The Invention of “Greek” Medicine

Calloway Scott // Early histories of medicine in the west typically traced the “invention” of scientific medicine to the “Greek miracle” of the Classical era (500-323 BCE). That this historiographic narrative—offering contemporary medical method and thought a compelling and authoritative origin—suited a wide variety of 19th and early 20th century interests is hardly surprising. Positivist histories of…

Embodied Post-colonialism — Part II

Sneha Mantri // In Part 1 of this essay on embodiment and postcolonial theory in VS Naipaul’s The Mimic Men, I looked at the protagonist Ralph’s relationship with his own body, which he progressively erases as the novel wears on. Here, I want to flip the lens outward and examine Ralph’s gaze on the female…

Unlearning Eugenics: (Un)Forgetting Genetics

Mia Florin-Sefton // What’s cool about us/ we take our time/ we do it slow. These lines, taken from Eileen Myles’ poem Epic for You, bookend the concluding chapter of Dagmar Herzog’s new book: Unlearning Eugenics. What — one might very well ask — does this provocative and poetic evocation of sexual longing, lingering intimacy,…

Zika Coverage and the Limits of Repronormativity

Emilie Egger // After nearly two years of distressing headlines, the Zika virus had receded from mainstream news coverage. That was until a newly pregnant Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, set off for a tour of the South Pacific, where the virus has spread in recent months. The optics of hand wringing over the health…

The Dawn of Diagnostic Culture: Contemporary Depression in Finland

Annastiina Mäkilä // The 21st century could be labeled the century of diagnostic culture.[1] During the last few decades, cultural understandings of depression in the West have undergone a homogenization toward biological and DSM-based frameworks. This is undoubtedly because many aspects of daily life are increasingly dependent on psychiatric diagnosis; not only is it required to access…

Resident (rez(ə)dənt) n. || A physician who lives at the hospital.

Jennifer & April Edwell // In 1938, congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which limited the standard workweek to 44 hours. However, this regulation did not extend to medical training programs. In fact, there was no national duty hour limit for medical residents until 2003. Efforts to improve duty hour guidelines have been driven…

Prophylactic Fictions; or, The Purpose of Caravans

  Travis Lau // To mangle Clausewitz yet again, was prophylaxis a continuation of politics with other means or were politics shaped by the imperatives of prevention? Peter Baldwin[1] In the lead-up toward the recent midterm elections, my inbox was bombarded by links from colleagues to a recent Fox News segment in which a former…

“Very Dramatic”: Healing, Teaching, and the Placebo Effect

Roanne Kantor // Once again, I am in the midst of teaching a medical humanities course to a group primarily composed of pre-med students. Even though it’s quite distant from my original training, I’ve taught this course more than any other since leaving graduate school. Whenever I work with this population, I think of my…