Hannah Zeavin talks about teletherapy, from Freud’s letters to suicide hotlines to therapy apps. If therapy is always mediated, teletherapy is any form of therapy in which that mediation is more clearly legible. This mediated practice is the topic of her new book The Distance Cure: A History of Teletherapy (MIT Press, 2021).
Hannah is a Lecturer in the departments of English and History at UC Berkeley, where she is affiliated with the Berkeley Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society, and she is a visiting fellow at Columbia University Center for the Study of Social Difference. She is currently at work on a second book project, about technology in the American family, called Mother’s Little Helpers, also with MIT Press. You can learn more about Hannah’s research and teaching on her website: zeavin.org
Image: adapted from a 1912 advertisement of the Illinois Telephone and Telegraph Co.
Music used in promotional material: ‘A Better Normal’ by Ian Sutherland
Gabriel Winant talks with Kim about the decline of the industrial working class and the rise of the health care industry.
Gabriel is an assistant professor of History at the University of Chicago. His book, The Next Shift: The Fall of Industry and the Rise of Health Care in Rust Belt America, is recently out from Harvard University Press. You can read his recent article on the subject in The New York Times.
The Next Shift focuses on the working class in the American context and Pittsburgh in particular. In the full version of our conversation, Gabriel recommended Aaron Benanav’s book Automation and the Future of Work (Verso 2020), for an argument about the larger global economic structures of deindustrialization. He also talks a bit about James Boggs, as someone who was well positioned to notice the effects of deindustrialization. We found this article about Boggs worth reading.
The image for this episode is a photograph of the abandoned Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, taken by Thomas Hawk on 13 June 2010. The image is posted of Flickr under a creative commons attribution non-commercial license. Lauren Berlant describes gives this photograph as a bad image of neoliberalism, which allows our social theory to derive “its urgency and its reparative imaginary from spaces of catastrophe and risk where the exemplum represents structural failure” (“The Commons: Infrastructures for Troubling Times” Society and Space 34 no. 3 (2016) p.395). But I like it. Saronik modified the original image.
Music used in promotional material: ‘Shadow of a Coal Mine’ by Linda Draper
Travis Chi Wing Lau talks about the notion that one can experiment on the fundamental conditions and nature of life in order to perfect them. He looks at this idea in diverse literary, scientific, and cultural contexts from the vitality debate and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to the perils of the CRISPR technology and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go.
Travis Chi Wing Lau (he/him/his) is Assistant Professor of English at Kenyon College. His research and teaching focus on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British literature and culture, health humanities, and disability studies. Alongside his scholarship, Lau frequently writes for venues of public scholarship like Synapsis: A Journal of Health Humanities, Public Books, Lapham’s Quarterly, and The Los Angeles Review of Books. His poetry has appeared in Barren Magazine, Wordgathering, Glass, South Carolina Review, Foglifter, and The New Engagement, as well as in two chapbooks, The Bone Setter (Damaged Goods Press, 2019) and Paring (Finishing Line Press, 2020).
Image: “Experimental Life” © 2021 Saronik Bosu
Music used in promotional material: “Future Life” by Ketsa