1500 – Jelly Killer (2016 video game)

Jelly Killer – Retro Platformer  In this game you will act like a young bioweapon. You will encounter lots of traps and puzzles. You will have to possess human bodies to pass the game to the end.

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SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS (MINIMUM): OS: Windows XP SP 3 / Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo / Memory: 512 MB RAM / Graphics: 256 MB graphics / DirectX: Version 8.0 / Storage: 128 MB available space

steam


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1499 – From a growing library of books about: Contagion, Impurity, Dirt, Slime, Disgust, Disease, Art, Hygiene and Public Health

Since at least 10+ years I have been zealously gathering books on the general topic of Bodies, Contagion, Dirt, Impurity and Hygiene, Cleanliness or Public Health. A complete theory of affects would also take into account what have been regarded as largely negative affects such as disgust, abhorrence and fear in regard to dirt, the abject, putrefaction processes and the sliminess of biological matter. At the same time one cannot ignore that the purity/impurity divide has been actively exploited and weaponized against the xeno-, the migrant, the mismeasured foreigner and the unwanted other.

A more subtle direction has followed a sense of fragility and of loss conceptualized within and growing out of a rich feminist studies tradition, offering us ways of grasping & attending to the un-graspable: impeding climate change catastrophe and 6th mass extinction. These books easily and creatively cross over from Fecopoetics, STS, History of Medicine, Anthropology into gender studies and even metaphysics. By no means focused on just a social constructivist or strictly cultural or ideological reading of disease or contagion, while sometimes indebted to biopolitical critique, they point us beyond the limits & narrow confines of continental biopolitical thinking following in the steps of Foucault, Agamben or Esposito. There are other ways of enlarging the scope of our current COVID-19/SARS CoV-2 response corresponds to different histories, more fecund and diverse bio-philosophical lines of thought developed under various disciplinary regimes, approaches and practices. In times of public health sector privatization, divestment from accessible medical research and disregard for the general health of the population, it is easy to ignore the positive role of public health systems or medical traditions played not only in modern but also non European or pre-modern contexts be they Buddhist, Chinese or Islamic.

One such historical and political litmus test of public health is the before/after 1989 disaffection of the public health, migration of doctors and lack of hygiene in hospitals in the ex Soviet Union and former East. Although taking into account the key moment of AIDS and the various cultural responses & how solidarity has marked so much of our thinking about preventable disease and contagion. They also follow virality & infection in other pre- biological or even non-biological directions (human-non-human/computer). Recently departing from microbial metaphors & representational thinking, some authors are asking for a more positive understanding of contagion & virality as demanded by an increasingly networked planet of complex assemblages. The introductory materials are compiled from online sources and goes without saying that it is by no means a complete list. I also added their Goodreads links.

Title: Treatments: Language, Politics, and the Culture of Illness

Year: 2007

Author: Lisa Diedrich

Goodreads

Delving into the controversial relationship between illness and art, philosophy and politics Lisa Diedrich considers illness narratives, demonstrating that these texts not only recount symptoms but also describe illness as an event that reflects wider cultural contexts, including race, gender, class, and sexuality. Looking at narratives including Susan Sontag’s Illness As Metaphor, Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals, and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s “White Glasses,” Diedrich demonstrates how language both captures and fails to capture these “scenes of loss.”

This powerful and illuminating study examines the myriad stories of illness that increasingly shape modern understandings of disease and suffering. In the compelling vision of Treatments, illness is no longer what patients have; it is also what they do.— Paula Treichler, author of How to Have Theory in an Epidemic: Cultural Chronicles of AIDS

Title: The Hygiene Hypothesis and Darwinian Medicine

Year: 2009

Editors: Rook, Graham (Ed.)

Goodreads

Man has moved rapidly from the hunter-gatherer environment to the living conditions of the rich industrialised countries. The hygiene hypothesis suggests that the resulting changed and reduced pattern of exposure to micro-organisms has led to disordered regulation of the immune system, and hence to increases in certain chronic inflammatory disorders. The concept began with the allergic disorders, but there are now good reasons for extending it to autoimmunity, inflammatory bowel disease, atherosclerosis, depression associated with raised inflammatory cytokines, some cancers and perhaps neuroinflammatory disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

This book discusses the evidence for and against in the context of Darwinian medicine, which uses knowledge of evolution to cast light on human diseases. It is the first book to consider the broader implications of the hygiene hypothesis in areas of medicine where it has not previously been applied. The approach is interdisciplinary, looking at man’s microbiological history, at the biology of the effects of microorganisms on the immune system, and at the implications for chronic inflammatory disorders in multiple organ systems. Finally, the authors describe progress in the exploitation of microorganisms or their components as novel prophylactics and treatments in several branches of medicine.

Title: The Anatomy of Disgust

Year: 1997

Author: William Miller

Goodreads

William Miller embarks on an alluring journey into the world of disgust, showing how it brings order and meaning to our lives even as it horrifies and revolts us. Our notion of the self, intimately dependent as it is on our response to the excretions and secretions of our bodies, depends on it. Cultural identities have frequent recourse to its boundary-policing powers. Love depends on overcoming it, while the pleasure of sex comes in large measure from the titillating violation of disgust prohibitions. Imagine aesthetics without disgust for tastelessness and vulgarity; imagine morality without disgust for evil, hypocrisy, stupidity, and cruelty.

