The Walls Stand Witness: An Account of Intertwining Gazes

Diana Novaceanu // As a child, I had wished to paint the world in precious tints and exquisite rare tinges. Such wild notions dissipated with time, leaving me unsure of their verity. One day, I found myself immersed in an ambient of clinical white, the color palette of hallways and operating theaters, gauze wrappings, coverings…

The Ethnographer’s Dilemma: A New World Shaped by COVID-19

Steven Rhue // We are all adjusting to the realities of the pandemic. Undoubtedly, it has become the topic of numerous personal and professional discussions, as we navigate newfound challenges in uncertain times. As a student of anthropology and an ethnographer, I find myself in a world where the very foundations of generating rich qualitative…

Mortality and ‘my part’ in it

Jac Saorsa, Artist in Residence // I am delighted to return for a second year as Artist in Residence for Synapsis and for my first post I would like to offer an extract from my PhD creative writing thesis, which is ongoing and is entitled Awakening Monsters: An exploration of the experience of mortality through…

Teenage mother love

Sasheenie Moodley // Some teenagers say that loving a baby means giving a baby what he needs, not what he wants. Attending to a baby’s needs is a form of mother love, protection, and care. Some teenage mothers seem to ‘delay’ love until they can overcome or reconcile the ‘mistake’ that is teenage pregnancy. In…

Coffee with a Colleague: Jessica Hume

Educator and Program Creator Sarah Berry // This interview series features educators, scholars, artists, and healthcare providers whose work is vital to the growth of the health humanities. On Friday, October 2, I interviewed Dr. Jessica Hume about her work as a health humanities educator, a health and social justice advocate, and undergraduate program creator…

Inhaling the field – surgery, smoke, and smells

Renée van der Wiel // Up until that morning I had spent most of my fieldwork in stuffy, linoleum-lined hospital reception areas accompanying women on their clinical treks. We would chat while waiting to hear a “NEXT!”  But before concluding my ethnography of a public breast cancer clinic in Johannesburg, I arranged to spend a…

Amphetamine and its discontents

Steve Server // Nicolas Rasmussen. On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine (New York: New York University Press, 2008). It is a principle of pharmacology that one can never have on-target, desired effects without some off-target side effects.  Amphetamine is no exception to that rule.  The drug leads to higher levels of dopamine and norepinephrine…