On the morning of March 22nd, 2023, I watched from a balcony as the United Nations held its’ first dialogue on the human right to water in over 50 years. This once in a generation conference was convened to review the world’s progress in assuring Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG6), Clean Water and Sanitation for…
Harmful or Healthful? Medical Perspectives on Cannibalism in Early Modern Europe
When syphilis broke out in Europe during the late fifteenth century, people debated the disease’s origins. Many believed that it had arrived from the recently encountered “New World” (Eamon 2), but Bolognese surgeon Leonardo Fioravanti (1517-88) proposed that the outbreak was caused by cannibalism that had occurred during the French invasion of Naples in 1494….
Transformed Food and Dietary Style in Modern Japan (1870s)
How did nutritional knowledge transform people’s perception of food and dietary life in 1870s’ Japan?
Book Review: Incurables: Relatos de dolencias y males, edited by Oswaldo Estrada
Estrada, Oswaldo, editor. Incurables: Relatos de dolencia y males. Ars Communis Editorial, 2020. 228 pages. ¿En qué país estamos, Agripina? [What country are we in, Agripina?] In his introduction to Incurables: Relatos de dolencias y males, Oswaldo Estrada reminds readers that “las dolencias y males siempre han producido prejuicios, miedos, pánico. Hay males visibles e…
One summer morning, I found myself in the hollow tube of an MRI. A technician pressed foam earplugs into my ears, gingerly placing oversized headphones on top. The hospital’s artificial breeze rustled my gown. Into the imaging machine I went: face down, breasts out. As contrast dye entered my veins, I tasted metal. A symphony…
Tale of a Colonial Tonic: or the Pharmacy of the Supernatural in Bengali Literature
What does a fledgling Bengali periodical for paranormal tales in early-twentieth-century Calcutta have in common with a contemporary anti-malarial tonic? Both sneak across the colonial divide in their formal heterogeneity. On the pages of the periodical Aloukik Rahasya (literally, Mysteries of the Supernatural), edited by the Bengali playwright Kshirode Prasad Vidyabinode from 1909 to 1915,…
Please open with a vivid and compelling short story of a patient encounter
The textbooks that I used as a medical student in the 1990s were illustrated with photographs of real patients. I can vividly recall the images of three depicted patients, stripped naked, standing with their palms facing upwards, posed with their hands by their sides and feet shoulder width apart like Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man….
The Head of a Dog or Horn of a Rhino: Meaning, Milton, and Me
[H]e reproaches me with want of beauty and loss of sight: “A monster huge and hideous, void of sight.” … [B]ut he immediately corrects himself, and says, “though not indeed huge, for there cannot be a more spare, shrivelled and bloodless form.” It is of no moment to say any thing of personal appearance, yet…
The Spaces Between
Jac Saorsa, Artist-Residence// Recent health problems have weakened me a little … sapped my energy and left me feeling somewhat detached from the reality I have been living in. But the new reality, the different way of understanding myself has forced me, gently, to consider my own mortality from a deeply personal perspective. Two ways…
Meeting on a Bridge of Silence: A Talk With Géraldine Berger, Bilingual Performer in French and Sign Language
“Géraldine Berger has no hearing disability. And yet, she has been speaking sign language for almost twenty years. This French “bilingual performer” – she makes a statement of being identified as such – has worked on more than thirty artistic productions involving deaf artists.”