Essential Oils Entrepreneurship and the Dangers of the Patient Narrative

Haejoo Kim // The buzz around essential oils mobilizes two important keywords of today’s mainstream alternative health practices. First and foremost, they are “natural”—“Goodbye Toxins, Hello Nature,” advertises doTERRA, one of the largest essential oil companies currently operating in the US.[1] In the rhetorical universe of many alternative health practices today, nature is a keyword…

Zombie Apocalypse 2022(?): A Personal Struggle With Vaccines

Brenda Tyrrell // I admit it. I have not gotten a flu vaccine for nearly twenty years. While some readers may be shocked at this confession, I am betting there are a few that may boast of an even greater number of years. I’m technically not an anti-vaxxer – I’m vaccinated for the Big Ones…

Airborne Imaginaries

Emily Waples // This month, the CDC published an update to its coronavirus guidelines, acknowledging the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2, even at distances greater than now-sacrosanct six-foot radius. The revision was radical only in its belatedness, affirming well-established scientific evidence of aerosol transmission. Occurring on the heels of an April 30 update to the WHO…

Update: “Essential Oils and White Motherhood”

Emilie Egger// In September 2018, I wrote my first piece for Synapsis. My article was about essential oils and constructions of white motherhood, how essential oils are a multifaceted part of the post-feminist discourse that highlights sexual difference and the power of domesticity in producing a white, heterosexual future. I also briefly discussed companies’ focus…

The Hype Around Wonder Drugs, Then and Now

Brent Arehart // Every day, American viewers of television and streaming services alike are targeted by direct-to-consumer ads for pharmaceuticals. We are all too familiar with them. Chances are you already know something about Prozac, Lipitor, and myriads of other drugs even if you can’t recall off the top of your head what they are…

Hope on Trial

Sarah Roth // My parents shared a broad, brown desk in their home office. In the years of my mother’s struggle with ovarian cancer, a foot of papers, envelopes, and printouts were stacked on the desk, documenting clinical trials for which she might be eligible. For a time, the desk, with its thick layer of…

Synthetic Life: Anatomy, Paternity, and Personhood in Star Trek: Picard

Rebecca M. Rosen // What truly constitutes a person—their consciousness or their anatomy? Who determines “real” personhood, and how much does biological human(oid) anatomy have to do with that? Which is all to say, what is a person, and who can call themselves “real”? These are the questions viewers are prompted to address in Star…

COVID-19: Not the Only Game in Town

Brenda Tyrrell // A notion that has been carelessly tossed around since COVID-19 emerged last spring is that it is ‘the worst pandemic in the last century.’ Is it, though? Those making this declaration are most likely thinking of the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, when one-third of the world’s population was infected by the H1N1 virus,…

Cutting: Traditions in anatomy and Thanksgiving

Yoshiko Iwai // The three of us go around the table to introduce ourselves, smiling under our masks and glasses, warming up our fresh scrubs. I had never met either of them before or even seen their faces through Zoom. A moment of silence passes. The guy across from me offers to hold the instruction…