Somatosphere

  • Virus Touch book cover

    Book Review: In Mediation with Difficult Kin: Bishnupriya Ghosh’s The Virus Touch


    The Virus Touch: Theorizing Epidemic Media, by Bishnupriya Ghosh (Duke University Press, 2023) In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and with various forecasts predicting likelihoods of a similar event in the near future, one cannot help but ask: in the Anthropocene, are we doomed to relentlessly prepare for and react to emerging viral threats?…

    View article: Book Review: In Mediation with Difficult Kin: Bishnupriya Ghosh’s The Virus Touch

Somatosphere is a collaborative website covering the intersections of medical anthropology, medical sociology, history of science and medicine, science and technology studies, and cultural psychiatry.

Featured articles

  • Infertile Environments book cover

    Book Review: Janelle Lamoreaux’s Infertile Environments


    Infertile Environments: Epigenetic Toxicology and the Reproductive Health of Chinese Men, by Janelle Lamoreaux (Duke University Press, 2023). The World Health Organization recently called to center women, pregnant people, and children in addressing climate change (WHO 2023). The report emphasizes potential long-term and intergenerational effects of climate related exposures, such as extreme temperatures, displacement, and…

    View article: Book Review: Janelle Lamoreaux’s Infertile Environments
  • Healthcare in the age of inequality


    I had just begun my year of social service when I met a patient I will never forget. Let’s call her María. She was around 50 years old and was attending a follow-up for abdominal pain and abnormal uterine bleeding. The results of her colposcopy strongly suggested cervical cancer and an ultrasound showed multiple hepatic…

    View article: Healthcare in the age of inequality
  • Photo credit: Lyndsey Beutin

    Toward Sick Futurity: Ill wisdom for liberation


    In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, North Americans became familiar with the idea that people with underlying conditions were at increased risk for severe COVID infections. Talk of underlying conditions was a constant refrain across news media, public health missives, and social media posts. “Underlying conditions” became an awareness campaign, it became a…

    View article: Toward Sick Futurity: Ill wisdom for liberation
  • Navigating the Unreal: Virtual Reality in Psychiatric Treatment


    “Three men are constantly speaking to me behind my right ear,” says Pia Oxenvad, a young woman experiencing auditory hallucinations. “It feels like they are standing right behind me,” she explains, while indicating with her right hand precisely where the voices seem to be lurking.[1] To Pia, the voices are real, an experiential and always…

    View article: Navigating the Unreal: Virtual Reality in Psychiatric Treatment
  • Pavel Krasensky/Shutterstock.com

    Multispecies Anxiety in France’s Bedbug Autumn


    In the final evening of an archival research trip across France last September, I was thrilled to see that a cinema in Quartier Latin was screening Atlantic City (1980), one of the few films by Louis Malle that I had never watched on the big screen and was likely never going to be able to…

    View article: Multispecies Anxiety in France’s Bedbug Autumn
  • Banana bunches at a market. Photo credit: Sandra Calkins

    The work of plants


    Though plants are indispensable for human survival, their contributions to human existence and history are often underappreciated.

    View article: The work of plants
  • Mavungu, Democratic Republic of Congo, circa. 1900 – The sculpture is a ‘power figure’ or ‘nkondi’ which contains a spirit named Mavungu and holds sacred medicine in its belly. Photo credit: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford

    Metabolism and capacity: history and labour in post-apartheid South Africa


    I start with the question, why was it necessary, from 2008, for Mondi South Africa to spend R50 million (USD 8 million) a year on a nutrition intervention for 10,000 timber plantation labourers in KwaZulu-Natal province?

    View article: Metabolism and capacity: history and labour in post-apartheid South Africa

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