Miller details our anxious relation to basic life processes: eating, excreting, fornicating, decaying, and dying. But disgust pushes beyond the flesh to vivify the larger social order with the idiom it commandeers from the sights, smells, tastes, feels, and sounds of fleshly physicality. Disgust and contempt, Miller argues, play crucial political roles in creating and maintaining social hierarchy. Democracy depends less on respect for persons than on an equal distribution of contempt. Disgust, however, signals dangerous division. The high’s belief that the low actually smell bad, or are sources of pollution, seriously threatens democracy.

Miller argues that disgust is deeply grounded in our ambivalence to life: it distresses us that the fair is so fragile, so easily reduced to foulness, and that the foul may seem more than passing fair in certain slants of light. When we are disgusted, we are attempting to set bounds, to keep chaos at bay. Of course we fail. But, as Miller points out, our failure is hardly an occasion for despair, for disgust also helps to animate the world, and to make it a dangerous, magical, and exciting place.

Title: The Hazards of Urban Life in Late Stalinist Russia: Health, Hygiene, and Living Standards 1944-1953

Year: 2010

Author: Donald Filtzer

Goodreads

This is the first detailed study of the standard of living of ordinary Russians following World War II. It examines urban living conditions under the Stalinist regime with a focus on the key issues of sanitation, access to safe water supplies, personal hygiene and anti-epidemic controls, diet and nutrition, and infant mortality. Comparing five key industrial regions, it shows that living conditions still lagged some fifty years behind Western European norms. The book reveals that, despite this, the years preceding Stalin’s death saw dramatic improvements in mortality rates thanks to the application of rigorous public health controls and Western medical innovations. While tracing these changes, the book also analyzes the impact that the absence of an adequate urban infrastructure had on people’s daily lives and on the relationship between the Stalinist regime and the Russian people, and, finally, how the Soviet experience compared to that of earlier industrializing societies.

Title: Excrement in the Late Middle Ages: Sacred Filth and Chaucer’s Fecopoetics

Year: 2008

Author: Susan Signe Morrison

Goodreads

This interdisciplinary book intergrates the historical practices regarding material excrement and its symbolic representation, concluding that excrement is a moral and ethical category deserving scrutiny.

Title: The Influence of Student Health Services in American Society and Medicine

Year: 2007

Author: Heather Munro Prescott

Goodreads

Student Bodies is the first book to link developments in college health with larger trends in American cultural and medical history. This comprehensive and engrossing study describes the origins and development of health services at institutions of higher education in the United States from the early 1800s—when administrators sought to restrict habits “unfavorable to study and morality” such as drunkenness, gambling, and solicitation of prostitutes—to the present day as health professionals are called on to combat issues ranging from sexually transmitted diseases to depression to eating disorders. Drawing on a variety of primary sources, Professor Heather Munro Prescott examines the relationship between administrative regulation of “student bodies” and broader social-cultural views about young adults and their status in nineteenth- and twenty-first-century America.

Student Bodies explores many little-known but significant aspects of college health—including the importance of women’s colleges in the development of student care, the use of physical entrance examinations to deny admission to those with “undesirable” bodies, the sometimes controversial handling of health concerns specific to minority and LGBT students, and the rise and fall of in loco parentis. Prescott’s engaging and accessible style makes this guide a perfect choice for medical scholars and college administrators as well as anyone wishing to gain a better understanding of medical history, women’s health, and the history of college life in America.

Title: The Body Soviet: Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State

Year: 2009

Author: Tricia Starks

Goodreads

The Body Soviet is the first sustained investigation of the Bolshevik government’s early policies on hygiene and health care in general.”
—Louise McReynolds, author of Russia at Play: Leisure Activities at the End of the Tsarist Era

In 1918 the People’s Commissariat of Public Health began a quest to protect the health of all Soviet citizens, but health became more than a political platform or a tactical decision. The Soviets defined and categorized the world by interpreting political orthodoxy and citizenship in terms of hygiene. The assumed political, social, and cultural benefits of a regulated, healthy lifestyle informed the construction of Soviet institutions and identity. Cleanliness developed into a political statement that extended from domestic maintenance to leisure choices and revealed gender, ethnic, and class prejudices. Dirt denoted the past and poor politics; health and cleanliness signified mental acuity, political orthodoxy, and modernity.

Health, though essential to the revolutionary vision and crucial to Soviet plans for utopia, has been neglected by traditional histories caught up in Cold War debates. The Body Soviet recovers this significant aspect of Soviet thought by providing a cross-disciplinary, comparative history of Soviet health programs that draws upon rich sources of health care propaganda, including posters, plays, museum displays, films, and mock trials. The analysis of propaganda makes The Body Soviet more than an institutional history; it is also an insightful critique of the ideologies of the body fabricated by health organizations.

Title: Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo

Year: 1966

Author: Mary Douglas

Free book here

The line of inquiry in Purity and Danger traces the words and meaning of dirt in different contexts. What is regarded as dirt in a given society is any matter considered out of place. (Douglas took this lead from William James.) She attempted to clarify the differences between the sacred, the clean and the unclean in different societies and times. But this does not entail judging religions as pessimistic or optimistic in their understanding of purity or dirt—e.g., as dirt-affirming or otherwise. Through a complex and sophisticated reading of ritual, religion, and lifestyle, Douglas challenged Western ideas of pollution, making clear how the context and social history is essential.

