Lisa Mendelman

Lisa Mendelman is Assistant Professor of English and Digital Humanities at Menlo College. She works in the medical and digital humanities, with a particular focus on gender, race, and affect in twentieth-century America. She is the author of Modern Sentimentalism: Affect, Irony, and Female Authorship in Interwar America (Oxford University Press, 2019).


Modernism and Diagnosis

Questions of scientific testing, symptomatology, medical solutions, and epidemiological modeling have been front-page news this past year. But our diagnostic moment began long before the COVID-19 pandemic: from 23andme’s mail-in genetic analysis to WebMD’s online medical symptom checkers; from wearable fitness trackers that get smaller and sleeker with each new model to books and web series that promise inner joy through a simplified material existence; from a resurgence in theories of genetic determinism born of “scoring” individual genomes to the advent of a professional field dedicated to “diagnosing organizational culture.”

Responses to the Special Issue on Weak Theory, Part IV

This installment marks the last planned set of responses—at least for now—to the special issue on Weak Theory. We’ll bring the discussion to a close, in several weeks’ time, by giving the writers from that issue a chance to answer the responses. Many thanks to all who have participated!

The Quantified Self

The information superhighway is paved with good intentions. This thought occurred to me earlier this summer, as I drove the Silicon Valley corridor of 101. “The first survivor of Alzheimer’s is out there,” one billboard declared. “Hello marijuana, goodbye anxiety,” announced a second (the company, Eaze, hand-delivers the substance, à la Instacart). “No data left behind,” avowed a third. Perhaps because I was headed to the ALA to deliver a paper on Edith Wharton’s satire of interwar scientific culture, Twilight Sleep, the third struck me as particularly ludicrous and problematic.