“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…

Queering Masculinity in the Era of the New Woman Doctor

Jessica M.E. Kirwan // In Sydney Grier’s Victorian novel about a New Woman doctor, Peace with Honour, Grier plays with gender identity in ways only subtly hinted at in popular Victorian fiction and media at the time. While most depictions of the New Woman were focused on her supposed lack of femininity, Grier’s novel also…

FTM: Arriving, No Arrivals

FTM is an internet acronym that people use to identify themselves as someone who has transitioned, or is transitioning, from female to male, as well as someone who has transitioned, or is transitioning, into a first-time mom. FTM is an identity but it is also a hashtag: a sorting tool that creates a digital community, a grouping mechanism. When the #FemaleToMale and #FirstTimeMom tags collide, an accidental abbreviation of experience is turned into a digital community, and the hashtag becomes an intersection. The personal narratives we articulate below are meant to explore this intersection.

Picture This: The Art of Looking Like a Scientist

Emily Wheater // Earlier this year, the Wellcome Trust in the UK announced their new Photography Prize. They call on photographers to share, uncover, and disseminate new insights into medicine and healthcare at several levels of resolution: the global and social, technological, and biological. The Awards are a celebration of photography intersecting with science to…

What the Autist Poet and Filmmaker, DJ Savarese, Taught Me About Neurodiversity

Katherine Berko // Though it is a truism that no two minds think alike, not all differences are treated equally.  This discrepancy is what has led austists and other activists over the past several decades to coin the term “neurodiversity,” which the Oxford English Dictionary defines as “the range of differences in individual brain function…

Operating Guide: Fixing Disease in Parkinson’s Research

Liora O’Donnell Goldensher // The emergence of the new genomic science in the 1990s and early 2000s raised alarm among many sociologists, who highlighted the frequency with which the “genetics of difference” framed both questions and findings in terms of racial difference.  This framing, many argued, was nothing new.  Genomics had not “resurrected race in…

Coming Out of the Politico-Medical Closet

Benjamin Gagnon Chainey // One day, as he was assaulted by journalists in a scrum outside Québec’s legislative assembly, the now-former health minister, Gaétan Barrette, became impatient. Harassed with specific and sensitive questions on healthcare accessibility for patients, he exclaimed: “We’re not here to do literature!” With this statement, lightly expressed but heavy with meaning, the…

Databases, Diagnoses, and the History of Psychiatry

David Robertson // Like other fields of medicine, psychiatry depends upon “information infrastructures” in order to distinguish between different mental disorders. Such infrastructures include the personnel, tools, systems, and networks essential for the day-to-day collection of large quantities of data. Attending to the historical transformation of information infrastructures in psychiatry calls on the historian to…

Scientific Typography

If you are a formally trained graphic designer, it’s unlikely that you have not heard of Robert Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style, most recently updated to its fourth edition in 2012. Originally published 20 years earlier, the work is filled with answers to the book designer’s common conundrums: typeface choices, page arrangements, knowledge of…

Healing House II

    Darian Goldin Stahl, Artist-in-Residence // Healing House II Beeswax, silk, and sewing bust 2018   This installation materializes the feeling of unease that occurs when witnessing the dissolution of one’s flesh through biomedical imaging technologies. The penetrating waves of magnetic resonance slice and cast off the patient’s skin to uncover a lesion, and…