Roundtable: Medical Humanities and Visual Culture (Part I)

Editor’s note: This two-part roundtable features critiques of contemporary visual culture as seen through a medical humanist lens. In Part I, below, Laila Knio and Alyson Lee draw on the scholarship of sociologist Arthur Frank to interpret how pharmaceutical advertising depicted mental illness among Black Americans in the 1970s and plastic surgery for young South…

Roundtable: Medical Humanities and Visual Culture (Part II)

Editor’s note: This two-part roundtable features critiques of contemporary visual culture as seen through a medical humanist lens. Part I drew on research in sociology to interpret pharmaceutical advertising. In Part II, below, Leah Rosen and Lilli Schussler tackle questions of the reproduction and extension of human life: Rosen in the context of 1930s popular…

Book Review: Arnold, David. Colonizing the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in Nineteenth-century India.

Yaming You // David Arnold’s Colonizing the Body sketches the history of British colonial policy of public health in India in the nineteenth century. Chapter 1 talks about how the medico-topographical reports produced by British professionals in India orientalized India’s tropical environment, which according to the then popular miasmatic theory of etiology, caused many of…

Entering the Mystery: The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness

Emily Dickinson, we know, did not title her poems. But when Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson set out to publish their first edition of Dickinson’s work in 1890, four years after her death, they took this liberty. What contemporary readers of R.W. Franklin’s edition may now know as poem #760, “Pain—has an Element…

Coffee with a Colleague

Executive Director of Medicine & the Muse and Memoirist Jacqueline Genovese Sarah Berry // This interview series features educators, scholars, artists, and healthcare providers whose work is vital to the growth of the health humanities. On Tuesday, January 19, I interviewed Ms. Jacqueline Genovese, MFA, MA, about her work as Executive Director of the Medical…

Macbeth and the Physician’s Terror

Emmanuel Adams // Lately, the term “impostor syndrome” has gained prominence in both popular and scientific literature. First coined in 1978 as “impostor phenomenon,” it is typically “characterized by chronic feelings of self-doubt and fear of being discovered as an intellectual fraud” within academic circles (Clance and Imes; Villwock et al.). Unlike the general academic…

Life After Covid-19: Entanglements of Illness and Recovery

Avril Tynan // 2021 began with both good news and bad news. The roll out of the AstraZeneca-Oxford, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna vaccines across the world has brought a glimmer of hope to strained communities and exhausted healthcare workers. At the same time, the rampant spread of new variants has provoked a slew of border closures…

Crushing Bones

Ivan Calaff // “Shut. The. Fuck. Up! Don’t you dare move!” That was how my first interaction with the police went down. I was only 8 years old. Every word, a promise of violence to come; the kind of violence that packs- a-16-shot 9-millimeter Glock, wears steeled-toed boots, violence that kicks out teeth, smashes testicles,…

Letter to America

Eileen Maher // Dear America, Greetings and Salutations to my fellow world citizens. I am Eileen, your local, or not-so-local, Individual-Who-Is-Formerly-Incarcerated and a Criminalized-Survivor-of-Domestic-Violence. I have always enjoyed writing, and while I was incarcerated I, like most others, spent a great deal of time writing letters, essays, and journals. I was in jail and prison…

Polo Grounds. A Photographic Essay

Levar Henry // Ten things you get out of looking at these photos: While waiting for the elevators it’s human nature to check out the City’s advertising for adults and children in the Polo Grounds of NYCHA, the New York City Housing Authority. Nonetheless, a disturbing advertisement. You are made to wait. You are made…