ISSN (Online): 2583-0090


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A cat shaped hole - Understanding Commitment, Care and Loss in Animal Memoir
Published On: 31/10/2022
Aditi Das KhanAditi Das Khan,Junior Research Fellow,Jamia Millia Islamia

-Death is the greatest leveler. Death shatters all distinctions and binds all living creatures in a shared sense of vulnerability. This article will aim to closely explore the process of committing, caring and mourning for companion animals in memoirs like Suniti Namjoshi’s Suki, Naomi Barton’s “Death Dignity and Dogs”, and other ancillary writings. The memoirs give us the opportunity to reflect upon the question of agency in caretaking. Animal lovers must decide on behalf of animals on simple everyday matters like administering a pill, and also heartbreakingly difficult ones like “putting them down”. The article enquires into the emotional aspects of care taking and healing as opposed to mere physical cure, which is one of the mainstays of medical humanities (Cole et al. 26). It seeks to understand the demanding, fallible and transformative nature of care. It also explores the possibilities of companion animals acting as providers of care, and demonstrates how animal studies conjoins with medical humanities to expand the term of ‘living well’ to ‘living well together’ (Kirk et al. 76). Additionally, we see how writing about the same is to challenge the normative order by acknowledging positive feelings for animals, and also seek a community around caring and grieving.

Menstrual cycle and the Holocaust: A feminist critique of Anne Isaacs’ Torn Thread
Published On: 10/03/2023
Dr Surabhi JhaDr Surabhi Jha,Independent Researcher,Not Applicable

Concerning the female body, the term ‘menstruation’ is laden with a plethora of distorted religious and cultural implications. April Miller believes that menstrual cycle is synonymous with “shame, difference, castration, filth, reproductive power, disease and death to the Other.” Considering the Holocaust, menstruation seems to be a least discussed topic that worked on the lives of female prisoners in multiple ways. The shared experiences of periods bolster the female solidarity, and generate the ‘camp families’ in the concentration camps. Periods even protect women from being sexually abused. Anne Isaacs in her novel Torn Thread (2000), discusses about the female prisoners, in the concentration camp, who no longer deemed themselves to be ‘women’ because of amenorrhoea. The stereotypical femininity, which is associated with the motherhood, is deeply rooted in the female prisoners like Eva and Rachel of this novel. In Erna Rubinstein’s memoir The Survivor in Us All: Four Young Sisters in the Holocaust (1986), she underscores the significance of menstruation, which sanctions the validity of a woman’s existence in the androcentric society. In an attempt to halt the menstrual blood of the female prisoners, the Nazi officers used to add something to the food. The Nazis, who represent the sovereign power, as Agamben points out in Homo Sacer (1995), usually exert their repressive agencies on the people in general by transmuting them into bare bodies. Hence, the present paper will try to focus on the hygiene, menstrual cycle, nutrition, and other health issues of the female prisoners during the Holocaust period as perpetuated in Torn Thread.

Climate Change and Women’s Choice in the 1990s and Today: The Prophetic Nature of Todd Haynes Safe
Published On: 10/03/2023
Doughlas C MacteodDoughlas C Macteod,Associate Professor,Associate Professor of Composition and Communication at SUNY Cobleskill, in Upstate New York.

Todd Haynes’s 1995 film Safe, starring Julianne Moore as the victim of an illness that no one can seem to understand, is eerily prophetic on two levels: the film speaks to both the effects of climate change on the human mind and body, and a woman’s right to have control over her own medical decisions. With the advent of COVID and monkey pox, along with the overturning of Roe vs. Wade and the recent closed door talks between Democrats to create a bill to help clean up the environment, a film like Safe shows viewers that there were warning signs almost thirty years ago that trouble was on the hazy horizon. My essay will be a textual analysis of Haynes’s film, how Safe was a cultural representation of the political climate during the 1990s, and how the film’s message is just as relevant now as it was during the Clinton Administration.

Attitudes toward Epidemics in the Bible
Published On: 10/03/2023
Dr Bina NirDr Bina Nir,Head Department of Multidisciplinary Studies,The Academic College of Emek Yezreel, Israel

Disease and pain are physiological phenomena, but they also possess social and cultural meanings, with different attitudes toward pain and diseases in different cultures. Using the genealogical method, this paper examines the cultural roots of attitudes toward epidemics, diseases, and the body as they appear in the biblical text, a foundational text in Western culture. Genealogy deals with the past, but its purpose is to understand and critique the current reality. Epidemics in the Bible are perceived as collective punishment for sins, and are also mentioned as one of the punishments predicted for the “End of Days.” Over time, this biblical narrative was expressed in various secular contexts and was even used by the media during the spread of the Covid-19 virus. In the Bible, overcoming an epidemic – or plague – requires a religious act, as part of the general biblical conception that the body, its health, and sickness are related to religious acts. The purpose of bodily afflictions in the Bible is to purify the soul or to lead one to repent. Exploring the biblical narratives related to epidemics enables a renewed examination of values and attitudes on this topic, in Western culture in general, and in Judaism in particular.

Cripping the Medical Humanities: Disability, Ableism, and Access Intimacy
Published On: 10/03/2023
Christina LeeChristina Lee,Department of English,King’s College, London, U.K.

In recent decades, medical humanities scholars have increasingly looked to patient-authored narratives of illness to help medical practitioners better understand patients’ lived experiences of disability. However, within the medical humanities itself, disabled people remain underrepresented as normative conventions of research and teaching systematically exclude disabled scholars. This paper interrogates the medical humanities’ complicity in reproducing relations of power that reinforce biomedicine’s dominance over disabled people. I adopt a cripistemological approach to centre first-person lived experiences of disability as a way of knowing and examine how knowledge about disability is produced through the academic consumption of illness narratives. Drawing on auto-ethnographic observations as a disabled literary scholar working in the medical humanities, I look at how access barriers and micro-ableism from nondisabled physician-researchers at conferences “other” disabled academics. I explore how access intimacy can be developed in the medical humanities to challenge institutional ableism and build intersectional solidarity with queer, non-white disabled people. I reiterate the need for medical humanities researchers and disability activists to collaborate and create a more caring and inclusive society.

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