Five Decades of “Semiotic” Fetal Imagery in the US: Part 2

This is the second of two articles on the history fetal imagery in the United States. The first post can be found here. The conflation of fetal rights and human rights extended into the 1990s and continued to obscure the rights of pregnant people. Liberals assembled around the rhetoric of “safe, legal, rare” to accommodate…

The Empathy Exams Revisited

Sara Press // On Saturday, May 5th, 2018, I went in to the BC Children’s Hospital to see a doctor about a lump in my neck. It might seem strange that a twenty-seven-year-old was going to a Children’s Hospital. Perhaps even stranger that I was seen by fifteen medical residents that day, and had to…

The Experience of Grief, The Truths of Bearing Witness

Bríd Phillips // We hang dangling at speed, in fragile air[i] In many ways, the texts at our Medical Humanities Book and Film Club, while dealing with serious topics, have maintained some streaks of positivity. This positivity formed a thread which we could follow to avoid opening up emotional maelstroms. To date, there have been…

Epigenetics: The Promise of Control?

Emily Wheater // In my last piece for Synapsis, I wrote about how pregnant women have been the objects of scientific scrutiny, particularly with regards to any behaviours or feelings that may influence the health of their offspring. The pregnant woman is considered plastic, an accessible target for intervention. This discussion is embedded within opposing…

“Young people never are what they were in somebody else’s day.”: Sex Education, Margaret Mead, and History

John A. Carranza // On October 29, 2019, the Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees approved a new sex education curriculum that will teach students about gender identity and same-sex relationships, consent and interpersonal relationships, as  well as abstinence-plus (abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, but still conveys…

A Paradisaical Phantom Pain

Yuki Bailey // “I know there were some photos lost in the fire, but I’m just glad my mom is ok,” said my uncle, after informing me that my grandmother’s house in Paradise, California had burned down. “Yeah, that’s the most important thing,” I responded. After hanging up the phone, I started to cry, as…

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Health ✪ Part 2: Woman, M.D.

Sarah L. Berry // If you’re a female voter, thank a woman doctor. Without 19th-century female physicians, we might not soon be celebrating the 100th anniversary of suffrage. In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to earn a Doctor of Medicine degree just as the women’s rights movement kicked off in Seneca Falls, NY….

Gatekeepers who guard and unlock

Sasheenie Moodley // Some argue that ethnographic data collection, during fieldwork, sounds as easy as “picking apples from a tree” (Polkinghorne, 2005:141). In other words, research information regarding participants’ life experiences is ripe and ready for the taking. Yet this is not always the case. Seeking understanding in work with vulnerable participants is less about…

Skin Deep: Biometrics and Containment in Sabrina Vourvoulias’s INK

Salvador Herrera // On October 22nd, 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice proposed a rule titled “DNA-Sample Collection From Immigration Detainees.”[1] The rule would remove one Obama-era exception in the Code of Federal Regulations to the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005: an exception that dismisses DNA collection as a requirement if institutional funds are limited.[2]…