As an example of this approach, Douglas first proposed that the kosher laws were not, as many believed, either primitive health regulations or randomly chosen as tests of the Israelites‘ commitment to God. Instead, Douglas argued that the laws were about symbolic boundary-maintenance. Prohibited foods were those that did not seem to fall neatly into any category. For example, pigs‘ place in the natural order was ambiguous because they shared the cloven hoof of the ungulates, but did not chew cud.

Later in a 2002 preface to Purity and Danger, Douglas went on to retract this explanation of the kosher rules, saying that it had been “a major mistake.” Instead, she proposed that “the dietary laws intricately model the body and the altar upon one another.” For instance, among land animals, Israelites were only allowed to eat animals that were also allowed to be sacrificed: animals that depend on herdsmen. Douglas concluded from this that animals that are abominable to eat are not in fact impure, but rather that “it is abominable to harm them.” She claimed that later interpreters (even later Biblical authors) had misunderstood this.

Title: The Dirt on Clean: An Unsanitized History

Year: 2009

Author: Katherine Ashenburg

Goodreads

The apparently routine task of taking up soap and water (or not) is Katherine Ashenburg’s starting point for a unique history of private life. Every age and culture was convinced that their version of cleanliness was the correct one, from the Roman who spent a few hours a day soaking in public baths of various temperatures to the 17th-century Frenchman who never touched water and believed he cleaned himself by changing into a fresh linen shirt. Our own over-deodorized world — where germophobes shake hands with their elbows and where sales of hand sanitizers, wipes and sprays are skyrocketing — is as extreme, and potentially unhealthy, as the 17th century. And, as with every other age, our definition of “clean” says much about us. Filled with amusing anecdotes and unexpected insights into our notions of privacy, health, individuality, religion and sexuality, The Dirt on Clean takes us on a journey that is by turns intriguing, startling, humorous — and not always for the squeamish.

The apparently routine task of taking up soap and water (or not) is Katherine Ashenburg’s starting point for a unique exploration of Western culture, which yields surprising insights into our notions of privacy, health, individuality, religion and sexuality.

Ashenburg searches for clean and dirty in plague-ridden streets, medieval steam baths, castles and tenements, and in bathrooms of every description. She reveals the bizarre rescriptions of history’s doctors as well as the hygienic peccadilloes of kings, mistresses, monks and ordinary citizens, and guides us through the twists and turns to our own understanding of clean, which is no more rational than the rest. Ashenburg’s tour of history’s baths and bathrooms reveals much about our changing and most intimate selves — what we desire, what we ignore, what we fear, and a significant part of who we are.

Title: Dust: A History of the Small & The Invisible

Year: 2001

Author: Joseph A. Amato

Goodreads

While the story of the big has often been told, the story of the small has not yet even been outlined. With Dust, Joseph Amato enthralls the reader with the first history of the small and the invisible. Dust is a poetic meditation on how dust has been experienced and the small has been imagined across the ages. Examining a thousand years of Western civilization—from the naturalism of medieval philosophy, to the artistry of the Renaissance, to the scientific and industrial revolutions, to the modern worlds of nanotechnology and viral diseases—Dust offers a savvy story of the genesis of the microcosm.

Dust, which fills the deepest recesses of space, pervades all earthly things. Throughout the ages it has been the smallest yet the most common element of everyday life. Of all small things, dust has been the most minute particulate the eye sees and the hand touches. Indeed, until this century, dust was simply accepted as a fundamental condition of life; like darkness, it marked the boundary between the seen and the unseen.

With the full advent of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and social control, dust has been partitioned, dissected, manipulated, and even invented. In place of traditional and generic dust, a highly diverse particulate has been discovered and examined. Like so much else that was once considered minute, dust has been magnified by the twentieth-century transformations of our conception of the small. These transformations—which took form in the laboratory through images of atoms, molecules, cells, and microbes—defined anew not only dust and the physical world but also the human body and mind. Amato dazzles the reader with his account of how this powerful microcosm challenges the imagination to grasp the magnitude of the small, and the infinity of the finite.

Title: Hygiene: A Critical History of Colonialism, Nationalism and Public Health

Year: 2004

Author: Alison Bashford

Goodreads

This is a cultural history of borders, hygiene and race. It is about foreign bodies, from Victorian Vaccines to the pathologized interwar immigrant, from smallpox quarantine to the leper colony, from sexual hygiene to national hygiene to imperial hygiene. Taking British colonialism and White Australia as case studies, the book examines public health as spatialized biopolitical governance between 1850 and 1950. Colonial management of race dovetailed with public health into new boundaries of rule, into racialised cordons sanitaires.

Title: Imagining Contagion in Early Modern Europe

Year: 2005

Edited by Claire L Carlin

Goodreads

The ideological underpinnings of early modern theories of contagion are dissected in this volume by an integrated team of literary scholars, cultural historians, historians of medicine and art historians. Even today, the spread of disease inspires moralizing discourse and the ostracism of groups thought responsible for contagion; the fear of illness and the desire to make sense of it are demonstrated in the current preoccupation with HIV, SARS, ‘mad cow’ disease, West Nile virus and avian flu, to cite but a few contemporary examples. Imagining Contagion in Early Modern Europe explores the nature of understanding when humanity is faced with threats to its well-being, if not to its very survival.

