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2019 | If Our Bodies Could Talk

if our bodies could talk announcement graphic

The 2019 UAS One Campus, One Book selection is If Our Bodies Could Talk: a guide to operating and maintaining a human body by James Hamblin.

About the Book

In 2014, James Hamblin launched a series of short-form videos for The Atlantic called "If Our Bodies Could Talk."  With it, the doctor-turned-journalist established himself as a seriously entertaining authority in the field of health.

Now, in illuminating and genuinely funny prose, Hamblin explores the human stories behind health questions that never seem to go away—and which tend to be mischaracterized and oversimplified by marketing and news media.  He covers topics such as sleep, aging, diet, and much more. Hamblin draws from his own medical training as well from hundreds of interviews with distinguished scientists and medical practitioners. He translates the (traditionally boring) textbook of human anatomy and physiology into accessible, engaging, socially contextualized, up-to-the-moment answers. They offer clarity, examine the limits of our certainty, and ultimately help readers worry less about things that don’t really matter.  If Our Bodies Could Talk is a comprehensive, illustrated guide that entertains and educates in equal doses.

In 2012, Hamblin went on leave from a radiology residency at UCLA to take a job as editor of the health section of The Atlantic’s digital magazine.  He describes the reasoning behind this seemingly reckless decision in the book’s prologue.

“I justified leaving a very stable, lucrative career for a very unstable industry by the fact that there are not enough science journalists or doctors working in public health.  I wanted to have an impact on the roots of problems more than the symptoms, to question the textbooks rather than memorize them, and, ideally, to make people laugh. Journalism allows me to have some hand in public scientific literacy, and that might be, I mean to suggest with this book, the most valuable tool in pursuing health and happiness.  I’ve yet to regret my decision for any extended period of time.”

Our invited speaker is James Hamblin, MD.  Hamblin is a staff writer at The Atlantic and provides off-beat perspectives on health topics in the video series "If Our Bodies Could Talk."  Hamblin will visit UAS in Fall 2019 [TBA] to meet with students and provide a keynote during the Evening at Egan lecture series.    

“If you want to understand the strange workings of the human body, and the future of medicine, you must read this illuminating, engaging book.” --Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Gene.

Events details will be announced here as they are available.


About James Hamblin |Physician, Journalist

 

Hamblin is a writer and senior editor at The Atlantic. He hosts the video series If Our Bodies Could Talk, for which he was a finalist in the Webby awards for Best Web Personality. He is a past Yale University Poynter Fellow in journalism, and he has lectured at Harvard Medical School, Wharton Business School, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and SXSW, among others.

His writing and videos have been featured in The New York Times, Politico, NPR, The Guardian, Elle, Mother Jones, The Washington Post, The Awl, The Los Angeles Times, and Marketplace, among others. Time named him among the 140 people to follow on Twitter, Greatist named him among the most influential people in health media, and BuzzFeed called him "the most delightful MD ever," though he is not as delightful as William Carlos Williams.

After medical school at Indiana University, he did three years of residency before joining The Atlantic to develop a health section and write. More on that at Columbia Journalism Review, The Washington Post, Journal of the American College of Radiology, and Politico.

 

Some events will be broadcasted through selected services. 

2019 If Our Bodies Could Talk  

If you are considering using If Our Bodies Could Talk in your class, would like to contribute curriculur resources or are interested in serving on the Planning and Selection Committee please send an email to ocob@uas.alaska.edu. We may also have desk/review copies available.  

Consider using these resources for approaching this year's themes: challenging definitions of normalcy and health.  This page will be updated regularly and features a bibliography of complimentary books and discussion themes by discipline to compliment this year's selection and provide alternate sources for discussion in academic classes.    

