We of the Tender Organs

Travis Chi Wing Lau// *adapted from a presentation at the Modern Language Association 2022 annual conference In the wake of the recent discourses surrounding disability fakery and the accusations that those with long COVID are faddishly embracing a new identity of self-victimization in a world that needs to “return to normal,” I have been meditating…

Funding Wellness: How Grantmakers Impact Community Health

Brynn Fitzsimmons and Rebekah Swank // The narratives we use to secure funding for community-facing work, whether that work is explicitly health-focused or not, can and do impact the health of that work and, more importantly, the people doing it.

Notes on Spinal Catastrophism

Travis Chi Wing Lau // “It is the duty of a spine to destroy the universe; or, a spine is the universe’s method of acknowledging this duty to self-destruct.”[1] To my scoliosis, reads the dedication to Thomas Moynihan’s Spinal Catastrophism: A Secret History (Urbanomic 2019). This line alone was more than enough for me to…

Book Review: Narrative Art and the Politics of Health

Steven Rhue //  Narrative Art and the Politics of Health stands out as wonderful collection of essays that unites disparate stories of health and wellbeing entangled with in the politics of medicine and healing. Brooks and Blanchette have carefully organized this assortment of writings in three thematic divisions. Part 1 of the volume concerns institutional narratives that confront…

Emotions as Ethnography: The Story Doctor’s Toolbox

Cover Image: My Aunts by Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo 2021. Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo// I am always “in my feelings.” I say this unapologetically, and knowing that some Latina women are rendered in popular culture as lacking control of their emotions and impulses. The overlap between these representations and my ethnographic life does not escape me. Empathy, “my gut,” memories,…

Little House in the Hood: Save the Bees, call me Mel

Cover Image: Self-Portrait by Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo 2020. Melissa Maldonado-Salcedo // What’s in a Name? I was born in the 1980s, an era filled with excess. Perhaps this is the reason I have always struggled with moderation. My generation was defined by drugs, MTV, and Melissas. From grade school to high school, I was one of a few…

Collectively Holding Space: A Reflection

Amala Poli // I find, when I write, I don’t want to write well-made scenes, narratives that flow, structures that give a sense of wholeness and balance, plays that feel intact. Intact people should write intact plays with sound narratives built of sound scenes that unfold with a sense of dependable cause and effect; solid…