Elaine Scarry is Professor of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value at Harvard University. Her first book, The Body in Pain (1985), is widely acknowledged to be one of the most important works on pain of the 20th and 21st centuries. Her other major works include On Beauty and Being Just (1999), Dreaming by the Book (1999), Thinking in an Emergency (2011), and Thermonuclear Monarchy (2014).
Rita Charon is Professor of Clinical Medicine and Director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Trained in both medicine and literature, Prof. Charon is one of the central voices in the emerging field of narrative medicine. She is the author of Narrative Medicine: Honoring the Stories of Illness (2006) and co-editor of Stories Matter: The Role of Narrative in Medical Ethics (2002).
Veena Das’s work on “social suffering” has helped reconfigure contemporary understandings of pain so as to accommodate its shared or collective aspects. Professor of Anthropology at the Johns Hopkins University, her many works include Life and Words: Violence and the Descent into the Ordinary (2006), Structure and Cognition: Aspects of Hindu Caste and Ritual (1977), and Critical Events: An Anthropological Perspective on Contemporary India (1995).
Shigehisa Kuriyama is Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations and the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University. His book, The Expressiveness of the Body and the Divergence of Greek and Chinese Medicine (1999) was awarded the William H. Welch Medal of the American Association for the History of Medicine.
Professor and Chair of Art History at the Johns Hopkins University, Mitchell Merback’s books include Pilgrimage and Pogrom: Violence, Memory and Visual Culture at the Host-Miracle Shrines of Germany and Austria (2013) and The Thief, the Cross and the Wheel: Pain and the Spectacle of Punishment in Medieval and Renaissance Europe (1999). He is currently at work on a project on torture and memory in medieval and early modern art.
Ron Schleifer has written, translated, or edited twenty-two books. Most recently, he has published Pain and Suffering in the Routledge series Integrating Science and Culture (2014); and The Chief Concern of Medicine: Integrating the Medical Humanities and Narrative Knowledge into Medical Practices (co-authored with Dr. Jerry Vannatta, MD, 2013). Professor Schleifer is the George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English and Adjunct Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma.
Darius Rejali is a nationally recognized expert on government torture and interrogation and a professor of political science at Reed College. His most recent book, Torture and Democracy, won the 2007 Human Rights Book of the Year Award from the American Political Science Association. He is also the author of Torture and Modernity: Self, Society, and State in Modern Iran (1994).
Austin Sarat’s most recent book, Gruesome Spectacles: Botched Executions and America’s Death Penalty, tells the extended tale of inhumane lethal punishment in the United States. He received the Ronald Pipkin Service Award in 2014 and the Lasting Contribution Award from the American Political Science Association’s Section on Law and Courts in 2011. Professor Sarat is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science and Associate Dean of the Faculty of Amherst College.