The Intimacy of Storytelling in Isolation

Sara Press // In 1347, a plague descended upon Italy on the backs of rats dismounting ships at the Sicilian Port of Messina. The Bubonic Plague, better known as the “Black Death,” tore through Europe and the Middle East over the following years, leaving millions of civilians dead in its wake. In 1348, a group…

One nation, indivisible, with liberty and Medicare for All

Sarah L. Berry //  If you’re a voter under 65, you vote yes for the highest cost of healthcare per person in the world. That’s because no presidential candidate has advanced past the primaries to overhaul the expensive and inefficient multi-payer system in the U.S., a system for which expanded Medicare may be the antidote….

Exercise and the outdoors in the time of Coronavirus

Emily Wheater // The land of UK Lockdown is a strange one, where we are allowed out for essential purposes only. For the time being, exercise outdoors is counted as such an essential purpose due to its importance in maintaining physical and mental health. That fact that exercise and time spent outdoors is good for…

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…

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…