Existential Research Notes, Or Pregnancy in the News

Livia Arndal Woods // For the better part of the past decade, my scholarship has focused on representations of pregnancy in the Victorian novel. This focus has often resonated with 21st century pregnancy narratives, and I’ve written about that. I’ve written less about the ways in which my scholarship has resonated with my lived experience…

Mothers, Memoir, and Medicine

Livia Arndal Woods // It’s Mother’s Day, holiday of breakfast-in-bed and/or reflection on the ways our society fails families. This Mother’s Day, I want to add a thought about how memoirs of motherhood cultivate an insistent thread of anxiety about medicine.

Monstrous and Mindful Births: Policing the Pregnant Imagination

Aristotle’s Master-Piece, or The Secrets of Generation, was first published in 1684 and quickly became the most popular medical book about “sex and babies” from its publication through the 19th century (Fissell 114). The frontispiece in many editions of this text depicts a black infant and woman covered in hair, alongside a description: “The Effgies…

Indigenous Poetics and Narrative Medicine

What exactly is narrative medicine, and how is it different from the work of humanities scholars who investigate medical topics? With this problem in mind, I set out to explore the roots of narrative medicine–not in academic medical schools, but in North American indigenous practices of healing through ritual storytelling. In our moment, narrative medicine…

The “Criminal Mind”: Discourses of Mental Health and Crime Part 1

Abigail Jane Mack Everything happens for the first time, but in a way that is eternal. -Jorge Luis Borges “We are as we think,” Stanton Samenow writes, concluding Inside the Criminal Mind.[1] The text, now in its third edition, outlines a theory of criminality, which has had enormous though often overlooked impact on psychiatric and…