Title: The Gothic Body: Sexuality, Materialism, and Degeneration at the Fin de Siècle (Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture)

Year: 1997

Author: Kelly Hurley

Goodreads

This book accounts for the resurgence of Gothic, and its immense popularity, during the British fin de siècle. In particular, Kelly Hurley explores a key scenario that haunts the genre: the loss of a unified and stable human identity, and the emergence of a chaotic and transformative ‘abhuman’ identity in its place. Gothic is revealed as a highly productive and speculative genre, strongly indebted to nineteenth-century scientific, medical and social theories, including evolutionism, criminal anthropology and degeneration theory.

Title: Disgust: Theory and History of a Strong Senstation

Year: 2003

Author: Winfried Menninghaus

Goodreads

Disgust (Ekel, dégoût) is a state of high alert. It acutely says “no” to a variety of phenomena that seemingly threaten the integrity of the self, if not its very existence. A counterpart to the feelings of appetite, desire, and love, it allows at the same time for an acting out of hidden impulses and libidinal drives.

In Disgust, Winfried Menninghaus provides a comprehensive account of the significance of this forceful emotion in philosophy, aesthetics, literature, the arts, psychoanalysis, and theory of culture from the eighteenth century to the present. Topics addressed include the role of disgust as both a cognitive and moral organon in Kant and Nietzsche; the history of the imagination of the rotting corpse; the counter-cathexis of the disgusting in Romantic poetics and its modernist appeal ever since; the affinities of disgust and laughter and the analogies of vomiting and writing; the foundation of Freudian psychoanalysis in a theory of disgusting pleasures and practices; the association of disgusting “otherness” with truth and the trans-symbolic “real” in Bataille, Sartre, and Kristeva; Kafka’s self-representation as an “Angel” of disgusting smells and acts, concealed in a writerly stance of uncompromising “purity”; and recent debates on “Abject Art.”

Title: Dirt, Undress, and Difference: Critical Perspectives on the Body’s Surface

Year: 2005

Edited by Adeline Masquelier

Goodreads

“A magnificent volume! It offers brand new perspectives on body politics and identity or subjectivity formation in the post-colonial world.” ―Dorothy Ko, Barnard College

While there is widespread interest in dress and hygiene as vehicles of cultural, moral, and political value, little scholarly attention has been paid to cross-cultural understandings of dirt and undress, despite their equally important role in the fashioning of identity and difference. The essays in this absorbing and thought-provoking collection contribute new insights into the neglected topics of bodily treatments and transgressions. In detailed ethnographic studies from around the world, the contributors recast assumptions about filth and nakedness, exploring how various forms of transgression associated with the body’s surface are drawn up into relations of power and inequality. They demonstrate imaginatively how body surfaces are powerfully mobilized in the making and unmaking of moral worlds.

Title: Contagion and State in Europe 1830-1930

Year: 2005

Author: Peter Baldwin

Goodreads

This book explains the historical reasons for the divergence in public health policies adopted in Britain, France, Germany and Sweden, and the spectrum of responses to the threat of contagious diseases such as cholera, smallpox and syphilis. In particular the book examines the link between politics and prevention, and uses medical history to illuminate broader questions of the development of statutory intervention and the comparative and divergent evolution of the modern state in Europe.

Title: Contagion and Chaos: Disease, Ecology, and National Security in the Era of Globalization

Year: 2009

Author: Andrew T. Price-Smith 

Goodreads

An analysis of infectious disease as a threat to national security that examines the destabilizing effects of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, SARS, and Mad Cow Disease.

Historians from Thucydides to William McNeill have pointed to the connections between disease and civil society. Political scientists have investigated the relationship of public health to governance, introducing the concept of health security. In Contagion and Chaos, Andrew Price-Smith offers the most comprehensive examination yet of disease through the lens of national security. Extending the analysis presented in his earlier book The Health of Nations, Price-Smith argues that epidemic disease represents a direct threat to the power of a state, eroding prosperity and destabilizing both its internal politics and its relationships with other states. He contends that the danger of an infectious pathogen to national security depends on lethality, transmissability, fear, and economic damage. Moreover, warfare and ecological change contribute to the spread of disease and act as “disease amplifiers.”

Price-Smith presents a series of case studies to illustrate his argument: the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-19 (about which he advances the controversial claim that the epidemic contributed to the defeat of Germany and Austria); HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa (he contrasts the worst-case scenario of Zimbabwe with the more stable Botswana); bovine spongiform encephalopathy (also known as mad cow disease); and the SARS contagion of 2002-03. Emerging infectious disease continues to present a threat to national and international security, Price-Smith argues, and globalization and ecological change only accelerate the danger.

Title: Clean: a history of personal hygiene and purity

Year: 2008

Author: Virginia Smith

Goodreads

In this pioneering book, Virginia Smith combines archeology, psychology, biology, and sociology to reveal how and why standards of cleanliness have come to exist today. Using hundreds of first-hand accounts and sources, Smith bring us from the Neolithic age to the present, peppering her engaging prose with enlightening and often surprising details.

Subconscious cleanliness has been with us since the first cell ejected a foreign invader. Even at the earliest stages of human development, our bodies produced pleasure-giving chemical opiates when things smelled or felt clean, inducing us to do things like bathing and removing dirty clothes. The need to be clean led directly to socialization, as we turned to our fellows for help with those hard to reach spots. In Eurasia during the Bronze Age, an emerging hierarchy of wealthy elites turned their love of grooming into an explosion of the cosmetic and luxury goods industry, greatly effecting the culture and economy of a vast area and leading to advances in chemistry and medicine.
The history that follows, from Greece and Rome, where citizens focused much of their leisure time on perfecting, bathing, or just writing about the model athletic body, through Europe in the middle ages and the following centuries, is full of intriguing customs, convoluted treatises, and many reversals. Baths were good for you, baths were bad for you, baths were good again–but only if they were quite cold. Even the enlightened medical knowledge of modern times could not stop an onslaught of health remedies, treatments, spas, and New Age nature cures that were to follow. While today we are immeasurably closer–perhaps too close–to knowing just what “clean” means to our bodies, we are still just as far as we ever were on agreeing what it means to our souls.

