy Kent Holliday // In recent years some scholars have argued that the gut microbiome, perhaps as much as the brain, defines the condition of humanness (Moore, Mathias, & Valeur 1). Communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system is referred to as the gut-brain axis. Gut flora sometimes figure in how scientists…

Airborne Imaginaries

Emily Waples // This month, the CDC published an update to its coronavirus guidelines, acknowledging the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, even at distances greater than now-sacrosanct six-foot radius. The revision was radical only in its belatedness, affirming well-established scientific evidence of aerosol transmission. Occurring on the heels of an April 30 update to the WHO…

Archive Fevers, Archive Cures: Leprosy and Decolonization in Hawaii

Bassam Sidiki // In the summer of 2019, a mere months before the pandemic would dramatically alter our lives, I boarded a plane from Detroit to Honolulu. I had received a pre-doctoral research grant to visit the Hawaii National Archives where they keep papers of the Kalaupapa Leper Settlement on the island of Molokai. This…

Review-Borderlands Curanderos: The Worlds of Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedrito Jaramillo by Jennifer Koshatka Seman

John A. Carranza // In Borderlands Curanderos, Dr. Jennifer Koshatka Seman provides an extensive study of the healing careers of Santa Teresa Urrea and Don Pedro Jaramillo. Both healers were born in Mexico before crossing the border to practice curanderismo, “an earth-based healing practice that blends elements of indigenous medicine with folk Catholicism” (1). Seman…