The Benefits of Reading: Happy Endings or Horror Stories?

Emily Wheater // Is reading good for us? For most of my life, the enjoyment of reading was incentive and justification enough for me to read. I read to cheer myself up, to escape, to learn, to engage. This belief in the inherent value of reading first came under attack when I went to university….

Dermography

Darian Goldin Stahl, Artist-in-Residence // Dermography Charcoal 6′ x 16′ 2018 Dermography considers how a haptic engagement with medical scans can mend the separation between scan-body and flesh-body after a diagnosis. When a patient sees an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI scan of their interior body, these ossified images are experienced only through the digital…

Even Superman Cries (Part 4): Conclusion to Emotions in Medicine

Jordan Babando // Imagine a friend of yours comes to you for relationship advice. The issue that is presented to you involves your friend’s significant other telling them they are not allowed to express emotions. Your friend is made to feel like any noticeable emotion would make their partner and anyone else around them feel…

Sick Night Fever

Benjamin Gagnon Chainey // The Modern Man of ideal humanity is, as remarks French writer and philosopher of science Claire Marin, paradoxically insensitive due to his cult of superhuman health. He is culturally sterile, locked up as he is in the closet of medical scientific ‘progress.’ In her 2013 essay, justly entitled L’Homme sans fièvre,…

Turning to the Structural in the Health Humanities

Gabi Schaffzin // I remember being at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in 2014 when Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe gave one of the keynotes. The Yale-educated former investment banker was explaining how the healthcare related portfolio that she had managed in her past life actually profited from people getting sick; she…

Demonizing Mothers: Psychodramas, Horror Movies, and Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Lauren A. Mitchell//  Fair warning: this post contains some spoilers for Ari Aster’s Hereditary, but you should read it anyway.  Early in Ari Aster’s 2018 Hereditary, family matriarch and film anti-heroine Annie Leigh attends a grief support meeting after the death of her mother. We learn that Annie and her mother, Ellen, had at best a conflicted…

The Heart of a Child

Jennifer & April Edwell // February is American Heart Month. The heart is an amazing organ that deserves our fascination and veneration. There it is tirelessly beating inside your chest right now, running on its own electricity, steady and miraculous.

The Indian Mental Healthcare Act 2017: A Challenging Horizon

Amala Poli // In 2017, India’s Parliament passed a new Mental Healthcare Act that sought to address several gaps and problems in the previous act of 1987. While marking a significant moment in Indian history by attempting to prioritize patients’ rights and consent, the new act raises new concerns. Can the status quo be transformed through…

A New History of Hereditary Science: ‘Genetics in the Madhouse’

David Robertson // Aided by the rapid growth of publicly available big data and internet search engines, genealogy tracing has become a hugely popular activity. But its origins are not so technologically glamorous: as historian Theodore Porter puts it, ‘The science of human heredity arose first amid the moans, stench, and unruly despair of mostly…