The Empathy Chamber

Bennett Kuhn // Around us were dusty stacks of forgotten hardcover books and crowd members circulating in the now-defunct Beaumont Warehouse venue in West Philly. The three-night immersive multimedia art project called Going There was in full swing, and a short queue led up to the table where I sat with two synthesizers welcoming strangers…

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…

Selling Stillbirth, 1569 to Now

Alicia Andrzejewski // In one of my monthly visits to the Folger Shakespeare Library this year, I called up Pierre Boaistuau’s Certaine secrete wonders of nature: containing a descriptio[n] of sundry strange things, seming monstrous in our eyes and iudgement, bicause we are not priuie to the reasons of them (1569). I was looking for…

Life Hacks: How Non-Specialist Journalism Fuelled the MMR Scandal

Emily Wheater // Cases of measles worldwide have quadrupled in the past year. For years we have been waiting to see what the consequences of vaccine scepticism would be. Now that they are apparent, they are as unsurprising as they are alarming. The issues around why people do or do not vaccinate themselves and their…

Recording Women’s Contributions to the History of Victorian Health and Wellness

Jessica Kirwan // I recently interviewed Dr. Lesa Scholl, Editor-in-Chief of the Encyclopedia of Victorian Women Writers, which is soon to be published by Palgrave Macmillan for their Major Reference Works portfolio. Dr. Scholl is Head of Kathleen Lumley College at the University of Adelaide in Australia. Readers of Synapsis will be interested to know…