On Interdisciplinarity; or, a Response

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 Discipline, to Think Like Scientists.”[1]…

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.

The Limits of Empathy (Part One: Selective Empathy)

A significant drive behind the disciplines of the Medical Humanities, the practice of Narrative Medicine, and the comics-based field and genre of Graphic Medicine, has been a focus on empathy. These fields have seen a need to emphasise empathy in medical training and practice in order to get away from the often depersonalizing and disciplinary…

The Long Read: Genetic Vulnerability

Sarah E. Roth The Genetics Department at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. displays hundreds of pamphlets in the waiting room, stacked at every corner table. Some of them I recognize, having revised them back in the office. The pamphlets have titles like: What is My Family Tree Telling Me? and PKU and You….

The “Criminal Mind:” Discourses of Mental Health and Crime, Part 3

Abigail Jane Mack “UNLOCK THE POWER OF THE WELLNESS EFFECT.” In white lettering across a cool blue background photograph of happy workers, Prudential Financial touts the employer benefits of financial well-being for employees. The Wellness Effect™ will not only create confident, mentally healthy workers but improve the lives of workers’ families and communities. Following a growing…

My Graphic Medicine Journey (Part Three)

The life course being a journey with various obstacles to overcome, and lessons to be learned, is a prevalent metaphor that has achieved almost mythic status. The anthropologist Ronald Grimes claims that ‘we do not escape metaphors, myths, and rituals; we only change them’ (146). Over the course of my previous two posts (Part 1,…

Apocalypse, Cyborgs, and Gender (Pt. 1)

Kathryn Cai As a recent New York Times article notes, apocalyptic narratives—in the form of natural disasters and conflict with North Korea, for instance—and survivalist responses to it are on the rise in popular US discourses.[1] This tongue-in-cheek article notes that survivalism is gaining traction in young, affluent culture, “where the bombproof bunker has replaced…

Ophelia’s Rue

In act 4, scene 5 of Hamlet, Ophelia gives away a number of flowers with medicinal properties, keeping only rue for herself: OPHELIA: There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray you, love, remember. And there is pansies, that’s for thoughts. LAERTES: A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted. OPHELIA: There’s fennel for you, and columbines….

My Graphic Medicine Journey (Part Two)

Referencing Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, the first part of this post discussed humanity’s predisposition towards metaphors of journey and quest, and the possible application (as well as troubling) of these metaphors, against my own experience of chronic illness, academia, and comics.