Classroom and Discussion Resources Coming Soon

One Campus, One Book is the common reading program at UAS-Juneau.  It's a celebration of literature and the relationships and communities that develop between readers and writers.  Discussing a common book can also provide a safe venue for beginning difficult dialogues.  The program grew out of the Student Success Forum with the goal of helping foster community and compassion on campus.  The program's first year (2010) featured David Issay's Listening is an Act of Love and a corresponding campus oral history project ( The UAS Listening Project) collected the stories of students, faculty and staff.   In 2012 the program was formalized as a program of the Egan Library, a selection committee established and in 2013 these program goals and criteria were adopted.  

Goals:  

The UAS One Campus, One Book program will:

  • Begin an exploration of interdisciplinary approaches
  • Create opportunities for learning in and out of the classroom.
  • Foster student, staff and community participation and identification as contributing members of an intellectual community.
  • Promote reading and "foster a page-turning togetherness".*

       *based on DC We Read 2009

The One Campus, One Book (OCOB) program aligns with the mission and goals of the UAS First Year Experience (FYE) Program to support academic success and persistence, ease educational and social transitions to college, and foster student engagement in the UAS Community.  OCOB activities incorporate two FYE student learning outcomes:

First year students participating in OCOB activities will:

  1. Develop a strong network of peers and professionals including:
    1. One faculty member they consider a mentor
    2. One staff member they feel can offer support
    3. Five peers that are conducive to their social and academic success
  2. Develop strong connections to the UAS campus by attending at least five events on the Don't Miss List

Criteria for book selection:

  • The extent to which the book matches program goals (touches on interdisciplinary perspectives and has the potential for integration into curriculum, is not too challenging in terms of reading level or topic).
  • Has the potential for a variety of related program (themes).
  • The book won’t have likely been assigned reading during high school.
  • Accessibility: The book is between 250-350 pages in length, engaging, college-level reading and not a text-book
  • Accessibility: is available currently in paperback
  • Accessibility: bulk ordering of the book won’t require a reprint of the title.
  • The author may be available to visit campus (within our modest budget).

Core Planning and Selection Committee:

Please email committee chair, Jonas Lamb (uas.ocob@alaska.edu ) if you are interested in participating on the committee or for information about the next selection.  

Jonas Lamb, Assistant Professor of Library Science/Public Services Librarian, Chair  

UAS First-Year Experience Committee working group members.   

Faculty & Staff Reviewers (2019): Lisa Richardson, Allison Neeland, Nathan Bodenstadt, Jen Ward, Dylyn Peterson, Callie Ziegler

Previous One Campus, One Book Selections

Information about previous OCOB selections and links to audio/video when available.  

2018: Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis 

Invited speaker, Oscar Vazquez, one of the teenagers whose trials and triumphs are documented in the book, visited with UAS classes (Spanish), had a luncheon with the UAS Student Veterans and Family Association and provide the afternoon keynote, "La Vida Robot, STEM, and Immigration"during the Power & Privilege Symposium. [watch]  

Campus screenings of the feature film, Spare Parts and the documentary Underwater Dreams, illustrated how the boys left an enduring legacy that has inspired generations of young Latino advocates to raise their voice on issues of immigration, the DREAM act and equitable access to STEM education.

Spare Parts author, Joshua Davis, recorded a welcome video for incoming UAS students.  [watch]

2017: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandell

UAS partnered with the Juneau Public Libraries on their NEA Big Read Grant.  An initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read broadens our understanding of our world, our communities, and ourselves through the joy of sharing a good book.  Station Eleven served as a starting place for a community wide conversation on the themes of remembering and coping with historical trauma through cultural and artistic forms, boosting community knowledge of emergency preparedness and infectious disease prevention, and promoting kindness and respect for different perspectives despite humans’ sometime violent and intolerant nature.  Fewer events were hosted on campus this year due to the abundance of  community-wide events held by JPL and other Big Read partners. 

Dr. Micaela Martinez, Assistant Professor at the Columbia University, New York, UAS Biology and Math Alumna gave the lecture: The Clockwork of Epidemics, Health & Disease [watch select 092217 from playlist]

Two films interpretting future worlds (Mad Max and The Circle) were screened on campus.  A game night featuring the board game, Pandemic was held in student housing as were weekly book discussions. 

