Mourning, Denial, and Racial Violence in the COVID-19 Pandemic (Part II)

Jonathan Chou // For Part I: Mourning, Denial, and Racial Violence in the COVID-19 Pandemic (Part I) No sacrifice is excessive. Faced with something supposedly novel, it is easy to imagine that what is happening has never happened before. Sontag wrote AIDS and Its Metaphors in 1988. She describes the fear and panic that the AIDS epidemic…

Mourning, Denial, and Racial Violence in the COVID-19 Pandemic (Part I)

Jonathan Chou // This article is adapted from a critical theory paper which I wrote in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder on May 25, 2020. It is anyone’s guess whether writing that paper was a form of manic defense, intellectualization, or sublimation. I can say now that if nothing else it served to lead…

Using Narrative Medicine to Improve Public Health Messaging

Marcus Mosley // According to the CDC, 1 in 2 Black/African-American gay, bisexual, same gender loving and other men who have sex with men (MSM) will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime.1 In facing such statistical odds, it is imperative that the public health community engage in messaging that not only reaches this group…

Essay Series: “Illness and Francophone Literature and History”

Madeleine Dobie & Thomas Dodman // This collection of essays in Synapsis grew out of a course on pandemics in francophone history and culture that we offered in Columbia’s Department of French and Institute for Comparative Literature and Society in fall 2021. The unprecedented experience (at least in our community) of teaching in the midst…

Ri k’ak’a tzij: Kaqchikel Maya Neologisms in Response to COVID-19

Tiffany D. Creegan Miller, PhD // Though Guatemala is a relatively small country in northern Central America, it boasts of a robust multilingual and multicultural diversity. In addition to Spanish (the official language), Guatemala is also the home to 22 Maya languages, and two other Indigenous languages: Garífuna and Xinca. Within this ethnolinguistic landscape, Kaqchikel…