The Empathy Chamber

Bennett Kuhn // Around us were dusty stacks of forgotten hardcover books and crowd members circulating in the now-defunct Beaumont Warehouse venue in West Philly. The three-night immersive multimedia art project called Going There was in full swing, and a short queue led up to the table where I sat with two synthesizers welcoming strangers…

Migrant Caravan and U.S. Public Health: Discerning Fact from Fiction

Manisha Mishra // On February 25, 2019 at 6:32 AM, President Donald Trump tweeted the following message: We have a State of Emergency at our Southern Border…without the Wall…you cannot have Border Security. Drugs, Gangs and Human Trafficking must be stopped. Since the start of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump remains committed to building his…

After diagnosis: releasing cdr_ (2013-2019)

Bennett Kuhn  //  Artist Alfred Darlington (p.k.a. Daedelus) recently tweeted What’s that thing you are still working on, that could already be considered done, but you haven’t quit on trying to perfect it, even though there is no standard to compare it against; remaining undone and no end in sight? I encountered Alfred’s words at…

Prophylactic Fictions; or, The Purpose of Caravans

  Travis Lau // To mangle Clausewitz yet again, was prophylaxis a continuation of politics with other means or were politics shaped by the imperatives of prevention? Peter Baldwin[1] In the lead-up toward the recent midterm elections, my inbox was bombarded by links from colleagues to a recent Fox News segment in which a former…

Intersex Erasure & the Myth of the “One True Sex”

Diana Rose Newby // My place was not marked out in this world that shunned me, that had cursed me. (Barbin 3) Content Warning: suicide, sexual abuse Herculine Barbin was twenty-one when she was forced to change her sex. Assigned female at her birth in 1838 in southwestern France, Barbin grew up identifying as such until…

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…