This past week was the 26th Annual Society for Disability Studies Conference, a gathering of academics from around the world who are working within the field of disability studies to meet, connect and share their research. This year’s conference was of particular importance as it marked the 50th anniversary of Erving Goffman’s text Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identities, perhaps one of the most important texts used in early disability studies. While I wouldn’t claim that Goffman was the founder of disability studies, I do believe that the field of disability studies, at least not in its current incarnation, could not exist without the work of Goffman providing such fertile ground of criticism and exploration all those years ago. I met some amazing people and sat in on some spectacular panels, with topics focusing largely on subjectivity, biopower, and the emergent fields of Mad and Autism Studies. I also had the chance to participate in a media-focused panel with three other lovely academics and delivered a short presentation on some of my doctoral research. On the whole, the conference was both illuminating and energizing and I can’t wait to see everyone again at next year’s conference.
See you in Minneapolis!
A complicated and sad story has come to an end in Toronto as an elderly couple’s illegal $80,000 two-storey addition is now required to be demolished after years of legal battles to maintain the structure on compassionate grounds. While I’m not versed in this specific case and can’t say whether this is the right or wrong call, I do think it opens an interesting conversation on the “duty to accommodate” and what some call “the government of disability.” Continue reading “Legislating Access”
This morning I presented a paper on the medical industrial complex at the “Cripples, Idiots, Lepers, and Freaks: Extraordinary Bodies / Extraordinary Minds” Conference at CUNY. Focused on representations of disability in Science Fiction, my panel also featured two tremendous papers presented by Eric Wallenstein (Texas University) and Jeffry Iovannone (SUNY Buffalo). Some early highlights of this conference so far was hanging out with Dr. Beth Haller (writer of this great book on disability and media) and Dr. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (whom the conference was titled after). I also got to meet one of my person heroes, Simi Linton, which was amazing.
I had the honour of keynoting the “Reclaiming Our Bodies and Minds Conference” at Ryerson this morning, presenting on the medical industrial complex and resistance to ableism. It was great seeing some old friends at the conference who drove down from Ottawa for the con and I made some lovely new friends. I love going to events like this because it’s so energizing to see so many people fighting for disability rights in our community.
A huge thank you to the organizers of the event for inviting me and big ups to Jenny Blaser for all her hard work putting this great event together!
Yesterday I was in Toronto, giving a keynote presentation on creative resistance and the disability movement entitled “Battle Lines Drawn.” The presentation went off without a hitch to a near-packed auditorium, including several security guards who may or may not have been under the impression I was intending on literally blowing up a few stairwells at York. Whoops. After the presentation I had the pleasure of delivering a private guest lecture to students in the Critical Disability Studies program, who were full of challenging questions about my research.
Huge thanks to Kaley Roosen and her planning team for putting on this fabulous event and I look forward to coming back sometime in the near future for some more stair bombing!