Seeking Purity: Essential Oils and White Motherhood

Emilie Egger // Last summer at a conference on organic farming, I took a “weedwifery” walk with a longtime herbalist. Near the end of the hour-long event, during which the herbalist pointed out the extensive health uses of commonplace plants that usually become subject to removal when they appear in people’s gardens, another conversation emerged….

Brain Power: Intelligence in the Age of Neuroscience

Ittai Orr // When I set out to take the LSAT, the law school admissions test, I believed it was an IQ test that would finally lay bare the limits of my inherent brain power. According to the organization that administers the exam, it “measures the reading and comprehension of complex texts with accuracy and…

Object Lessons

Travis Lau // While I was in graduate school, the issue of method was at the center of many discussions from reading practices to interdisciplinarity. In fact, a major conference organized by our Gender and Sexuality (“Gen/Sex”) Working Group was on the topic of method. Collectively we asked a number of difficult yet fundamental meta-questions…

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…

The Curious History of Sleeping Through the Night

Arden Hegele // “Do you have the guts to sleep train?” my pediatrician asked me at my baby daughter’s two-month well visit. The practice, Tribeca Pediatrics, is, I think, the only one in the world to recommend sleep training as early as eight weeks–a controversial stance that I hadn’t appreciated when signing up. (At 34…

On Interdisciplinarity; or, a Response

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Following my review of Sari Altschuler’s The Medical Imagination, I wanted to continue thinking through larger questions about our interdisciplinary field and what it does. My post today responds to a recent article by Peter Salovey published in Scientific American’s June 2018 issue: “We Should Teach All Students, in Every…

Roundtable: How Old Should a Doctor Be?

On January 6, 2018, Dr Haider Javed Warraich published an op-ed in the New York Times titled “For Doctors, Age May Be More Than a Number.”  In this responsive roundtable, writers Anna Fenton-Hathaway (English literature), Jordan Babando (sociology), and Benjamin Gagnon Chainey (French literature) consider the possibilities and provocations of thinking about how a doctor’s…

The New Woman Doctor in Sydney C. Grier’s Peace with Honour

The path from scholarship on male doctors in Victorian literature to that of women doctors was a somewhat circuitous one, the road having been laid more as a result of a growing interest in the fin-de-siècle New Woman than in literary representations of medical professionals in fiction or symbolic representations of anxieties about disease.