Teaching Victorian Disability Studies

“What it must mean, if we are to be present in this age of challenges, is a profound rethinking of our pedagogical priorities, disciplinary boundaries, and subject positions. Let us actually be Victorianists.” –Christie Harner, “Victorian hybridities”[i] Travis Lau // As I begin to construct my syllabus for my introductory seminar on medical humanities and…

Authentic Empathy & Therapeutic Alliances (Part 1)

Chuka Nestor Emezue // “Laying the pus-covered pad on the desk in front of him, he gave up his secret. During his escape from the civil war in neighbouring Congo, he had been separated from his wife and taken by rebels. His captors raped him, three times a day, every day for three years. And…

Recording Women’s Contributions to the History of Victorian Health and Wellness

Jessica Kirwan // I recently interviewed Dr. Lesa Scholl, Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Victorian Women Writers, which is soon to be published by Palgrave Macmillan for their Major Reference Works portfolio. Dr. Scholl is Head of Kathleen Lumley College at the University of Adelaide in Australia. Readers of Synapsis will be interested to know…

The Classic, or Institutionalization part II

Roanne Kantor // What happens when different kinds of institutions meet? When I asked that question this winter, the answer focused on the unevenness between various types of things that get theorized very abstractly as “institutions.” Can there be any use in exploring “institutionalization” and “de-institutionalization” in both medical and educational contexts? Within this larger…

A Discursive-Material Analysis of Stigma As Narrated By Victim Service Providers

Chuka Nestor Emezue// How and to what extent do victim service providers (VSP) co-construct stigma in their narratives of victimhood? In speaking with several VSPs – those who provide rehabilitative services for victims of trauma – my qualitative research study (ongoing as I write) on embodied stigma and narrated victimhood, has so far underscored the…

Neurodiverse Reading

Ittai Orr // In See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No-Good English Professor (Duke Univ. Press, 2018), Ralph Savarese writes that literature is a kind of social medicine, that it represents a “way of restoring relation” (193). There is no better illustration of this power of literature—or rather, of a…

Health-Seeking, Stoicism, and Illness Behavior in Men’s Health

“Well-being is realized by small steps, but is truly no small thing.” – Zeno Chuka Nestor Emezue // While the concept of masculinity is socially conferred, its assumed philosophical attribute–stoicism–remains a personalized and guiding ideology practiced by stoical adherents (male and female) – either by omission or commission. My research looks at the foundational causes of…

Cuento Therapy, Storytelling, and Men Who Abuse Women

Chuka Nestor Emezue // In 1985, Dr. Giuseppe Costantino and his colleagues, Drs. Robert G. Malgady, and Lloyd Henry Rogler, drafted their foremost paperback: “Cuento Therapy: folktales as a culturally sensitive psychotherapy for Puerto Rican children.” Their work provided instruction in Cuento Therapy, as well as its hopeful application to the field of child psychotherapy…

“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…