Τρίτη, 6 Αυγούστου 2019

Medical Humanities

No One Who Loves Anyone

The Family Practice

The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability by Jasbir K. Puar, Duke University Press, 2017

An Art-based Case Study: Reflections on End of Life from a Husband, Artist and Caregiver


This study explores the reflective processes of Scottish artist, Norman Gilbert, as he created twenty-five drawings depicting his wife, Pat Gilbert, as she lay dying following an Alzheimer's-related stroke. Norman, ninety-one, had drawn Pat regularly over their sixty-five-year marriage. One week after Pat died, Norman was interviewed by a family friend to chronicle his reflections on the drawings. The drawings along with the interview transcript are analyzed qualitatively as a case study. Norman's Hospital Drawings of Pat transform what was initially a private experience into a shared comprehension of end of life and bereavement.

The Microbial Mother Meets the Independent Organ: Cultural Discourses of Reproductive Microbiomes


The human microbiome is changing the way experts and non-experts think about germs and microorganisms. This essay is a gender analysis of contemporary discourses surrounding the human reproductive microbiome, specifically the vaginal microbiota and the penile microbiota. I first historically situate the human reproductive microbiome within the germ theory of disease. Then, I draw on Heather Paxson's Foucauldian and Latourian concept of microbiopolitics to argue that microbiopolitics is not only about how humans should live with microorganisms; but it also impacts how humans and microbes live together as gendered beings. I illustrate this gendering through two figures: the microbial mother and the independent organ.

Colonialist Pasts and Afrosurrealist Futures: Decolonizing Race and Doctorhood in Doctor Who


Originally premiering in 1963, the BBC television series Doctor Who has long been criticized for essentializing colonial scenarios and failing to address issues of race and post-colonial realities. As a white male with the privilege to explore time and space, the titular Doctor stands in contrast to his human companion Martha Jones, a Black woman who represents the first and only main character in the show to be a medical professional of color. The relationship between the Doctor and Martha inherently demands an exploration of the meaning of doctorhood. In studying the ways in which these characters embody the idea of "doctor," we examine how race structures their approach to medicine, heroism, and colonialism. Whereas the Doctor personifies the figure of colonizer and post-colonial white savior, Martha emerges as a radical figure whose doctorhood potentially challenges and dismantles the colonial history of medicine. Through Afrofuturist and Afrosurrealist lenses, Martha represents a potentially subversive figure who offers a visionary medicine rooted in social justice.

The Beauty in Perfect Imperfection


Modern technologies sanction a new plasticity of physical form. However, the increasing global popularity of aesthetic procedures (re)produces normative beauty ideals in terms of perfection and symmetry. These conditions limit the semblance of freedom by people to control their own bodies. Cultural emancipation may come from principles in Eastern philosophy. These reveal beauty in authenticity, including imperfection. Wabi-sabi acclaims beauty in common irregularity, while kintsugi celebrates beauty in visible signs of repair, like scars. These principles resist pressure to medicalize dissatisfaction with healthy bodies and invite multi-sited interventions to educate taste and aesthetic choices.

Bodies in Genres of Practice: Johann Ulrich Bilguer's Fight to Reduce Field Amputations


This paper examines Johann Ulrich Bilguer's 1761 dissertation on the inutility of amputation practices, examining reasons for its influence despite its nonconformance to genre expectations. I argue that Bilguer's narratives of patient suffering, his rhetorical likening of surgeons to soldiers, and his attention to the horrific experiences of war surgeons all contribute to the dissertation's wide impact. Ultimately, the dissertation offers an example of affective rhetorics employed during the Enlightenment, demonstrating how bodies and environments—those "ambient rhetorics" made visible in a text—can contribute to an analysis of genre deviations and widen the scope of genre studies.

"No Country for Old Men": Huxley's Brave New World and the Value of Old Age


This article inserts Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932) into a bioethical conversation about the value of old age and old people. Exploring literary treatments of bioethical questions can supplement conversations within bioethics proper, helping to reveal our existing assumptions and clear the way for more considered views; indeed, as Peter Swirski has argued, literary texts can serve as thought experiments that illuminate the ramifications of philosophical ideas. This essay examines the novel's representation of a society without old people in conjunction with ideas about aging and life narratives put forward by philosophers and bioethicists such as Ezekiel Emanuel, Gilbert Meilaender, and Alasdair MacIntyre. While critics, and Huxley himself, view the Brave New World as dystopian primarily because of its depiction of a totalitarian society where art, truth, and meaning are sacrificed to pleasure and distraction and where the ruled are programmed not to question the values of their rulers, the novel also makes clear that the excision of old age has significant political, moral, and emotional costs.

Women's Auto/Biography and Dissociative Identity Disorder: Implications for Mental Health Practice


Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is an uncommon disorder that has long been associated with exposure to traumatic stressors exceeding manageable levels commonly encompassing physical, psychological and sexual abuse in childhood that is prolonged and severe in nature. In DID, dissociation continues after the traumatic experience and produces a disruption in identity where distinct personality states develop. These personalities are accompanied by variations in behaviour, emotions, memory, perception and cognition. The use of literature in psychiatry can enrich comprehension over the subjective experience of a disorder, and the utilisation of 'illness narratives' in nursing research have been considered a way of improving knowledge about nursing care and theory development. This research explores experiences of DID through close textual reading and thematic analysis of five biographical and autobiographical texts, discussing the lived experience of the disorder. This narrative approach aims to inform empathetic understanding and support the facilitation of therapeutic alliances in mental healthcare for those experiencing the potentially debilitating and distressing symptoms of DID. Although controversies surrounding the biomedical diagnosis of DID are important to consider, the lived experiences of those who mental health nurses encounter should be priority.

Alexandros Sfakianakis
Anapafseos 5 . Agios Nikolaos

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