Abject Relations presents an alternative approach to anorexia, long considered the epitome of a Western obsession with individualism, beauty, self-control, and autonomy. Through detailed ethnographic investigations, Megan Warin looks at the heart of what it means to live with anorexia on a daily basis. Participants describe difficulties with social relatedness, not being at home in their body, and feeling disgusting and worthless. For them, anorexia becomes a seductive and empowering practice that cleanses bodies of shame and guilt, becomes a friend and support, and allows them to forge new social relations.
Unraveling anorexia's complex relationships and contradictions, Warin provides a new theoretical perspective rooted in a socio-cultural context of bodies and gender. Abject Relations departs from conventional psychotherapy approaches and offers a different "logic," one that involves the shifting forces of power, disgust, and desire and provides new ways of thinking that may have implications for future treatment regimes.
"Jonah Lehmann is an accidental teacher of others, including his family and friends. This personal and touching account of Jonah's life is enlightening, especially to those coming to terms with similar challenges with autism and other cognitive disabilities. It was written with love to support research on autism, and I recommend it to anyone and everyone touched by those of us who are different."
---Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek, Legal Advocate for People with Disabilities
"I have never read a book about a disabled person that caught me from page one. I could not put this one down. Lehmann offers a profound perspective on living with the reality of a severely disabled child. This book will be required reading for students who take my class in Special Education Administration."
---Frances LaPlante-Sosnowsky, Associate Professor of Education at Wayne State University
"A story of the astonishing power of human love and family triumph over hardship. Lehmann's story, engaging and at times both heartbreaking and joyful, offers an intimate view of one mother's journey as she works with professionals and a blur of caregivers to assist the ever-changing needs of her son. I highly recommend it to seasoned professionals in the field of autism and students preparing for careers in special education."
---Janet E. Graetz, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Child Studies at Oakland University
A child teaches without intending to . . .
Having severe autism does not stop Annie Lehmann's son Jonah from teaching her some of life's most valuable lessons. The Accidental Teacher, a heartfelt memoir about self-discovery rather than illness, uses insight and humor to weave a tale rich with kitchen-table wisdom. It explains the realities of life with a largely nonverbal son and explores the frustrations and triumphs of the Lehmann family as Jonah grew into a young adult. This book is a must-read for anyone who has been personally touched by a major life challenge.
Annie Lubliner Lehmann, a freelance writer for more than twenty-five years, has published articles in many newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times and Detroit Free Press. She resides in Michigan with her husband and two of her three children. Her eldest son, who inspired this memoir, is now a young adult with autism who lives in a supervised home.
Wisenberg may have lost a breast, but she retained her humor, outrage, and skepticism toward common wisdom and most institutions. While following the prescribed protocols at the place she called Fancy Hospital, Wisenberg is unsparing in her descriptions of the fumblings of new doctors, her own awkward announcement to her students, and the mounds of unrecyclable plastic left at a survivors’ walk. Combining the personal with the political, she shares her research on the money spent on pink ribbons instead of preventing pollution, and the disparity in medical care between the insured and the uninsured. When chemotherapy made her bald, she decorated her head with henna swirls in front and an antiwar protest in back. During treatment, she also recorded the dailiness of life in Chicago as she rode the L, taught while one-breasted, and attended High Holiday services and a Passover seder.
Wisenberg’s writing has been compared to a mix of Leon Wieseltier and Fran Lebowitz, and in this book, she has Wieseltier’s erudition and Lebowitz’s self-deprecating cleverness: “If anybody ever offers you the choice between suffering and depression, take the suffering. And I don't mean physical suffering. I mean emotional suffering. I am hereby endorsing psychic suffering over depression.”
From The Adventures of Cancer Bitch:
I found that when you invite people to a pre-mastectomy party, they show up. Even those with small children. The kids were so young that they didn't notice that most of the food had nipples. . . . I talked to everyone—about what I'm not sure. Probably about my surgery. Everyone told me how well I looked. I felt giddy. I was going to go under, but not yet; I was going to be cut, but not yet; I was going to be bald, but not yet. As my friend who had bladder cancer says: The thing about cancer is you feel great until they start treating you for it.
The appearance of Alain Resnais' 1955 French documentary Night and Fog heralded the beginning of a new form of cinema, one that used the narrative techniques of modernism to provoke a new historical consciousness. Afterimage presents a theory of posttraumatic film based on the encounter between cinema and the Holocaust. Locating its origin in the vivid shock of wartime footage, Afterimage focuses on a group of crucial documentary and fiction films that were pivotal to the spread of this cinematic form across different nations and genres.
Joshua Hirsch explores the changes in documentary brought about by cinema verite, culminating in Shoah. He then turns to teh appearance of a fictional posttraumatic cinema, tracing its development through the vivid flashbacks in Resnais' Hiroshima, mon amour to the portrayal of pain and memory in Pawnbroker. He excavates a posttraumatic autobiography in three early films by the Hungarian Istvan Szabo. Finally, Hirsch examines the effects of postmodernism on posttraumatic cinema, looking at Schindler's List and a work about a different form of historical trauma, History and Memory, a videotape dealing with the internment of Japanese Americans during the Second World War.
