Upon the Arraignment, Condemnation, and Execution of Elizabeth Stile, 1579

Kate Bolton Bonnici // Elizabeth Stile was executed in England for witchcraft in February 1579. In what follows, I consider an anonymous “news of the day” pamphlet about her case, using critical poetry as scholarly method. (This pamphlet is part of a larger genre of 16th/17th-century writing on witchcraft trials.) I concentrate on the description…

Medical Violence and the Medieval “Miracle of the Black Leg”

Micah James Goodrich // CW: Visual and textual depiction of violence against a Black body The legends of Saints Cosmas and Damian, the patron saints of medicine, pharmacy, and surgery, are dramatic miracles to the highest degree. These early Christian martyrs lived and died in the third century, in what is now modern-day Syria. As…

Exit, pursued by a Shark: A Pandemic in Four or More Acts

Emily Waples // Following reports of the President’s coronavirus infection, Twitter was replete with a certain kind of comment, expressing consensus that something—the presidency, the country, the year 2020—had decidedly jumped the shark. A throng of commenters including Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine—who has tweeted copiously about COVID-19 in an…

The Beast Within: Mental Illness in Arto Paasilinna’s The Howling Miller

Avril Tynan // Throughout the nineteenth century, degeneration theory associated certain behaviours and physical and psychological pathologies with a pseudo-Darwinian atavism of primitive traits and characteristics. One need only think of Émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, and particularly his 1890 novel La bête humaine (The Beast in Man or The Beast Within), to note the parallels…

Margaret Sanger is Not the Problem

Jessica M Kirwan // This past summer, as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum after the death of George Floyd, organizations across the United States and elsewhere closely examined their own histories of racism and racist membership. Coming to terms with its haunting past, Planned Parenthood decided to distance itself from its founder, Margaret…

Book Review: Hygienic Modernity: Meanings of Health and Disease in Treaty-Port China by Ruth Rogaski

Yaming You // In this book, Ruth Rogaski provides a discursive analysis of the shifting connotation of one single Chinese word—weisheng 卫生  (hygiene/sanitation)—to “place meanings of health, disease at the center of Chinese experiences of modernity” in twentieth-century China (1). As hygiene was transformed from a personal and individual practice into a public and national project of…

A Comparative Book Review—Medical Bondage: Race, Gender, and the Origins of American Gynecology & Anarcha Speaks: A History in Poems

Rachel Dudley // This comparative book review reflects my scholarly background as an interdisciplinary, feminist, health humanities thinker, and it brings together two distinct genres of writing.  These genres—medical historiography and poetry—allow readers to grapple with troubling histories of medical exploitation, cultural memory, and meaning-making in very different but equally generative ways.  In relation to…

Coffee With A Colleague: Michael Barthman

Physician and Poet Michael Barthman 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, September 4, I interviewed Dr. Barthman about his work as an emergency physician, medical educator, health humanities blogger, and poet. Sarah Berry: Can you…