Title: Contagion: Historical and Cultural Studies

Year: 2002

Author: Alison Bashford (Author), Claire Hooker 

Goodreads

In the age of HIV, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the Ebola Virus and BSE, metaphors and experience of contagion are a central concern of government, biomedicine and popular culture.

Contagion explores cultural responses of infectious diseases and their biomedical management over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also investigates the use of ‘contagion’ as a concept in postmodern reconceptualisations of embodied subjectivity.

The essays are written from within the fields of cultural studies, biomedical history and critical sociology. The contributors examine the geographies, policies and identities which have been produced in the massive social effort to contain diseases. They explore both social responses to infectious diseases in the past, and contemporary theoretical and biomedical sites for the study of contagion.

Title: Virality: Contagion Theory in the Age of Networks

Year: 2012

Author: Tony D. Sampson

Goodreads

In this thought-provoking work, Tony D. Sampson presents a contagion theory fit for the age of networks. Unlike memes and microbial contagions, Virality does not restrict itself to biological analogies and medical metaphors. It instead points toward a theory of contagious assemblages, events, and affects. For Sampson, contagion is not necessarily a positive or negative force of encounter; it is how society comes together and relates.

Sampson argues that a biological knowledge of contagion has been universally distributed by way of the rhetoric of fear used in the antivirus industry and other popular discourses surrounding network culture. This awareness is also detectable in concerns over too much connectivity, such as problems of global financial crisis and terrorism. Sampson’s “virality” is as established as that of the biological meme and microbe but is not understood through representational thinking expressed in metaphors and analogies. Rather, Sampson interprets contagion theory through the social relationalities first established in Gabriel Tarde’s microsociology and subsequently recognized in Gilles Deleuze’s ontological worldview.

According to Sampson, the reliance on representational thinking to explain the social behavior of networking—including that engaged in by nonhumans such as computers—allows language to overcategorize and limit analysis by imposing identities, oppositions, and resemblances on contagious phenomena. It is the power of these categories that impinges on social and cultural domains. Assemblage theory, on the other hand, is all about relationality and encounter, helping us to understand the viral as a positively sociological event, building from the molecular outward, long before it becomes biological.


Title: Slime Dynamics: Generation, Mutation, and the Creep of Life

Year: 2012

Author: Ben Woodard

Goodreads

Despite humanity’s gradual ascent from clustered pools of it, slime is more often than not relegated to a mere residue—the trail of a verminous life form, the trace of decomposition, or an entertaining synthetic material—thereby leaving its generative and mutative associations with life neatly removed from the human sphere of thought and existence. Arguing that slime is a viable physical and metaphysical object necessary to produce a realist bio-philosophy void of anthrocentricity, this text explores naturephilosophie, speculative realism, and contemporary science; hyperbolic representations of slime found in the weird texts of HP Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti; as well as survival horror films, video games, and graphic novels, in order to present the dynamics of slime not only as the trace of life but as the darkly vitalistic substance of life.

Title: Confluences of Medicine in Medieval Japan: Buddhist Healing, Chinese Knowledge, Islamic Formulas, and Wounds of War

Year: 2011

Author: Andrew Edmund Goble

Goodreads

Confluences of Medicine is the first book-length exploration in English of issues of medicine and society in premodern Japan. This multifaceted study weaves a rich tapestry of Buddhist healing practices, Chinese medical knowledge, Asian pharmaceuticals, and Islamic formulas as it elucidates their appropriation and integration into medieval Japanese medicine. It expands the parameters of the study of medicine in East Asia, which to date has focused on the subject in individual countries, and introduces the dynamics of interaction and exchange that coursed through the East Asian macro-culture.

The book explores these themes primarily through the two extant works of the Buddhist priest and clinical physician Kajiwara Shozen (1265-1337), who was active at the medical facility housed at Gokurakuji temple in Kamakura, the capital of Japan’s first warrior government. With access to large numbers of printed Song medical texts and a wide range of materia medica from as far away as the Middle East, Shozen was a beneficiary of the efflorescence of trade and exchange across the East China Sea that typifies this era. His break with the restrictions of Japanese medicine is revealed in Ton’isho (Book of the simple physician) and Man’apo (Myriad relief formulas). Both of these texts are landmarks: the former being the first work written in Japanese for a popular audience; the latter, the most extensive Japanese medical work prior to the seventeenth century.

Confluences of Medicine brings to the fore the range of factors–networks of Buddhist priests, institutional support, availability of materials, relevance of overseas knowledge to local conditions of domestic strife, and serendipity–that influenced the Japanese acquisition of Chinese medical information. It offers the first substantive portrait of the impact of the Song printing revolution in medieval Japan and provides a rare glimpse of Chinese medicine as it was understood outside of China. It is further distinguished by its attention to materia medica and medicinal formulas and to the challenges of technical translation and technological transfer in the reception and incorporation of a new pharmaceutical regime.