Sweeping in its scope, Afterimage presents a new way of thinking about film and history, trauma and its representation.
Agents and Patients: A Novel
Anthony Powell University of Chicago Press, 2014 Library of Congress PR6031.O74A74 2014 | Dewey Decimal 823.912
Unsavory artists, titled boobs, and charlatans with an affinity for Freud—such are the oddballs whose antics animate the early novels of the late British master Anthony Powell. A genius of social satire delivered with a very dry wit, Powell builds his comedies on the foibles of British high society between the wars, delving into subjects as various as psychoanalysis, the film industry, publishing, and (of course) sex. More explorations of relationships and vanity than plot-driven narratives, these slim novels reveal the early stirrings of the unequaled style, ear for dialogue, and eye for irony that would reach their caustic peak in Powell’s epic A Dance to the Music of Time.
In Agents and Patients, we return to London with the newly wealthy, memorably named Blore-Smith: an innocent, decent enough chap . . . and a drip. Vulnerable to the machinations of those with less money and more lust, Blore-Smith falls victim to two con artists whose ploys carry him through to the art galleries and whorehouses of Paris, Berlin, and beyond.
Written from a vantage point both high and necessarily narrow, Powell’s early novels nevertheless deal in the universal themes that would become a substantial part of his oeuvre: pride, greed, and what makes people behave as they do. Filled with eccentric characters and piercing insights, Powell’s work is achingly hilarious, human, and true.
Alive with Alzheimer's
Cathy Stein Greenblat University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress RC523.G745 2004 | Dewey Decimal 362.19683100222
The confusion, losses, and devastation of Alzheimer's disease are familiar to the millions of Americans suffering from the disease and to their family members. Understandably, declining abilities and changing personal characteristics shape our picture of the disease, leading some to refer to the "double death" of Alzheimer's in which the sufferer drifts away long before his or her eventual physical end.
This small, tender volume of 85 photographs and accompanying discussion powerfully shows the limitations of this view. Cathy Stein Greenblat, an internationally respected sociologist and photographer, demonstrates in Alive with Alzheimer's that, while the ravages of the disease are real, Alzheimer's sufferers can do more than survive, they can thrive. Her images, interviews, and observations attest to the possibility of their being "alive" with Alzheimer's far beyond the expectations of the general public and even of many physicians with long experience with the disease.
Greenblat offers a new vision, taking us into a world of life-enhancing institutional care. Nursing homes and similar facilities don't have to be a last resort; as Greenblat shows, with a dedicated and experienced staff and an enriched environment (that includes respect, choices, pets, and music), extraordinary changes can be effected in Alzheimer's patients. Alive with Alzheimer's, the first photographic book on the disease, offers hope and inspiration. Moreover, its vivid, impressive evidence that ongoing stimulation in a good institutional setting can sustain Alzheimer's patients at a far higher level than is generally believed has significant implications for personal and policy decisions.
The new standard of care chronicled in Alive with Alzheimer's will provide hope and inspiration to those touched by the disease. As Dr. Enid Rockwell writes in her Afterword to Greenblat's moving book, "These photographs are extraordinary for practitioners, for family members, for everyone to see what's going on with these people. The stimulation pictured in this book is more powerful than any medication that we will have in our lifetime. . . . They so vividly show us that there are people inside these bodies, people with personalities, who experience emotion, and they show that there is life after Alzheimer's."
Recent scientific findings regarding the potential dangers associated with hormone replacement therapies bring renewed attention to the relationship between women's bodies and gender identity. In Am I Still A Woman? Jean Elson offers the testimony of women who have thought deeply about this issue as a result of gynecological surgery. For the women in this book, gynecological surgery for benign conditions proved to be a crisis that prompted questions about the meanings of sexual and reproductive organs in relation to being female and feminine. Is a woman who no longer menstruates still a woman? What about a woman who can no longer bear children? Elson looks closely at the differences in responses to understand the impact of surgery and lost fertility on sexuality and partnerships as well as the steps some women take to deal with a sense of a stigmatized identity. Whether they reconceptualized their old notions of what it means to be a woman or put a new focus on making themselves attractive, they made conscious efforts to reclaim their female identity and femininity. This book provides a wealth of insight into the choices women make regarding gynecological surgery and maintaining their sense of themselves as women.
In 1987 poet and physician Jon Mukand published Sutured Words, a volume of contemporary poems to help patients, their families and friends, and all health care professionals embrace the complexity of healing, illness, and death. Robert Coles called the collection “a wonderful source of inspiration and instruction for any of us who are trying to figure out what our work means”; Norman Cousins was impressed by the “discernment and high quality of the selections.” Now, in Articulations, Mukand adds more than a hundred new poems to the strongest poems from Sutured Words to give us a lyrical, enlightened understanding of the human dimensions of suffering and illness