Pat-a-caking One’s Way into the World of Blindness

Botsa Katara// “But he wouldnay get his fucking Dysfuckingfunctional Benefit man he would be lucky to get fucking re-registered … and the actual compen was a joke. Nay chance.” (Kelman 248) The epigram belongs to James Kelman’s Booker Prize winning novel, How Late It Was, How Late. Published in 1994, the novel documents the travails…

From Norma and Normman to Kim and Caitlyn

Sara Press// In the summer of 1945, a very average couple, who would come to embody the ideals of American society, emerged into the public eye. Brought to life by Abram Belskie and Robert Latou Dickinson, the Cleveland Health Museum debuted the sculptures of Norma and Normman as “A Portrait of the American People.” Strong…

Galvanism in 19th Century French Theater: Bringing Dead Words Back to Life

Pauline Picot // Have you ever felt galvanized? Surely you must have—if we consider the meaning that is nowadays assigned to this verb, which is to “shock or excite (someone) into taking action”[1]. But have you ever felt galvanized in an electrical sense, according to the original meaning of the word? The term comes from…

The Ancient History of “Gonorrhea”

Brent Arehart // Did the Greeks and Romans have gonorrhea? If you do some light Googling and read the introduction to a few articles on PubMed, then the answer appears to be yes. After all, the word gonorrhea itself is a Latinized loanword from Greek (gonos “seed” + rhein “to flow”). We can also find…

Bentham’s Auto-Icon

Lesley Thulin // Jeremy Bentham, one of the founders of modern utilitarianism, has an old saw about pushpin. In The Rationale of Reward (1825), a treatise on the legislation of discipline, Bentham invokes the nineteenth-century tavern game to weigh the relative virtues of recreational activities and art. Framing the issue in the terms of his…

Ars Moriendi

Travis Chi Wing Lau // “We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive.” – Atul Gawande Last week, I flew…

Compelling Associations: Kay Redfield Jamison on the Artistic Temperament in Manic-Depressive Illness

Amala Poli // One of the foremost authorities on manic-depressive illness in the world [1], Kay Redfield Jamison in Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, attempts to address a compelling association between artistic and manic-depressive temperaments through a literary, biographical, and scientific argument (5). Since the late eighteenth century, the glamorization of certain types…

Open Heart

By Bennett Kuhn // Open Heart (2019) is an original essay-album composed at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City and on Long Island during May 2019. It is available to stream below via Soundcloud pending its digital release on Astro Nautico in July. Bennett Kuhn – Open Heart (2019) 01 Awash In (0:37)02 A…

Weaving the Tapestry of the History of Psychiatry: Anne Harrington’s ‘Mind Fixers’

David Robertson // Over the last twenty years, considerable scholarly contributions have been made to the history of psychiatry. We have had historical analyses of the concept of “nerves” and “neurasthenia,” of “trauma” and the emergence of diagnoses such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.[1] Historians have examined the material settings of neuropsychiatric efforts to localize brain…