Integrative Medicine in the U.S.: Marginal to Mainstream, Problematic to Promising - A Talk by Prof. Barbara Sharf

Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) have been gaining acceptance in biomedical institutions and conventional healthcare systems in the US. This research talk focuses on the vehicles of integration for CAM into mainstream health practices and how the institutionalization of complementary medicine occurs through media and communication. Prof. Barbara Sharf will present her past studies on integrative medicine, which examine the operationalisation of CAM. She will also discuss the challenges of practicing CAM, which include structural barriers such as insurance issues and healthcare system uncertainties. In her talk, Prof Sharf will be addressing the following questions:
  • How do centers of integrative medicine function in terms of historic development, organizational structure and clinical/educational practices?
  • How has each center attempted to become institutionalized within its respective community, including interface with conventional medicine and does this make institutions of CAM vulnerable to co-optation by conventional medical practice?
  • What is the future of integrative medicine in the US?

Re(Emplotting) Health Stories: Patient-Provider Communication as Narrative Co-construction - A Talk by Prof. Barbara Sharf

This presentation will focus on two main questions: 1. What does it means to be an “active patient?” and 2. How does effective patient-provider communication occur? To explore these questions, we will examine a detailed interview account from Gina, a young woman living with diabetes, a life-altering and -threatening illness connected to her extremely troubled family medical history. We will use a narrative analysis approach to understand the dynamics underlying Gina’s struggles with her family, her disease, and relationships with her physicians, as a means to illustrating a more general conceptual framework about patienthood and patient-provider communication.

Imagining the Future of Communication Education: A Few Idiosyncratic Thoughts and Concerns - A Talk by Prof. Howard Sypher

Traditional formats in higher education are being challenged by advances in communication technology, rising costs and innovative ideas about what counts as paths to credentialing. We are opening up our classrooms in new ways and supporting entrepreneurial and immersive efforts by our students and colleagues. In this talk, Prof. Howard will focus on his belief that as communication scholars and educators we have a special role to play in these efforts and should do more to be at the center of university efforts to engage our scholarly, local and international communities.

Interrogating Development: Mining and Corporate Social Responsibility in India - A Talk by Prof. Mohan Dutta

In this talk, Prof. Mohan Dutta will critically examine the story of the development constructed by Vedanta, a multinational mining company in the face of organized resistance to the mining operations being developed by Vedanta in the Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha, India. Through a close reading of the key arguments made by Vedanta, attention will be paid to the key narratives of development and the ways in which these narratives work toward consolidating powers in the hands of transnational capital. For more on the resistance movement against Vedanta, please see