Persons or Things? On the Ethics of Anatomical Dissection

Erik Larsen // “Open up a few corpses: you will dissipate at once the darkness that observation alone could not…” (Qtd. in Foucault 146). Xavier Bichat’s maxim, written in his Anatomie générale of 1801, described a new medical epistemology—one that informs medical practice and training to this day. Along with his Parisian colleagues, Bichat attempted…

Divergent Perspectives on Psychedelic Medicalization

Neşe Devenot // As psychedelic medicine goes mainstream, contentious debates about psychedelic access have been spilling out into the open. With a historic ballot initiative decriminalizing “magic mushrooms” in Denver and statewide initiatives to change the legal status of mushrooms underway in Oregon and California, competing movements are jockeying to decide the future place of…

On the Power of Names

Very recently, I had a discussion with the brilliant Jillian Weise about naming—in this case, how we name the condition of spinal curvature. In truth, I only recently learned the full name of my specific diagnosis: kyphoscoliosis. This is a compound term in medicine (kyphosis + scoliosis) used to denote both the rounding (which creates…

The Edinburgh Seven and the Power of the Popular Press 

Jessica Kirwan // This past July, seven women known as the Edinburgh Seven were posthumously awarded bachelor degrees in medicine by the University of Edinburgh, 150 years after they had been allowed to enroll in the medical school but not actually earn degrees. Although the women had garnered some support at the university, and much…

Neoliberalizing aging: a successful aging paradigm?

Chia Yu Lien // In the past century, aging and old age has become widely recognized as one of the most important medical and social problems. This recognition has been accelerated by multiple factors, including demographic change and the institution of retirement. In addition to all these factors, in the last three decades aging as…

Part II: The Church and Abortion in Counter Reformation Italy

Claire Litt // The first part in this series on women’s sexual and reproductive health in early modern Italy explored the political consequences of women’s pregnancies, and the devastating consequences for noblewomen when they were unable to conceive. However extensively treated the topic of conception was, especially in scholarly medical literature, the topics of contraception…

From Denial to Acceptance: Black-ish Portrays a Type 2 Diabetes Diagnosis Journey

Phyllisa Deroze // Dre Johnson, the protagonist on the television series Black-ish, is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in season four. While the ninth episode, entitled “Sugar Daddy,” is another example of the award-winning sitcom’s exceptional ability to overlap comedy with serious topics relevant to African Americans, such as Juneteenth and the Black Lives Matter…

Trauma, Suspicion & the Anatomy of War: From PTSD to Moral Injury

Sanaullah Khan// The history of trauma has been steeped in a recurring language of suspicion. Beneath the 20th century survivor’s words and silences lurks suspicion, which presents itself in different ways in different conflicts. The doubt involved in transforming a soldier into a  patient, through various diagnostic categories, keeps re-emerging in different forms every time in…

The Kinetic Eloquence of Hands

Botsa Katara // Listen: a four–worded wave speech: seesoo, hrss, rsseeeis, ooos. Vehement breath of waters amid seasnakes, rearing horses, rocks. In cups of rocks it slops: flop, slop, slap: bounded in barrels. And, spent, its speech ceases. (Joyce 45) If listening ceases with speech, and speech with sound, then does language cease too? And,…

The Ancient History of “Gonorrhea”

Brent Arehart // Did the Greeks and Romans have gonorrhea? If you do some light Googling and read the introduction to a few articles on PubMed, then the answer appears to be yes. After all, the word gonorrhea itself is a Latinized loanword from Greek (gonos “seed” + rhein “to flow”). We can also find…