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Taking Our Pulse: Promises and Pitfalls of Modern Medicine.

Special Sessions Track Comes to Southern Festival of Books

Humanities Tennessee and the Robert penn Warren Center for the Humanities at Vanderbilt University are pleased to present a series of sessions at the 2013 Southern Festival of Books: A Celebration of the Written Word entitled Taking Our Pulse: Promises and Pitfalls of Modern Medicine

These sessions will explore such topics as health care policy, genetics, and mental health, as well as family and community relationships and their roles in our individual and collective health. We hope that attendees to these sessions will come away with a deeper understanding of the complexity of the national health care conversation, of advances in medicine that chart new paths, and of the itnerconnected worlds of medicine and of the humanities. 

Thanks to the Center for Medicine, Health and Society at Vanderbilt University for support of this program. 

The sessions are as follows:

Friday, October 11th

12:00-1:00pm. Library Auditorium, Nashville Public Library
Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Susannah Cahalan is a news reporter at the New York Post whose award-winning work has also been featured in The New York Times. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

4:00-5:00pm. Room 30, Legislative Plaza, downtown Nashville
Rachel in the World: A Memoir
Jane Bernstein, a professor of English and creative writing at Carnegie Mellon University, is the author of Loving Rachel: A Family's Journey from Grief, Bereft- A Sister's Story, and other books. 

Saturday, October 12

11:00-12:00pm. Conference Room 1A, Nashville Public Library
Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death
Katy Butler's articles have appeared in The New YorkerThe Best American Science WritingThe Best American Essays, and The Best Buddhist Writing. Her piece for the New York Times Magazine, "What Broke My Father's Heart," won the Science in Society Award from the National Association of Science Writers. 

1:00-2:00pm. Conference Room 1A, Nashville Public Library
God's Hotel: A Doctor, a Hospital, and a Pilgrimage to the Heart of Medicine
Dr. Victoria Sweet has been a physician at San Francisco's Laguna Honda Hospital for more than twenty years. An associate clinical professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco, she is also a prizewinning historian with a Ph.D. in history and social medicine. 

2:30-3:30pm. Room 31, Legislative Plaza, downtown Nashville
Telling Genes: The story of Genetic Counseling in America
Alexandra Stern is the Zina Pitcher Collegiate Professor in the History of Medicine, associate director of the Center for the History of Medicine, and a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, history, and American culture at the University of Michigan.

3:30-4:30pm. Conference Room 1B, Nashville Public Library
Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care Reform
Paul Starr is professor of sociology and public affairs, Princeton University, and cofounder and coeditor of The American Prospect. His 1984 book The Social Transformation of American Medicine won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history. A senior advisor on health policy in the Clinton White House, he writes frequently on national politics.

Sunday, October 13

12:00-1:30pm. Conference Room 1A, Nashville Public Library
Prognosis American: Mental Health at Home and Abroad
Dr. Allen Frances is a clinician, educator, and researcher, and leading authority on psychiatric diagnosis. He is Professor Emertus and former Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and behavioral Sciences at Duke University. Book: Saving Normal: An Insider's Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life
Kenneth MacLeish is assistant professor of medicine, health, and society at Vanderbilt University. Book: Making War at Fort Hood: Life and Uncertainty in a Military Community
Ethan Watters authored Urban Tribes, an examination of the mores of affluent "never marrieds" and Making Monsters, a groundbreaking indictment of the recovered memory movement. Book: Crazy Like Us: The Globalization of the American Psyche

2:00-3:00pm. Room 30, Legislative Plaza, downtown Nashville
Permanent Present Tense: The Unforgettable Life of the Amnesic Patient, H.M.
Suzanne Corkin is Professor of Neuroscience, Emerita, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Co-editor of nine books and author of numerous scientific publications, Corkin lives in Charlestown, Massachusetts.

3:30-4:00pm. Conference Room 1A, Nashville Public Library
The Material Gene: Gender, Race and Heredity after the Human Genome Project
Kelly Happe is Assistant Professor of Communication Studies and Women's Studies at the University of Georgia.