Review: Cesarean Sections & Risk: Ongoing Evolution of a Procedure

John A. Carranza // On September 19, 2019, the website Motherly posted an article entitled “These Birth Photos Prove How Beautiful Clear Drape C-Sections Can Be.” Heather Marcoux, the author,  explained what “gentle cesarean sections” are and how they have come to transform the cesarean section procedure in contemporary medicine. Previously, the operation included physicians…

Mother-tales: otherness and doubt in the neonatal intensive care unit

Emily Wheater // Recently in Synapsis, Jessica M.E. Kirwan discussed the portrayal by male, Enlightenment-era physicians of mothers in obstetric texts and images. William Hunter’s illustrations of pregnant bodies are deeply dehumanising in their presentation of butchered female bodies, and gradually stripping away the mother’s body altogether leaving just the uterus behind. What a wonderful…

Sewing 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…

Illness as Muse and the Poet-Physician: Rafael Campo’s Comfort Measures Only

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Rafael Campo. Comfort Measures Only: New & Selected Poems, 1994-2016. Durham: Duke University Press, 2018. “Illness is a problem for the human imagination only insomuch as we might seek dispassionately scientific methods to cure it while we avoid the inevitably destructive pressures it exerts on our fragile psyches.” – Rafael…

Turning to the Structural in the Health Humanities

Gabi Schaffzin // I remember being at the South by Southwest Interactive conference in 2014 when Anne Wojcicki, co-founder and CEO of 23andMe gave one of the keynotes. The Yale-educated former investment banker was explaining how the healthcare related portfolio that she had managed in her past life actually profited from people getting sick; she…