University of Michigan Press

Conversations in Medicine and Society

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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Conversations in Medicine and Society


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The DNA Mystique

The Gene as a Cultural Icon

Dorothy Nelkin and M. Susan Lindee

The DNA Mystique is a wake-up call to all who would dismiss America's love affair with 'the gene' as a merely eccentric obsession. --In These Times "Nelkin and Lindee are to be warmly congratulated for opening up this intriguing field [of genetics in popular culture] to further study." --Nature The DNA Mystique suggests that the gene in popular culture draws on scientific ideas but is not constrained by the technical definition of the gene as a section of DNA that codes for a protein. In highlighting DNA as it appears in soap operas, comic books, advertising, and other expressions of mass culture, the authors propose that these domains provide critical insights into science itself. With a new introduction and conclusion, this edition will continue to be an engaging, accessible, and provocative text for the sociology, anthropology, and bioethics classroom, as well as stimulating reading for those generally interested in science and culture.

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Formative Years

Children's Health in the United States, 1880-2000

Alexandra Minna Stern and Howard Markel, Editors

Alexandra Minna Stern is Associate Director of the Center for the History of Medicine and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and American Culture at the University of Michigan. Howard Markel is the George Edward Wantz Professor of the History of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, and Professor of History at the University of Michigan, and Director of the Center for the History of Medicine.

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A Physician's Journey with Breast Cancer

Janet R. Gilsdorf, M.D.

To doctors, cancer means cells growing out of control; to patients, cancer means a life spinning out of control. Janet R. Gilsdorf, who writes with quiet but devastating honesty about her experience with breast cancer, offers an eye-opening glimpse, through her unique dual perspective as physician and patient, of both sides of the medical divide.
The medical system delivers cures, answers, and relief from pain to those who seek its help, but it can also offer misinformation, shattered expectations, horrible options, and inhumane consideration of the people it is supposed to serve. As Gilsdorf takes us on a journey across the terrifying landscape of cancer, she discovers that there are oases of unfathomable beauty to be found.
Inside/Outside is compelling, sometimes scary, reading as it puts us inside Gilsdorf’ s skin. It ponders a vast array of profound choices most of us will be confronted with in our lives: thinking versus feeling, knowing versus not knowing, hanging on versus letting go, loving versus hating, and the immeasurable territories of life between the poles. Even as it touches on these universal human themes, ultimately Inside/Outside is a story of one person’ s courage, hope, and survival in the face of terrifying odds.
Janet R. Gilsdorf, M.D., is Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, Division of Infectious Diseases, Medical School, and Professor of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, at the University of Michigan. She is also Director of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Mott Children's Hospital; Director of the Cell and Molecular Biology in Pediatrics Training Program; and Director of the Haemophilus influenzae Research Laboratory.


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