The Hype Around Wonder Drugs, Then and Now

Brent Arehart // Every day, American viewers of television and streaming services alike are targeted by direct-to-consumer ads for pharmaceuticals. We are all too familiar with them. Chances are you already know something about Prozac, Lipitor, and myriads of other drugs even if you can’t recall off the top of your head what they are…

Hope on Trial

Sarah Roth // My parents shared a broad, brown desk in their home office. In the years of my mother’s struggle with ovarian cancer, a foot of papers, envelopes, and printouts were stacked on the desk, documenting clinical trials for which she might be eligible. For a time, the desk, with its thick layer of…

Double Bind. A Collaborative Piece on Care and Its Mixed Perceptions

Pauline Picot // Being taken care of is serious. Being taken care of is the first thing you experience when you come to life. You surrender to another human being and in doing so, you establish your first human relationship. Being taken care of is belonging to someone; being the object of their care. Being…

Trump, Madness, Tricolon Crescendos

Pasquale S. Toscano // Madness is therefore defined to be a vehement dotage, or raving without a fever, far more violent than melancholy, full of anger and clamour, horrible looks, actions, gestures, troubling the patients with far greater vehemency both of body and mind, without all fear and sorrow, with such impetuous force and boldness…

Interview: Lisa Olstein on Pain Studies

Micah Bateman // Lisa Olstein, the author of four collections of poetry, recently released a prose meditation on chronic migraine, Pain Studies (Bellevue Literary Press, 2020). Thinking through migraine and with migraine, Olstein’s study threads in and out of autobiography, history, philosophy, literature, pop culture, and more—making piquant stops along the way at Joan of…

Teenagers connecting with their babies

Sasheenie Moodley // In this article, I explore what happens to teenage mothers – and the way they live their lives – after their babies are born. This article follows one of my earlier pieces in Synapsis titled “Teenage mother love.” Here, I argue that there is another dimension of teenage mothering that complements ‘mother…

Synthetic Life: Anatomy, Paternity, and Personhood in Star Trek: Picard

Rebecca M. Rosen // What truly constitutes a person—their consciousness or their anatomy? Who determines “real” personhood, and how much does biological human(oid) anatomy have to do with that? Which is all to say, what is a person, and who can call themselves “real”? These are the questions viewers are prompted to address in Star…

Death Wish: Caring for the Dead and Dying in Nineteenth-Century Philadelphia

Timothy Kent Holliday // “Dying is an art, like everything else” (Plath 245). With these words twentieth-century poet Sylvia Plath alluded to her own suicidal ideation. Death wishes of a different kind entwined in cities like Philadelphia in the 1830s, a century before Plath’s birth: the dying dreams of a patient, and the nineteenth-century anatomist’s…