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…

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…