Mothers, Labor, and Conduct: Then and Now

Alicia Andrzejewski // I am a mother. I am angry and exhausted. Thinking through anger and exhaustion are crucial to medical humanities as a full and robust field. According to early modern conduct books, Robert Cleaver (1598), in particular, I must “stand in a reverent awe” of my husband, even if I have cause for anger:…

Testing for Normalcy: Amniocentesis and Disability in the 1970s

John A. Carranza // “2. Pregnancy is usually a happy time. Most newborn infants are normal and healthy. Even so, parents often wonder if their unborn child will be normal.”[1] By the late 1970s, reproductive decisions and the sense of normality were challenged and redefined by the women’s liberation and disability rights movement, among others….

Bodies in Stone II

Calloway Scott // In Part I, I made a case for the way ancient Graeco-Roman healing temples created a sense of community for sick suppliants through the careful collection and display of “patient narratives” within sanctuary space. Here I want to take a look at another facet of this community building, the dedication of anatomical…

Rethinking the “Living Brain”

Diana Rose Newby // Thirty-two disembodied brains are injected with a blood substitute. Hours after its host body’s death, each brain begins showing signs of life. If this sounds like the stuff of science fiction, it’s not without good reason. Last month’s news that a Yale University research team had revived cellular function in the…

Migrant Caravan and U.S. Public Health: Discerning Fact from Fiction

Manisha Mishra // On February 25, 2019 at 6:32 AM, President Donald Trump tweeted the following message: We have a State of Emergency at our Southern Border…without the Wall…you cannot have Border Security. Drugs, Gangs and Human Trafficking must be stopped. Since the start of his 2016 presidential campaign, Trump remains committed to building his…

The Artist’s Book as Body

Darian Goldin Stahl, Artist-in-Residence // The Artist’s Book as Body: Constructing the meaning of medicine through relational bookmaking practices Introduction For my pedagogical research in the health humanities, I am most interested in how bodily proxies can be employed to sensorially materialize a symptom, unease, or medical experience outside of the body so that it…

MD+PhD: A Reflection on Collaborative Thinking and Writing

Jennifer & April Edwell // When we applied to be contributors for Synapsis, we described ourselves as embodying the health humanities: Jennifer—trained as a humanist, April—trained as a medical scientist. As partners, we have learned to navigate across these two worlds, and we have developed an appreciation for the unique opportunities and challenges that result…

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…

Waiting Room Poems

Mia Florin-Sefton //   Title Image: A Dragon Kiss Always Ends in Ashes, by Wangechu Mutu **************************************************************************************************************************************************************************   My mother is a dragon My mother starved herself Breathing fire that breathed With a womb that blooms My mother starved to death In the White Waiting Room With a womb that bloomed Crying pasts over porcelain In…