UAS created a website for the project [view the archived website]

2016: Mixed: Multiracial College Students Tell Their Life Stories

Invited speaker, Christina Gomez, co-editor of Mixed visited with 3 classes on the Juneau Campus (Humanities, Spanish, Sociology) and had a lunch time conversation about educational journeys, graduate school, advocacy and passions with the UAS students in the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP). 

Gomez participated and lectured as part of the 1st UAS Power and Privilege Symposium on November 9th, 2016.  Her talk titled "The Act of Dreaming: Undocumented Students in the United States" is archived [ watch, select Session5_Gomez from the playlist). 

Gomez also gave the One Campus, One Book lecture, "Negotiating Identity in America" as part of the Evening at Egan series on November 11th, 2016.  [ watch, select 111116 from the playlist]

2015: Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir by Ernestine Hayes

“One of the most important books to come out of Alaska. There have been other great memoirs by Alaska Natives, but few if any have been made with such disarming humor, such bravery and such warmth.”  --The Anchorage Press

Hayes' visited 15 classes on the Juneau and Sitka campuses, attended a reception in her honor held by the UAS Honors Program and participated in 3 community events culminating in her Evening at Egan Lecture, "An Animate World", Nov. 6th, 2015 [watch, select 11_6_2015 from playlist].

Hayes moderated the panel, "The Making of Never Alone" an interdisciplinary discussion focusing on the video game, Never Alone (Kisima Ingitchuna), winner of the 2015 British Academy Games Award: Best Debut.  The panel featured cultural ambassadors Ishmael Hope and Amy Fredeen and a team from E-Line Media appeared via video (Matt Swanson — Producer, Ian Gil — Lead Designer, David Koenig — Technical Director, Casey McDonnell — Art Director).  The discussion raised the question, how can new media platforms be used effectively to tell traditional stories in order celebrate indigenous language, contribute to decolonization efforts and share a vibrant, in-tact culture with younger generations? 

Hayes' donated the pre-publication Blonde Indian manuscript and author's correspondence to the Egan Library.  It can be viewed online in ScholarWorks@UA. Access to original manuscript materials are restricted to in-library use at the University of Alaska Southeast Egan Library and requires pre-approval from a reference librarian. Researchers are encouraged to use the online version of this collection.

Blonde Indian was selected by Alaska Writer Laureate, Frank Soos and the Alaska Center for the Book as the inaugural selection for Alaska Reads 2016, a statewide celebration of Alaskan literature.  Hayes' travelled extensively throughout the state during the month of February and free copies of Blonde Indianwere distributed to public libraries courtesy of the Alaska State Library.     

In March 2016, Hayes was featured on "The Artist" @ 360 North.  The event was recorded and rebroadcast later on 360 North public television and on YouTube.  Additional info about "The Artist @360". [watch]  

Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness an exhibition on loan from the National Library of Medicine was hosted @ Egan Library September-December 2015  

The  Juneau Public Library collected interviews on campus as part of their StoryCorps grant “Every Voice Matters: Recording and Sharing Alaska Native Educational Experiences”.  UAS students and faculty facilitated interviews at the Egan Library.  Recordings will be available on CD at the Juneau Public Libraries in Summer 2016.  Select interviews from the project can be streamed from KHNS (Haines, AK Public Radio).  

2014:  Log from the Sea of Cortez by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck and Ricketts scholar Katie Rodger visited the Juneau campus for a series of class visits, reception and an Evening at Egan Lecture, 'Discovering Science: Finding the Story', Oct. 10th, 2014 [watch]  

Artist and socio-ecological activist Colleen Flanigan visited the Sitka and Juneau campuses for a series of class visits and presentations on Merging Art and Environmental Sciences.  

