Recording Women’s Contributions to the History of Victorian Health and Wellness

Jessica Kirwan // I recently interviewed Dr. Lesa Scholl, Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Victorian Women Writers, which is soon to be published by Palgrave Macmillan for their Major Reference Works portfolio. Dr. Scholl is Head of Kathleen Lumley College at the University of Adelaide in Australia. Readers of Synapsis will be interested to know…

A Discursive-Material Analysis of Stigma As Narrated By Victim Service Providers

Chuka Nestor Emezue// How and to what extent do victim service providers (VSP) co-construct stigma in their narratives of victimhood? In speaking with several VSPs – those who provide rehabilitative services for victims of trauma – my qualitative research study (ongoing as I write) on embodied stigma and narrated victimhood, has so far underscored the…

Wordsworth and ‘The Companionable Leech’

Lesley Thulin // John Stuart Mill famously suggested literature’s therapeutic potential when he declared William Wordsworth’s poetry “a medicine for my state of mind” (Mill 85). According to his Autobiography (1874), Mill read Wordsworth during a bout of “habitual depression” and was immediately cured (86). For Mill, Wordsworth’s poetry expressed “states of feeling, and of…

Health-Seeking, Stoicism, and Illness Behavior in Men’s Health

“Well-being is realized by small steps, but is truly no small thing.” – Zeno Chuka Nestor Emezue // While the concept of masculinity is socially conferred, its assumed philosophical attribute–stoicism–remains a personalized and guiding ideology practiced by stoical adherents (male and female) – either by omission or commission. My research looks at the foundational causes of…

Painful Memories and Memorable Pain

Gabi Schaffzin // The following contains spoilers for Amazon’s Homecoming series. Proceed with caution. I’ve been thinking a lot about memory. This started after I recently finished bingeing on the Amazon series, Homecoming, a quick but worthwhile watch for the psychological-thriller fan in all of us. Briefly, the show, directed by Mr. Robot’s Sam Esmail,…

Cuento Therapy, Storytelling, and Men Who Abuse Women

Chuka Nestor Emezue // In 1985, Dr. Giuseppe Costantino and his colleagues, Drs. Robert G. Malgady, and Lloyd Henry Rogler, drafted their foremost paperback: “Cuento Therapy: folktales as a culturally sensitive psychotherapy for Puerto Rican children.” Their work provided instruction in Cuento Therapy, as well as its hopeful application to the field of child psychotherapy…

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…

Databases, Diagnoses, and the History of Psychiatry

David Robertson // Like other fields of medicine, psychiatry depends upon “information infrastructures” in order to distinguish between different mental disorders. Such infrastructures include the personnel, tools, systems, and networks essential for the day-to-day collection of large quantities of data. Attending to the historical transformation of information infrastructures in psychiatry calls on the historian to…

Scientific Typography

If you are a formally trained graphic designer, it’s unlikely that you have not heard of Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style, most recently updated to its fourth edition in 2012. Originally published 20 years earlier, the work is filled with answers to the book designer’s common conundrums: typeface choices, page arrangements, knowledge of…

Fevered Bodies in Early Victorian Fiction & Medicine

Diana Rose Newby // On October 24, 1840, the British Provincial Medical and Surgical Journal published a piece by physician James Eager on “continued fevers”: afflictions which he insists “more justly merit the patient investigations of observers” than any other known disease (57). What makes these maladies so difficult to diagnose or treat, according to…