A Girl and a Neem Tree: Identity and the Belonging of Not Belonging

Nitya Rajeshuni// “[H Mart is] a beautiful, holy place. A cafeteria full of people from all over the world who have been displaced in a foreign country, each with a different history. Where did they come from and how far did they travel? Why are they all here? To find the galangal no American supermarket…

a mature defense

Michelle Munyikwa // “The secret source of Humor is not joy but sorrow.” — Mark Twain, as quoted in Laughter Out of Place “You know, Michelle,” my senior resident said, in that didactic tone of voice that educators often use when they are about to drop some wisdom, “humor is a mature defense.“ We had…

Narrative Medicine Spring Basic Virtual Workshop: A Brief Reflection

Amala Poli // On March 19th, I began attending a three-day Basic Narrative Medicine (NM) Workshop. Like much else in academia during the Covid-19 pandemic, the workshop was held virtually via Zoom sessions. Having attended panels and conferences in the last year on Zoom, I wondered about how this would translate the experience of being…

The Experience of Grief, The Truths of Bearing Witness

Bríd Phillips // We hang dangling at speed, in fragile air[i] In many ways, the texts at our Medical Humanities Book and Film Club, while dealing with serious topics, have maintained some streaks of positivity. This positivity formed a thread which we could follow to avoid opening up emotional maelstroms. To date, there have been…

Write/Right About Your Body

Madeleine Mant // I teach Introduction to the Anthropology of Health to an exquisitely diverse group of second-year undergraduate students. The class is a gateway prerequisite to all upper-level health-stream courses, thus it necessitates a balance between the biological and sociocultural aspects of health anthropology. Students are exposed to the work of Gregor Mendel and…

Diagnosis: What’s Wrong with Us

Sneha Mantri // Netflix’s newest original series, Diagnosis, dropped on August 16, 2019. Each of the seven episodes is touted as a “medical mystery” to be solved through crowdsourcing. The concept is intriguing: harness the global reach of the internet to connect patients, families, and physicians, all working in concert to solve a complex case….

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…

Lisa Halliday’s “Asymmetry”: A Misreading

Anna Fenton-Hathaway Despite its title, Asymmetry comprises two seemingly unrelated sections of equal length, appended by a slim and quietly shocking coda. – Alice Gregory, New York Times review (2018) Gregory’s phrase “shocking coda”—and her “seemingly,” I suppose—has ruined me for this book. I am reading like a doctor.