Scaliger’s helpful post
about making APA presentations visually accessible and appealing reminds me
there are also things philosophers can do to make their presentations more
accessible to deaf and hard of hearing audience members. Odds are good that at
least a few audience members will have hearing loss -- according to the U.S. National Institute
on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, fifteen percent of adults
between the ages of 20 and 69 have hearing loss, and this percentage increases
with age. Most of these people rely on residual
hearing (amplified or unamplified) and visual cues. This post is focused on
making talks more accessible to that population – I’m planning another post on
accessibility for those working with sign language interpreters and CART
[I don't normally post calls for papers on this blog but given the importance of the topic and its direct relation to a recurrent theme on this blog, I am making an exception in this case]
Improving Feminist Philosophy and Theory by Taking Account of Disability
Guest editor: Shelley Tremain, PhD
A growing body of literature demonstrates that disabled people confront poverty, discrimination in employment and housing, sexual abuse and violence, limited educational opportunities, incarceration, and social isolation to a far greater extent than their non-disabled counterparts and furthermore that disabled women experience the impact of these disabling social and political phenomena even more severely than do disabled men. Although feminism is purported to be a social, political, and cultural movement that represents all women, disabled feminists have long argued that the concerns, political struggles, and socio-cultural issues that directly affect disabled women (and disabled people more generally) remain marginalized, and often ignored, within mainstream feminist movements.
Ingrid Robeyns, professor of practical philosophy at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam, is known among other things for her work on the capability approach (see her SEP entry on the topic, and her review of Martha Nussbaum's Creating Capabilities), and as a blogger at the interdisciplinary blog Crooked Timber. This week, she will be running a series of posts on autism at Crooked Timber -- the first one is here, the second one here. Ingrid is herself the mother of an autistic child, and the combination of philosophical insight with her first-person experience is bound to yield a very interesting perspective on the topic.
Autism is a topic having many important philosophical implications, ranging from theories of cognition and philosophy of mind to ethics. So I for one look forward to the upcoming posts, and I suspect that many NewAPPS readers will be equally interested. Go check it out; in fact, today is World Autism Awareness Day, so as good a day as any!
Shelley Tremain provides us this link to the Facebook version of a CHE piece by noted scholar Lennard Davis of the University of Illinois-Chicago. The intro graf reads:
It has been more than 20 years since the Americans With Disabilities Act took effect, but while the law has changed some things in higher education, it hasn't changed the way academic culture regards people with disabilities. While our current interest in diversity is laudable, colleges rarely think of disability when they tout diversity. College brochures and Web sites depict people of various races and ethnicities, but how often do they include, say, blind people or those with Parkinson's disease? Or a deaf couple talking to each other in a library, or a group of wheelchair users gathered in the quad? When disability does appear, it is generally cloistered on the pages devoted to accommodations and services.
Jenny Saul and I (Magical Ersatz) are very proud to introduce a new project we’ve been working on: Disabled Philosophers.
The goal of this project is to raise awareness of the existence of disabled philosophers. There are lots of issues that arise from the intersection of disability and philosophy. But we thought a very basic starting point – and hopefully a good way of starting a conversation – was to say “Hey! We’re here. We exist. In greater numbers and greater variety than you might’ve thought.”
Though we’re using a blog format, this isn’t a traditional blog. We won’t have posts on a wide variety of topics, and we won’t host discussion. What we’ll do is create a space where we can learn about disabled philosophers – sometimes who they are (though we welcome anonymous contributions), sometimes a little about their experiences of being a philosopher with a disability, sometimes both.
So if you’re a disabled philosopher, please do get in touch. We’d also love to hear from you if you’re a philosopher who loves someone who’s disabled – your partner, your child, etc. Caregiver and partner experiences are a huge part of understanding disability, and philosophers who are caregivers or partners of disabled people give us an important perspective on the interaction between disability and philosophy. So please do write to us – whether you’re yourself disabled or your daily life is affected by disability because of who you care about.
And if, at this point, you’re wondering why on earth you’d want to tell strangers about your experience of disability, we have some reasons for you. We hope you find them persuasive.
In comments to this post, Shelley Tremain provides the following useful bibliography. She prefaces it in part by writing:
I hope readers of the blog will be provoked to seek out some of this work and thus to seriously consider the impact of ableist metaphors in particular and ableist language in general on the self-worth and self-esteem of disabled people.
Barasch, Moshe., 2001. Blindness: The History of a Mental Image in Western Thought, New York London: Routledge.
