Call for New Writers

Editors // We are pleased to invite new writers to contribute to Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities in 2018-2019. Synapsis is an online publication designed to bring together humanities scholars and students from across institutions and disciplines in a “department without walls.” The site is founded and edited by Arden Hegele, a literary scholar, and…

Time, Perspective, and Minta’s Brooch

Sneha Mantri Narrative medicine is a critical and practical approach to medical humanities grounded in the close reading of creative works, and by extension, the clinical encounter. As a physician trained in narrative medicine, I am frequently asked by colleagues whether the chosen texts must be medical. The answer, of course, is that they need…

Medical Interventions, Suddenness and Finding A New Normal

Kristina Fleuty // I have approached most of my posts for Synapsis during this academic year with a view to relating medical and health humanities topics in some way to veterans or the military experience. For my final post this year, I return to Harry Parker’s contemporary novel, Anatomy of a Soldier, aspects of which…

The Theater of Medicine: Inchbald’s Animal Magnetism

Travis Lau // After graduating in May, I had the unexpected opportunity to contribute to an ongoing digital humanities initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. Headed by my former dissertation advisor, Michael Gamer, and Digital Humanities Specialist, Scott Enderle, the Penn Playbills Project makes use of the understudied archive of over 6,000 playbills housed in…

Vampire Dearest: Maternal Bodies and the Female Vampire

Livia Arndal Woods // Consider Bram Stoker’s Lucy in her vampiric form: she holds a small child “strenuously to her breast.” Once the virginal victim of nocturnal bedroom attacks, Lucy is now a sexualized threat striking a monstrously maternal pose. The child is not Lucy’s baby but her meal. Nonetheless, this gothic scene is suggestive…

The Curious History of Sleeping Through the Night

Arden Hegele // “Do you have the guts to sleep train?” my pediatrician asked me at my baby daughter’s two-month well visit. The practice, Tribeca Pediatrics, is, I think, the only one in the world to recommend sleep training as early as eight weeks–a controversial stance that I hadn’t appreciated when signing up. (At 34…

Natural Causes, Part 2: The Missing Gym-Goers

Josh Franklin // In Natural Causes, Barbara Ehrenreich gives a withering critique of the wellness movement, from mindfulness to fitness and preventative medicine. In Part 1 of my review, I examined the way that Ehrenreich focuses on the inevitability of death to counter the moralistic optimism of healthy living and its fantasy of ultimately coming…