Metaphor, Medical Decisions and the Military Mindset

Kristina Fleuty // How would you describe what it is like to live with an injured and chronically painful limb? How would you communicate to a medical professional your reasoning for wanting the elective amputation of that limb? I have recently been pondering how people talk about their bodily experiences, both to their friends and…

Can Art Save? Liberal Humanism, Empathy, and the “Use” of Creativity — Part III

Sneha Mantri // This is the last in a 3-part series examining the “usefulness” of creativity through the lens of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel Never Let Me Go. Part 1 contextualized the students’ art as a manifestation of Romantic tropes; Part 2  took on the climactic, Gothic confrontation between the students and their former headmistress. This final section…

The World We See – Part 6: Art that Moves, in More Ways than One

Lara Boyle // At first glance, Naum Gabo’s Kinetic Construction is nothing special. A thin, motionless steel rod extends from a pit located in the base of a black square. With the push of a button, however, the rod springs to life. The rod wiggles back and forth as a motor beneath the base whirs with…

Cultivating “Epistemological Humility”: How to Reimagine the Medical Humanities

Sari Altschuler. The Medical Imagination: Literature and Health in the Early United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018. Travis Chi Wing Lau // In The Age of Analogy: Science and Literature Between the Darwins (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016), Devin Griffiths defined the field of science and literature in terms of its “central object”:…

Hints to Mothers, 1837/2018

Livia Arndal Woods // Last month, there was some popular coverage of a recent article in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Nathan S. Fox, MD’s “Dos and Don’ts in Pregnancy: Truths and Myths” frames its intervention as evidence-based common-sense pregnancy-best-practices in an “age of the internet” in which women are “bombarded” with more information…

Review of “Literature and Medicine,” Part 1

Cynthia Harris // This month, I will discuss the fascinating and excellently done recent issue of the journal “Literature and Medicine.” This issue’s articles all address the nature of “fashionable diseases,” that is, diseases with a “novel, modish prominence,” that rose and fell in popularity over the decades during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (239,…

Thinking beyond US disability studies: cure as case study

Kathryn Cai // Alongside Travis Lau and Roanne Kantor’s engagements with disability studies on this forum, I would like to continue building on their lines of thought to consider how the “medical humanities” can become more open and attuned to the questions of disability studies and a broader critical health humanities that encompasses a greater…

Waiting for Recurrence: Medical Uncertainty As System, As Experience

||Abigail Jane Mack|| I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer, Stage Two, on my 25th birthday. The news was not shocking, though I felt the ground beneath me shift profoundly. After an ultrasound and biopsy, I had a sense the diagnosis was coming. It was not a scary diagnosis. “It’s the second-best cancer you could…

Outing Oliver Sipple: The Health Effects of Being Outed as a Gay Hero

John A. Carranza // Last month, Love, Simon the film adaptation of the young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was released. The movie has garnered recognition for being one of the first major motion pictures that addressed the experience of being a gay teenager struggling with his identity under…

Flayed Animal Bodies: Cats and Pregnancy from 16th Century—Present

Alicia Andrzejewski // “If you try and take a cat apart to see how it works, the first thing you have on your hands is a non-working cat.”—Douglas Adams In The Animal That Therefore I Am (2008), Derrida writes of “seeing oneself seen naked under a gaze”—his female cat’s gaze, in particular—“behind which there remains a bottomlessness, at…

Laughing at Death – Part 2: When the Dying Tell Jokes

James Belarde // “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.” -Oscar Wilde, shortly before succumbing to illness In Mumbai, India, a kind-looking elderly woman sits on a stool behind a microphone and calmly quips “Life is like that TV journalist Arnab Goswami. Never take…

Review: The Life and Death of Latisha King

Not so long ago, I presented a workshop for first and second year medical students about gender affirming care for transgender young people. I expected to receive questions about clinical protocols or about the health needs of transgender youth. So I was surprised when one student asked me, why is there so much hate and…