A Few Thoughts on EVE: Danger, Desire, and Reproductive Control

Livia Arndal Woods // The possibility of divorcing reproduction from the maternal body fascinates and haunts the human imagination. The dangers of and desire for such separation – for ectogenesis – has been of particular interest in science fiction. Indeed, the oxforddictionaries.com definition of ectogenesis reads: “(chiefly in science fiction) the development of embryos in…

A social and scientific history of hormones

Kathryn Cai // In her forthcoming book Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything (June 2018), Randi Hutter Epstein faces a daunting challenge in charting the history of hormonal science from the late nineteenth to the twenty-first century United States. Beginning with the freak shows of the 1890s, which Epstein…

Metaphor, Medical Decisions and the Military Mindset

Kristina Fleuty // How would you describe what it is like to live with an injured and chronically painful limb? How would you communicate to a medical professional your reasoning for wanting the elective amputation of that limb? I have recently been pondering how people talk about their bodily experiences, both to their friends and…

Outing Oliver Sipple: The Health Effects of Being Outed as a Gay Hero

John A. Carranza // Last month, Love, Simon the film adaptation of the young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli was released. The movie has garnered recognition for being one of the first major motion pictures that addressed the experience of being a gay teenager struggling with his identity under…

Towards a Meditation on Pain

How do people talk about and understand lived experiences of pain? For the past year, I have immersed myself in the world of qualitative research into lived experiences of trauma, including in relation to amputation, a large part of which is the experience, management and understanding of pain. Some of this research has been motivated…

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…

Oral History and the Physician-Patient Relationship

John A. Carranza  There has been much criticism about the time that physicians spend with patients in an average visit. Physicians simply do not have enough time to fully interact with their patients. Couple this with the rising demand for doctors to enter patient information and complaints into databases, and the patient suffers. While this…

Breaking Through Trauma with Creative Writing and Bibliotherapy

What benefits might be found in writing about experiences of trauma? Alternatively, what might be the effect of reading about somebody else’s experiences? In my October and November posts, I explored aspects of the medical and rehabilitative object-human relationships in Harry Parker’s novel Anatomy of a Soldier. Although a work of fiction, Parker’s novel is semi-autobiographical….

Stability and Care: Establishing the Santa Rosa Infirmary in a Frontier City

By 1866, the Civil War had ended in the United States, and the country underwent a turbulent period of transformation known as Reconstruction. Presidential and Congressional Reconstruction set the terms for the South’s readmission into the Union, which included among its requirements: oaths of loyalty, inclusion of African Americans in politics, and the creation of…