2013: At the Mouth of the River of Bees by Kij Johnson

Kij Johnson visited the Juneau campus for a series of class visits, the one-night only production of a staged reading and an Evening at Egan Lecture.

UAS Drama Club S.C.R.I.P.T performed "Finding True North", Nov. 6th 2013
Kij Johnson presented and Evening at Egan lecture, Egan Library, Nov. 8th, 2013 [ watch]

Narrative Endeavors: Visual and Literary Art Exhibition.  One night only student art show with open mic and Google Hangout with Kij Johnson.  Downtown Gallery, April 4th, 2014.   

John Marzluff, author of Gifts of the Crow: How perception, emotion, and thought allow smart birds to behave like humans presented a different perspective on this year's OCOB theme of human-animal communication and communicating with the other at a Sound and Motion Lecture on April 18th, 2014.  

2012: Being Caribou by Karsten Heuer  

Karsten Heuer and Leanne Alison visited the Juneau campus for a series of lectures, film screening and classroom visits. Gwich’in elder Randall Tetlichi was elder-in-residence on the Juneau Campus and gave another perspective on related themes.

Gwich’in elder Randall Tetlichi presented an Evening at Egan lecture, Egan Library: Nov. 9th  2012 [watch ]
Leanne screened the related film, Egan Lecture Hall followed by a Q&A, Nov. 15th 2012 [watch]
Karsten presented an Evening at Egan lecture, Egan Library, Nov. 16th 2012 [watch]
Sarah Ray, OCOB 2012 Committee Chair

2011: The Truth About Stories by Thomas King

2010: Listening is an Act of Love by David Isay

Section Process and Recommendations  

Do you know of a great book that could help build community and begin difficult conversations on campus through the OCOB program?  Feel free to nominate a title that is not included in our short list.  Each selection cycle the committee reviews more than 20 titles, many are from campus commuinity nominations.   From these reviews and author availability, a short list of titles is made available for broader campus input.  We look forward to adding your nominations to the ongoing consideration pool.  Please keep in mind the program goals, selection criteria and we'd love to hear your ideas for related programming.  

For examples, check out some common reading titles from these publishers:

Book Nomination Form

Internship Opportunities:

Interested in Interning with the OCOB program? Talk to your advisor and contact uas.ocob@alaska.edu to discuss options.

The OCOB Student internship will provide students with experience in the management, marketing and promotion of arts and culture events by assisting in the production of the campus-wide common reading program, One Campus, One Book and related campus and community events. This internship will also incorporate independent networking around the City and Borough of Juneau with the purpose of determining how arts and culture organizations develop, budget, staff, coordinate logistics, and evaluate their programs and events.  Duties vary between Fall and Spring Internship opportunities and each interested student is encouraged to work with their faculty advisor and OCOB faculty sponsors to adapt the internship to meet their program needs.  The OCOB internship can be adapted to meet a variety of programatic needs including Humanities, Communication, English and more.  Student interns can also choose to enroll at either 291/391/491 levels and typically for 3 credits (requires 150 clock hours).  These internship opportunities are open until filled.  Deadline to apply for fall is May 1 of the prior year and the deadline for the spring internship is December 1.  Funding may be available to cover internship credit/tuition costs.     

Objectives:  One objective of the internship will be to provide the student an opportunity to actively participate in the management, marketing and promotion of an arts and culture event.

Interns will:

  • Attend regular OCOB committee planning and other related meetings/trainings (budget/CMS). 
  • Review and critically evaluate potential book titles for selection
  • Assist in book orders and author visit planning
  • Create promotional materials, surveys and content for print, web (CMS training provided) and social media
  • Assist in event scheduling, promotion and event logistics.
  • Develop written and oral communication skills by discussing and promoting OCOB programs and events with students and in the community
  • Develop confidence and communication skills serving as coordinator of correspondence and communication with invited author, publisher and other guest speakers/performers.

Questions about the internship?  Contact Jonas Lamb (j.lamb@alaska.edu) or call 907-796-6440

 
 

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