Politics of Difference and Grammars of Influence in the Postgenomic Era: Fire, Soil, Spirit

Article Summary by Lara Choksey The great and humbling lesson of the Human Genome Project was that histories of embodiment are complex social matters. The era in the life sciences imperfectly described as the postgenomic, the period ‘after’ the sequencing of the human genome, has involved a turn to the effects of influences external to […]

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Time Considered as a Helix of Infinite Possibilities

Article Summary by Jay Clayton This contribution to the special issue of Medical Humanities on Global Genetic Fictions focuses on an award-winning science fiction story by Samuel R. Delany, “Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones.” In the story, Delany imagines something he calls “hologramic information storage,” which allows an interplanetary Special Service agent […]

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Painful Metaphors: Enactivism and Art in Qualitative Research

Article Summary by Peter Stilwell There is now widespread consensus that pain is subjective, meaning that it is a private and personal experience. Because pain is experienced from a person’s unique perspective, others (e.g., healthcare practitioners, family, friends) cannot directly “see” or fully understand what the experience is like. To somewhat express what it is […]

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Genetic Enhancement, TED Talks and the Sense of Wonder

Article Summary by Loredana Filip Science can be communicated to the public in various ways, including books and journal articles. And yet in our digital world, online interactions have a growing impact on the audience. TED talks became a widely available and highly popular resource for the communication and reception of science. They reach huge […]

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Shame-to-Cynicism Conversion in The Citadel and The House of God

Article Summary by Arthur Rose “Shame is everywhere in medicine”, a recent call for voices by The Nocturnists reminds us, “and yet—due to its taboo nature and the culture of silence that surrounds it—shame is nowhere in healthcare”. Admitting shame is often, itself, treated as shameful, which may account for this ubiquitous absence. This article […]

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A Brief and Personal History of ‘What’s in a Name’ in Reproductive Genetics

Article Summary by Jeff Nisker Although Juliet’s claim, ’What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet’, may apply to family names, ‘that which we call’ embryos and procedures in reproductive genetics often smell sweet because the names were created to perfume not-so-sweet-smelling practices. Reproductive-genetic scientists […]

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Global Genetic Fictions

Article Summary by Clare Barker In ‘Global Genetic Fictions’, Clare Barker introduces the concerns of the special issue. This special issue explores cultural representations of genes, the human genome and genetic science in a range of artforms and genres, including poetry, genre fiction, rap music, TED talks, popular science, historical fiction and postcolonial literature. The […]

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Can Death Cafés Resuscitate Morale in Hospitals?

Article Summary by Rachel Hammer Death Cafés are non-profit social franchises that arise spontaneously in communities to serve as informal forums for discussing death. There is a great need within the medical community for the kind of conversation that Death Cafés foster: open, unstructured, spontaneous, genuine and interdisciplinary dialogue. This paper describes a model for […]

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On the Need for an Ecologically Dimensioned Medical Humanities

Article Summary by Jonathan Coope Healthcare often tends to be compartmentalized as something quite separate from issues of ecology and ecological sustainability. Yet health impacts of global warming and other environmental problems alert us to the fact that health and the fate of the biosphere are inextricably related and always have been. Yet western modernity, […]

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