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…

Roundtable: Medical Humanities and Visual Culture (Part I)

Editor’s note: This two-part roundtable features critiques of contemporary visual culture as seen through a medical humanist lens. In Part I, below, Laila Knio and Alyson Lee draw on the scholarship of sociologist Arthur Frank to interpret how pharmaceutical advertising depicted mental illness among Black Americans in the 1970s and plastic surgery for young South…

Roundtable: Medical Humanities and Visual Culture (Part II)

Editor’s note: This two-part roundtable features critiques of contemporary visual culture as seen through a medical humanist lens. Part I drew on research in sociology to interpret pharmaceutical advertising. In Part II, below, Leah Rosen and Lilli Schussler tackle questions of the reproduction and extension of human life: Rosen in the context of 1930s popular…

Life After Covid-19: Entanglements of Illness and Recovery

Avril Tynan // 2021 began with both good news and bad news. The roll out of the AstraZeneca-Oxford, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines across the world has brought a glimmer of hope to strained communities and exhausted healthcare workers. At the same time, the rampant spread of new variants has provoked a slew of border closures…

Risk for medical violence should be considered in COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Emilie Egger // As the effort to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 begins, states, scholars, and editorial boards continue to deliberate as to who should receive available supply first. Most conversations coalesce around the “most vulnerable” with a few main definitions of who that includes.  The earliest definitions of “at risk” centered on the elderly, residents…

The Breath of Life

Sandra Buechler // On the way to extinction my husband paused. After days of emergency room limbo he lay in a hospital bed, hooked up to noisy monitors. I saw him as both the person he had been and the way station he was becoming. Two years beforehand a car accident had expunged his mind…

Grieving in a Pandemic

Sara Press // On a warm day in October, I found myself staring at fallen leaves in a forested burial ground in Toronto. My parents and I stood back from the constellation of mourners, all of whom had been asked to sign their names on a contact tracing form before entering the service. We surrounded…

Against the COVID-19 Hot Take

Travis Chi Wing Lau // It is said that one of the greatest forms of academic love is when a colleague comes across a source, and they write to you to say they thought of you immediately. As someone writing about the histories of vaccine hesitancy and health insecurity, let’s just say lately I’ve been…