‘Joker’: A Complex Representation of Mental Illness?

Amala Poli // Joker (2019), a film directed by Todd Phillips, and co-produced by Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, represents mental illness in a way that is neither easily acceptable or dismissible. Some critics have viewed the film as a troubling representation of mental illness due to its construction of the troubled…

Review: Cesarean Sections & Risk: Ongoing Evolution of a Procedure

John A. Carranza // On September 19, 2019, the website Motherly posted an article entitled “These Birth Photos Prove How Beautiful Clear Drape C-Sections Can Be.” Heather Marcoux, the author,  explained what “gentle cesarean sections” are and how they have come to transform the cesarean section procedure in contemporary medicine. Previously, the operation included physicians…

Diagnosis: What’s Wrong with Us

Sneha Mantri // Netflix’s newest original series, Diagnosis, dropped on August 16, 2019. Each of the seven episodes is touted as a “medical mystery” to be solved through crowdsourcing. The concept is intriguing: harness the global reach of the internet to connect patients, families, and physicians, all working in concert to solve a complex case….

Compelling Associations: Kay Redfield Jamison on the Artistic Temperament in Manic-Depressive Illness

Amala Poli // One of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive illness in the world [1], Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, attempts to address a compelling association between artistic and manic-depressive temperaments through a literary, biographical, and scientific argument (5). Since the late eighteenth century, the glamorization of certain types…

The Biopolitics of Interface Design

Gabi Schaffzin // This week I read two pieces which had me thinking about the ways that our bodies are controlled via an often overlooked field in the health humanities: interface design. The first, Mark Paterson’s 2018 essay, “The Biopolitics of Sensation, Techniques of Quantification, and the Production of a ‘New’ Sensorium,” was sent to…

The Smile: A Confusing Expression for Every Occasion

James Belarde // “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thích Nhất Hạnh One of the biggest smiles I’ve ever flashed came after purposefully having my jaw broken, subsequently facing a six-week period where I couldn’t chew. While this sounds masochistic at…

Illness as Muse and the Poet-Physician: Rafael Campo’s Comfort Measures Only

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Rafael Campo. Comfort Measures Only: New & Selected Poems, 1994-2016. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018. “Illness is a problem for the human imagination only insomuch as we might seek dispassionately scientific methods to cure it while we avoid the inevitably destructive pressures it exerts on our fragile psyches.” – Rafael…

Review: “Quackery” highlights history of trusting medical experts

Emilie Egger // Review of Lydia Kang and Nate Pedersen. Quackery: a Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything. New York: Workman Publishing Company, Inc. 2017. The publishers of Quackery promise “67 shocking but true medical misfires that run the gamut from bizarre to deadly,” and the book’s authors are well-suited to this…