First Year Common Read
The First Year Common Read is a book that is selected by a committee of upper-class students, faculty and staff members. This book will provide all incoming students with a similar starting point for academic dialog and will be woven into the curriculum for the student's entire first year.
Common Read 2014-2015:
We are pleased to announce the Wittenberg University Common Read for 2014-2015 is: The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic.
By the time it closed in 1995 after 126 years of operation, Willard Psychiatric Center, overlooking Seneca Lake in upstate New York, had been home to over 54,000 people. If not for the discovery of more than 400 suitcases filled with patients' belongings in the hospital attic, their lives would have been lost to history. In The Lives They Left Behind, the contents of 10 of these suitcases are skillfully examined and compared to the written record to create a moving - and devastating - group portrait of 20th century American psychiatric care.
Meet the Authors:
Darby Penney is an accomplished poet, a national leader in the human rights movement for people with psychiatric disabilities and a former state mental health official who has experienced the mental health system inside and out. Peter Stastny, author of numerous publications, is a psychiatrist and documentary filmmaker. Lisa Rinzler (photographer) is a prize-winning cinematographer (Three Seasons, Menace II Society, No Direction Home: Bob Dylan) whose photographs illustrate the book alongside reproductions of excerpted medical records and images found among the suitcase contents. Robert Whitaker (introduction) is the author of Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill.
“The haunting thing about the suitcase owners is that it’s so easy to identify with them.”—Newsweek
“In their poignant detail the items helped rescue these individuals from the dark sprawl of anonymity.”—The New York Times
“[The authors] spent 10 years piecing together . . . the lives these patients lived before they were nightmarishly stripped of their identities.”—Newsday
All students are expected to have read The Lives They Left Behind by the time they arrive on campus for New Student Days, August 21. It is the student's responsibility to purchase the book. The option to purchase it through the Wittenberg University Bookstore is listed below. You do not have to have the book in print form if you prefer Kindle, Nook or other e-reader formats.
All students will also be expected to view the photography of Wittenberg alumnus Jon Crispin '73. These photographs can be found on his website here.
Jon's work has been featured around the world. The following are links that provide more information about his work with the Willard Suitcases Exhibit.
To purchase The Lives They Left Behind from the Wittenberg University Bookstore please click here.
The First Year Seminar Text will appear: The Lives They Left Behind
Select the Term (Fall 2014), Department (FYS), Course (101), Section (01) and Format (Buy Used/Buy New)
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If you have any questions please call the bookstore at (937) 327-7457 or send us an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to contact the Summer Orientation Coordinator at 937-327-7958 with questions about the First-Year Read. You can also reach him at email@example.com.