Vital Minimum: An Interview

Dana Simmons’s marvelous and thoughtful new book takes on a question that many of us likely take for granted: “What is a need; what is a want, a desire, a luxury?” Vital Minimum: Need, Science, and Politics in Modern France (University of Chicago Press, 2015) offers an answer that emerges from and is embedded in the particular historical context of nineteenth century France, but has consequences that range … Continue reading Vital Minimum: An Interview

Eating Drugs: An Interview

Drugs exist that are meant to help people feel better. The doctors who prescribe them might believe that they work, while their patients do not. In explaining the drugs to their patients, should those doctors use the medical terminology they themselves use – which might not be immediately understandable to their patients – or should they translate the description into terms more comfortable and familiar … Continue reading Eating Drugs: An Interview

The Nature and Nurture of Love: An Interview

Marga Vicedo’s new book explores the emergence of the science of children’s emotional needs in the twentieth century, contextualizing the work of British psychoanalyst and psychiatrist John Bowlby (1907-1990) within a broader history of scientific studies of human and animal behavior. She was kind enough to talk with me about it, and you can find our conversation here. Continue reading The Nature and Nurture of Love: An Interview