Title: The Medieval Islamic Hospital: Medicine, Religion, and Charity

Year: 2015

Author: Ahmed Ragab

Goodreads

The first monograph on the history of Islamic hospitals, this volume focuses on the under-examined Egyptian and Levantine institutions of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. By the twelfth century, hospitals serving the sick and the poor could be found in nearly every Islamic city. Ahmed Ragab traces the varying origins and development of these institutions, locating them in their urban environments and linking them to charity networks and patrons’ political projects. Following the paths of patients inside hospital wards, he investigates who they were and what kinds of experiences they had. The Medieval Islamic Hospital explores the medical networks surrounding early hospitals and sheds light on the particular brand of practice-oriented medicine they helped to develop. Providing a detailed picture of the effect of religion on medieval medicine, it will be essential reading for those interested in history of medicine, history of Islamic sciences, or history of the Mediterranean.

Title: The Wild Life of Our Bodies: Predators, Parasites, and Partners That Shape Who We Are Today

Year: 2011

Author: Robert Dunn

Goodreads

“An extraordinary book…. With clarity and charm [Dunn] takes the reader into the overlap of medicine, ecology, and evolutionary biology to reveal an important domain of the human condition.” —Edward O. Wilson, author of Anthilland The Future of Life

Biologist Rob Dunn reveals the crucial influence that other species have upon our health, our well-being, and our world in The Wild Life of Our Bodies—a fascinating tour through the hidden truths of nature and codependence. Dunn illuminates the nuanced, often imperceptible relationships that exist between homo sapiens and other species, relationships that underpin humanity’s ability to thrive and prosper in every circumstance. Readers of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma will be enthralled by Dunn’s powerful, lucid exploration of the role that humankind plays within the greater web of life on Earth. 

Title: Spillover – Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic

Year: 2012

Author: David Quammen

Goodreads

Ebola, SARS, Hendra, AIDS, and countless other deadly viruses all have one thing in common: the bugs that transmit these diseases all originate in wild animals and pass to humans by a process called spillover. In this gripping account, David Quammen takes the reader along on this astonishing quest to learn how, where from, and why these diseases emerge and asks the terrifying question: What might the next big one be?

Title: A Manufactured Plague: The History of Foot and Mouth Disease in Britain

Year: 2004

Author: Abigail Woods

Goodreads

Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is currently regarded as one of the world’s worst animal plagues. But how did this label become attached to a curable disease that poses little threat to human health? And why, in the epidemic of 2001, did the government’s control strategy still rely upon Victorian trade restrictions and mass slaughter? This groundbreaking and well-researched book shows that, for over a century, FMD has brought fear, tragedy and sorrow- damaging businesses and affecting international relations. Yet these effects were neither inevitable nor caused by FMD itself but were, rather, the product of the legislation used to control it, and in this sense FMD is a ‘manufactured’ plague rather than a natural one. A Manufactured Plague turns the spotlight on this process of manufacture, revealing a rich history beset by controversy, in which party politics, class relations, veterinary ambitions, agricultural practices, the priorities of farming and the meat trade, fears for national security and scientific progress all made FMD what it is today.

Title: Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Infectious Disease, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science

Year: 2016

Author: Rob Wallace

Goodreads

Thanks to breakthroughs in production and food science, agribusiness has been able to devise new ways to grow more food and get it more places more quickly. There is no shortage of news items on hundreds of thousands of hybrid poultry – each animal genetically identical to the next – packed together in megabarns, grown out in a matter of months, then slaughtered, processed and shipped to the other side of the globe. Less well known are the deadly pathogens mutating in, and emerging out of, these specialized agro-environments. In fact, many of the most dangerous new diseases in humans can be traced back to such food systems, among them Campylobacter, Nipah virus, Q fever, hepatitis E, and a variety of novel influenza variants.

                Agribusiness has known for decades that packing thousands of birds or livestock together results in a monoculture that selects for such disease. But market economics doesn’t punish the companies for growing Big Flu – it punishes animals, the environment, consumers, and contract farmers. Alongside growing profits, diseases are permitted to emerge, evolve, and spread with little check. “That is,” writes evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace, “it pays to produce a pathogen that could kill a billion people.”

                In Big Farms Make Big Flu, a collection of dispatches by turns harrowing and thought-provoking, Wallace tracks the ways influenza and other pathogens emerge from an agriculture controlled by multinational corporations. Wallace details, with a precise and radical wit, the latest in the science of agricultural epidemiology, while at the same time juxtaposing ghastly phenomena such as attempts at producing featherless chickens, microbial time travel, and neoliberal Ebola. Wallace also offers sensible alternatives to lethal agribusiness. Some, such as farming cooperatives, integrated pathogen management, and mixed crop-livestock systems, are already in practice off the agribusiness grid.               

While many books cover facets of food or outbreaks, Wallace’s collection appears the first to explore infectious disease, agriculture, economics and the nature of science together. Big Farms Make Big Flu integrates the political economies of disease and science to derive a new understanding of the evolution of infections. Highly capitalized agriculture may be farming pathogens as much as chickens or corn.

1493 – PLUTONICS: A Journal of Non-Standard Theory (2020)

Plutonics: A Journal of Non-Standard Theory is an open-access, sporadically published journal of contemporary theory. Coming from the geological term “plutonic” (which is, in turn, derived from the Roman God of the underworld, Pluto), meaning igneous rocks formed from deep geologic trauma and left to cool for thousands of years, often with traces of rare and weird metals, Plutonics aims to publish cutting edge theory that has no place within the ‘academy.’ With no real guiding thread but the Weird, we accept submissions from all disciplines (see more information) and actively encourage mixtures of philosophy, ‘hard’ science, poetry, visual arts, and other less-than standard forms of thought.

