The Shifting Politics of Diagnosis: From Problem Patients to Niche Consumers

Sara Press // In 1851, the prominent American surgeon and psychologist Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright published an alarming report in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: a disease had become increasingly prevalent among the South’s Black population and was causing slaves to run away from their white masters.[1] Cartwright coined this disease “drapetomania.” While the…

On Virality, Corona or Otherwise.

Travis Chi Wing Lau // About two weeks ago, I tweeted out about a troubling experience that happened while I was riding my apartment elevator after a long day of writing and teaching. Little did I know that it would circulate so widely, that it would go viral. In the ensuing days, replies to the…

Actually, Psychedelics Are Better Without the Woo

Neşe Devenot // With the premier of the goop lab on Netflix last month, the wellness industrial complex officially descended on the psychedelic renaissance. Although some in the field interpret this development as a sign of progress, the psychedelic retreat model embraced by Goop provides minimal safety infrastructure in order to increase “access” and—ultimately—profits. Goop’s…

Hester La Negrita’s Illness Narrative

Phyllisa Deroze // In the Blood (1999), written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks, has received a myriad of critical acclaim and scholarly criticism. This essay is an excerpt from a larger project that I am working on that aims to expand current discussions about the intersectionality of illness narratives, literary studies, and racialized bodies….

Technology, Paranoia, and the Therapeutic Encounter

“This isn’t therapy, what we’ve done. We’ve erased things.” — Heidi Bergman, Homecoming (TV version).  Roanne Kantor and Anna Mukamal // This fall I had the pleasure of teaching a course on intersections between disability and technology. In putting together the syllabus, I quickly noticed that one of the most potent sites for this question…

Black Mirror and the Therapies of Distraction

Bojan Srbinovski // “San Junipero,” the fourth episode of the third season of the techno-dystopian television series Black Mirror, opens with a series of distractions. It is the year 1987, and Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth” is playing on the radio. Yorkie, one of the episode’s protagonists, walks out onto the street…

Bodies in Stone III

Calloway Scott // In the previous post, I concentrated on the dedication of “anatomical ex-votos” within the healing sanctuaries of the Greek god Asklepios. These more-or-less realistic coroplastic representations of body parts were offered to the god of healing (as well as other divinities like Apollo and Aphrodite) as offerings of thanks for successful cures….