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…

The Tiger in the Waiting Room–Addressing Moral Stress in Medicine

Jane Desmond, Ph.D. // Is our medical training, medical practice, and our research in the health humanities adequately recognizing and responding to moral stress?  Are some populations, specialties, or jobs within healthcare more likely to experience it? [How] can we imagine future systems of care that alleviate this type of stress among practitioners?

Trump, Madness, Tricolon Crescendos

Pasquale S. Toscano // Madness is therefore defined to be a vehement dotage, or raving without a fever, far more violent than melancholy, full of anger and clamour, horrible looks, actions, gestures, troubling the patients with far greater vehemency both of body and mind, without all fear and sorrow, with such impetuous force and boldness…

Grieving in a Pandemic

Sara Press // On a warm day in October, I found myself staring at fallen leaves in a forested burial ground in Toronto. My parents and I stood back from the constellation of mourners, all of whom had been asked to sign their names on a contact tracing form before entering the service. We surrounded…

The Beast Within: Mental Illness in Arto Paasilinna’s The Howling Miller

Avril Tynan // Throughout the nineteenth century, degeneration theory associated certain behaviours and physical and psychological pathologies with a pseudo-Darwinian atavism of primitive traits and characteristics. One need only think of Émile Zola’s Rougon-Macquart series, and particularly his 1890 novel La bête humaine (The Beast in Man or The Beast Within), to note the parallels…

‘Joker’: A Complex Representation of Mental Illness?

Amala Poli // Joker (2019), a film directed by Todd Phillips, and co-produced by Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, represents mental illness in a way that is neither easily acceptable or dismissible. Some critics have viewed the film as a troubling representation of mental illness due to its construction of the troubled…

The Classic, or Institutionalization part II

Roanne Kantor // What happens when different kinds of institutions meet? When I asked that question this winter, the answer focused on the unevenness between various types of things that get theorized very abstractly as “institutions.” Can there be any use in exploring “institutionalization” and “de-institutionalization” in both medical and educational contexts? Within this larger…

The Indian Mental Healthcare Act 2017: A Challenging Horizon

Amala Poli // In 2017, India’s Parliament passed a new Mental Healthcare Act that sought to address several gaps and problems in the previous act of 1987. While marking a significant moment in Indian history by attempting to prioritize patients’ rights and consent, the new act raises new concerns. Can the status quo be transformed through…