Vol XIII Contents
Vol XIII Contents

While there have been 12 published volumes of Plutonics, they have, sadly, been lost since The Event and although we are working on reconstructing them, this most recent run was started at the numeracilogically significant 13th volume. If you have any details regarding the existence of previous volumes, please contact us immediately.

Our review board is made up of geo-physicalists, philosophers, anorganic semoticians, structural bi0logists, and authors of the Weird and strange. When necessary, we commune with the ghosts of thinkers past to ask for guidance.

Following the general theme, or rather lack thereof, the journal accepts all types of submissions ranging from hard-nosed philosophic ramblings, to poetic musings on what it’s like to live without a spine. For those wanting concrete suggestions of what to submit, here is what one former editor suggested:

  • ‘Serious’ engagement with the CCRU
  • Deleuzian Beat Poetry
  • Dolorous meditations on the anthropocene
  • First-person accounts of philosophical epiphanies
  • Self-help/Esoteric works
  • Visual depictions of your communion with the Outside
  • Meldings of Deleuze and Guattari with contemporary astro-physics
  • Revivals of ‘disproven’ scientific theories
  • Esoteric Posadism
  • Etc.

From their submission page:

We welcome any and all submissions ranging from ‘rigorous’ theoretical thinking to erotic short stories to video games to artwork to anything else. 

General Guidelines:

  • Written works should be somewhere between 1,000 and 5,000 words, but this is a malleable rule.
  • To aid in editing, we prefer that citations be formatted in Chicago Notes style (with an optional bibliography if notes do not contain complete information).
  • Ideal file formats are .doc(x), .png., .jpg, but if you have alternative ideas, we can integrate those.
  • Please include a 1-100 word biography (can include social media links, blogs, etc.).

1489 – Flight of Dragons (1982)

Flight of Dragons was a Japanese-US co-production 982 long feature animated fantasy film produced and directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin, Jr. (of The Hobbit and other 70s 80s animations).

There is a deeply personal connection with this animation and its cheesy song bring back dead media memories. This being one of the illegal VHS tapes I watched as an enthralled kid with Andrei Ciubotaru my high school friend (artist and art teacher now) and few others in 80s Romania. Pirated VHS where the only way to get such material, or via neighboring countries TV station depending where you were (Serbia, Hungary or in my case Bulgaria). Most of these VHS were dubbed by one single person – film critic Irina Nistor who did voices for all characters and for hundreds if not thousands tapes. This one was a rare EN copy.

Apart from being a childhood artefact it still stands the test of time for me. It is one of the great animations of the 80s and has this strange bizarre effect of mediated arrival via a winded move; a hybrid of US based D & D material content drawn by the top of the art blooming Japanese anime industry of the times.

It is also interesting in other regards. It is a animation based on a speculative evolution book from 1979 by Peter Dickinson with the same name, inspired itself by the speculative biology theories developed inside the Earthsea Cycle by Ursula K LeGuin (1968-2001), who I didn’t know much about at the time.

It is a sort of scientific explanation (or pseudo-scientific, take it how you want) that naturalizes these mythical monsters – the dragons. All those probable explanation of the dragon physiology, metabolism and chemical peculiarities (such as the hydrochloric acid thesis) from the movie are all present in this earlier book. The impetus to rationalize or to give scientific importance to various legendary, fables or superstitions may seem naive or misleading but I think there is great merit to that. Not only does it blur otherwise highly patrolled borders around what is a proper object of science but it also shows the deep interplay btw science, occultism, alchemy and Enlightenment. It also show that fictions have becoming shaping forces on their own, no matter if false of true, they are living their imprint on the world we live in. There is also the point of the peculiar history of the history science itself, especially the Scientific Revolution in its hermetic or esoteric threads. Thinking here of Frances Yates books in particular but also about the admirable work done by Erik Davis in his new book High Weirdness and at https://techgnosis.com/ in widening and following a fertile mutual interplay. A particularity of the animation is its emphasis on magic rather than religion or even sorcery.

The Flight of Dragons could not be more actual than nowdays in an age where flat earthers and hollow earthers and neo-barbarians co-exist with Netflix and where fictions and in particular, seemingly fringe creepy pasta fictions have definitely a life of their own. When the fringe is center stage, one is now aware both of the magical powers of science and of the “meme magic” (the infamous #memewarfare or CCRU hyperstitions), and more disturbingly of the big exploitable reservoirs and operational powers of online and offline hate. Otherwise it is an early example of D & D and plays on the fact that it is all a big animated board game. This fact reappears several time during the movie. Once played by the former scientist P. Dickinson and game board designer that actually plays the movie characters in a pawn shop setting were with the owner trying to get him to invest in his new gaming enterprise. Another time it is Ommadon himself, the dark wizzard that uses it as surveillance technology, like Sauron, monitoring the various characters in their moves towards his domain. It is never clear who is playing who and who is being written by whom – as much as thethe animated character Dickinson seems to be precisely the author f thethe dragon speculative evolution book.

