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]…

Metaphor, Medical Decisions and the Military Mindset

Kristina Fleuty // How would you describe what it is like to live with an injured and chronically painful limb? How would you communicate to a medical professional your reasoning for wanting the elective amputation of that limb? I have recently been pondering how people talk about their bodily experiences, both to their friends and…

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.

Towards a Meditation on Pain

How do people talk about and understand lived experiences of pain? For the past year, I have immersed myself in the world of qualitative research into lived experiences of trauma, including in relation to amputation, a large part of which is the experience, management and understanding of pain. Some of this research has been motivated…

Mental Health under the Hungarian People’s Republic

Molly Nebiolo // The fall of Communism in Eastern Europe happened nearly thirty years ago, but historians are still piecing together what life was like behind the Iron Curtain. Many of the narratives about Communist regimes gravitate towards the major countries that pursued reformist policies, like Russia and China, but few texts focus on many…

Ockham’s Scalpel

Now in my first year of medical school, I am reminded of the last time I learned a new methodology. I was a first-year student at a liberal arts college and decided to enroll in introduction to philosophy. We had read a few seminal works in our required freshman humanities seminar, and I had enjoyed…

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…

Speculative bodies of the present in hormonal fictions

Kathryn Cai Recently, a series of English language novels that foreground the female body reimagine and transform their hormonal traffic from biologies linked with environmental illness to speculative imaginations of diffused, inchoate influence and overt physical and political power. As studies note, the female body’s hormonal complexities render its porous interactions with the environment particularly…

Icepick to Paintbrush: Nise da Silveira’s Psychiatry

Marcela Costa If creativity, rebellion and innovation are indispensable vehicles to bring about change, Brazilian psychiatrist and health humanities pioneer Nise da Silveira was a shining example of these qualities. Born in the impoverished Northeastern region of Brazil in 1905, she was the first woman to graduate from her medical school, among 157 men (Frayze-Pereira,…

The World We See, Part 3: A Study of the Women with Superhuman Sight

By: Lara Boyle December Article Summary: Last month, we followed the path of light as it raced from the sun towards the earth. The light hit objects and reflected into the eye, passing through the eye’s lens and cornea.  The lens and cornea determined how much light could enter the eye, we learned, based on…

Tears and rain. Finding a bird and a depressed place.

The first time I saw a parliament of rooks flocking in the early evening sky, I was studying for my Master’s degree. Let me explain. We found ourselves on the edge of a field with naturalist Mark Cocker, just as dusk was turning the clouds a mottled grey colour, waiting for some birds to appear….