Speculative bodies of the present in hormonal fictions

Kathryn Cai Recently, a series of English language novels that foreground the female body reimagine and transform their hormonal traffic from biologies linked with environmental illness to speculative imaginations of diffused, inchoate influence and overt physical and political power. As studies note, the female body’s hormonal complexities render its porous interactions with the environment particularly... Continue Reading →

Stranger Things: Maternal Body Horror

Daisy Butcher Femininity, flowers and death have long been interconnected in the myths, folktales and stories that have captivated cultures across the globe. In their beauty and delicacy, plants can be a source of joy, but in their poisonous, thorned, or carnivorous aspects, they can also inspire fear. Nowhere are these two registers so diametrically... Continue Reading →

Cyborgs Pt. 2: Cellular Agencies in Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea

Kathryn Cai Reviews of Chang-rae Lee’s 2014 novel On Such a Full Sea note its “bureaucratic aesthetic,”[1] its unsatisfactory narrative trajectory in which nothing seems to build, and Fan as an opaque, “monochromatic,”[2] and ultimately unsatisfactory heroine lacking in interiority,[3] particularly compared to the “adventure” heroines, such as Katniss Everdeen, that populate conventional heroic and dystopic... Continue Reading →

Apocalypse, Cyborgs, and Gender (Pt. 1)

Kathryn Cai As a recent New York Times article notes, apocalyptic narratives—in the form of natural disasters and conflict with North Korea, for instance—and survivalist responses to it are on the rise in popular US discourses.[1] This tongue-in-cheek article notes that survivalism is gaining traction in young, affluent culture, “where the bombproof bunker has replaced... Continue Reading →

Hypochondria and the Struggle for Control

Sneha Mantri One of the best-known literary depictions of hypochondria is Molière’s medical play, Le Malade imaginaire, which is occupied with the struggle for power between Argan, the titular “invalid,” and those who surround him. One reading of Argan focuses on his victimhood, arguing that the character believes so completely in his own illness that... Continue Reading →

23andMe as Modern Day Wunderkammer

  Whether collected on journeys around the world, bartered for with tradesmen dealing in wonders, or obtained as a gift, the objects within Renaissance Wunderkammern spanned an extremely wide spectrum—from antique busts to horns that could cure any ailment. Paintings and illustrations of these rooms show off large spaces filled to crowdedness with a plethora... Continue Reading →


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