I will focus on a few incredible moments from this animation. The first is the setting of a (board game) meeting of the ruling multicultural wizzards and their panic response; Carlinus the Green Wizzard (power of life, growth, everything green), Solaris the Blue Wizzard (sea, heavens) and Golden Wizard Lo Tae Zhao(ether, light) and Ommadon (black magic and evil) to discuss the need to protect and basically make invisible the magical realm. It is basically deterritorialization and reterritorialization in action. In particular this disenchantment manifests itself in an eco-primitivist context, the water wheels of particular nasty bunch of humans (looking more like goblins) kills a swan that is revived by Carolinus. To be honest I also get the slight feel of a sort of white collar vs working class polluters going on, but it is just me maybe. The aim is to protect this fantasy world from (guess what) Entzauberung aka the encroaching rationalism of Science and Technology that starts to limit, actively debunk and eliminate magic.

Here something happens that sort breaks the magic alliance – Ommadon is pretty sure that the palliative, pacifist and protectionist methods of the three other wizzards are doomed in the face of relentless progress. Here he exhibits a ruthless proto- accelerationist plan: to turn humans against themselves, to use hate, and the vicious destructive power of machinery to annihilate forests and thus human life support systems as such. Also capital in the form of accumulation and greed seems to be part of Ommadon’s answer to the challenge posed by progress to magic.

At the face of these, the three ‘good’ wizards resort to an apparently self-defeating tactic, they recruit a human from the future. It is probably exactly the opposite as the first Terminator. But then the anachronism works, not only does a Yank at King Arthur’s court miraculously solve medieval problems but he is actually more susceptible to the charm or lost magic, more retro, more into princesses like Melisande and unreal dragons. We could go endlessly on, with the end fact being that the modern skeptic is somehow enchanted with (also very modern) love in the end- the most powerful of magic that keeps him connected with the magic realms. There is a bit of Luceafarul material in there too. They bring somebody disenchanted with science and the dryness of it all – an escapist but with a science background to smuggle him to their world and make him start a quest against Ommadon. This is indeed the fulcrum of their argument – that he can be re-enchanted by what just seem his to own game creations which are in fact somehow ‘real’ and consequaential, make him part of an existing fragile world that needs his help.

Second spoiler moment and one of my favorites is the final confrontation, where everything seems lost and all the various allies (a wolf, a knight, archer, dwarf etc) are being killed by the evil dragon Bryagh in a desperate final battle. In the end only Peter, the nerd, geek and scientist faces the immensely more-than-human inhuman Ommadon that aims to squash all opposition. Here comes science into play – as counter spell against the evil black magic. Astronomy, particle physics and Einsteinian relativity theory formulas are being deployed and invoked exactly like magical spells, as ways to mercilessly dispel and even mock the darkest of the darkest magic. In the effect, while actually accomplishing what the good wizzards feared most, they also show the peculiar new magic of science that is as deeply operational as magic is supposed to have been even more so.

Lastly, not to be ignored is the fact that Peter’s mind is being transferred into the body of a dragon. In the beginning he is just cosplaying a young knight in a quest, then things go terribly wrong (or perfect depending on who is who). I consider this one of the greatest episodes in any speculative fiction – be it film, books or animation. It posits the fact that there is some mutual discomfort, that his mind and all its knowledge is not just being uploaded into another imaginary body. It does not even matter if it is an imaginary body or not, and this is the high speculative tenor of it. This body is actually quite substantial, it does work – it is a fire breathing, gas belching, flying dragon by the name of Gorbash. Gorbash is not gone, he actually sleeps inside the same head. You will have to discover the details of this unwanted body swap. This is a great experiment in dragon embodiment. It is not enough to write, to think and love dragons, one should also feel dragon, one should also switch places with them and see things from their perspective.

Suffice to say that Peter is thus forced to explore ‘scientifically’ the peculiarities of his new (actually Gorbash’s) body. This has all sorts of unintended consequences, including how the others perceive him, befriend him or not or how he learns from the old dragon to be a dragon or the fact that he has still to master and practice his fire metabolism and hone his flying skills. Being a brainy does not help in this case, his geeky mind is still actually relatively harmless in the most terrifying body of all. He is basically almost learning like a person who had a stroke – how to move, what and when to eat, and how know it’d strengths amd weaknesses, how to handle the various compartments of his body.

1487 – kurzgesagt – In A Nutshell: Why Blue Whales Don’t Get Cancer – Peto’s Paradox (2020)

kurzegsagt (In a Nutshell in German) started as a collaboration btw German ZDF and ARD broadcasters 10 minute or more popularization animations using Illustrator and After Effects.

Be it philosophy, biology, cosmos or Fermi’s Paradox/Big Filters, lots of grand Sci-Fi ideas… or Ant Mega Colonies – their incredibly mindfuck, cartoonish, eye-catchy, poppy, gamified, infotainment, kawaii aesthetics, fast-paced & up-to-date style never gets in the way of explanatory powa, complexity or tackling speculative heavy duty topics. Their’s is a constant wobble of smiley faced cosmic pessimism. One of my favorite YouTube Channels (rapidly to become yours too I bet) although (BIG WARNING) must be said that most biomedical videos are supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation which should keep us vigilant. Sadly a lot of technological biomedical and epidemiologic knowledge is being funneled or sponsored and influenced by philanthropocapitalists.

Here is the original in German (DE)

And here is the English Youtube version (EN)

“Videos explaining things with optimistic nihilism.

We are a small team who want to make science look beautiful. Because it is beautiful. Currently we make one animation video per month. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook to get notified when a new one comes out. (YouTube Channel description)