Over the last couple of decades, disability theorists in the humanities have produced work that shows how signifiers of disability employed in literature, art, films, pop culture, the news media, and everyday discourse are paradigmatically and stereotypically oppressive to disabled people: the nasty villain with facial scars, the evil pirate with a prosthetic arm, the wicked witch with one eye, the determined cripple who overcomes all odds and is redeemed, and so on. One focus of these efforts has been the ways that “blindness” is used as a rhetorical and representational device to signify lack of knowledge, as well as epistemic ignorance or negligence and the moral downfall it implies.
I first wrote about the use of blindness as a metaphor in 1996. For the last few years, I have tried to get the APA to remove the phrase “blind review” from its publications and website. The phrase is demeaning to disabled people because it associates blindness with lack of knowledge and implies that blind people cannot be knowers. Because the phrase is standardly used in philosophy and other academic CFPs, it should become recognized as a cause for great concern. In short, use of the phrase amounts to the circulation of language that discriminates. Philosophers should want to avoid inflicting harm in this way. Now, one might think that the term “blind review” means, literally, that reviewers cannot “see” the name of an author (or authors) of a given paper. But consider that under the terms of this form of refereeing, it would be not be acceptable for an editor to verbally communicate the name (or names) of an author (or authors) to a referee, while preventing the referee from seeing the name or names. Equally, it would not be acceptable if a blind philosopher heard the name (names) read out by her screen-reader software, even though she can’t see them.
A couple of years ago, I emailed both the Executive Director of the APA and the past President of the CPA (Canadian Phil. Assoc.), explaining to them why the use of the phrase “blind review” in their publicity materials, CFPs, etc. was oppressive and demeaning to disabled people, and I posted these emails in the body of a comment on the Feminist Philosophers blog. In an email to me, the Executive Director of the APA wrote that this matter had never been brought to his attention in the past and that he would have APA staff act on it immediately. The President of the CPA made a commitment to me that he would raise the issue at the next meeting of the CPA Board of Directors.
As a result of these correspondences, the phrase “blind review” was removed for a time from the APA National Office’s publicity materials. However, the term was still used by at least two divisions in their published materials. The CPA no longer uses the phrase “blind review” and has replaced it with the phrase “anonymous review”.
The editors of Different Art invite submissions for an innovative new book that explores the complex fusion of disability and artistic expression. This work seeks to investigate and muse on the varied and often contradictory ways that disability is created, contested and circulated in art and media (both in the visual and other forms). We encourage submissions of works that explore these issues from theoretical lens as well as writings from practitioners placing these concerns in dialog with their own practices as artists. This includes artist statements/essays and poetry/prose. In all contributions, we are especially interested in writing that is enriched by consideration of transnational concerns.
This book is already under contract with Intellect LTD, and will be distributed in the US by University of Chicago Press.
Essays may consider any and all forms of artistic expression. As cultural conceptions of disability have historically been wedded to the visual rhetoric of the body, we are especially interested in essays that consider visual media. At the same time, we feel strongly that essays that consider other forms are an important part of the work's scope. As such, the work is organized in six major sections:
Shelley Tremain has provided this as an introductory bibliography to Disability Studies. It's not a comprehensive bibliography, nor is it directly solely to philosophers. Please use it as an invitation to contribute other suggestions in comments.
We're adding "Disability Studies" to our category list, and welcome suggestions for posts, conference announcements, CFPs, and so on. We also welcome suggestions for the Count Me In campaign, which also has a category now.
Lennard Davis, ed. 2010. The Disability Studies Reader (3rd edition). Routledge. The three editions of this multi-disciplinary reader are somewhat different from each other, but each contains a good selection of some of the most important articles and book chapters in the field of Disability Studies internationally.
Rosemarie Garland Thomson. 1996. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Disability in American Culture and Literature. Columbia University Press. Garland Thomson is one of the leading figures in American disability studies. The book explains some of the ideas foundational to American disability studies and considers how disability has been represented and socially constituted.
Michael Oliver. 1990. The Politics of Disablement. McMillan Educational Press. This book, written by a social scientist, is regarded as one of the foundational texts of Disability Studies in the U.K. especially. The book explains and defends the earliest versions of the British “social model of disability” which is grounded in historical materialism.
Tobin Siebers. 2008. Disability Theory. University of Michigan Press. Written by a prominent American disability theorist, this book demonstrates that a disability studies perspective is relevant to, yet usually left out of, academic accounts of a range of issues and topics including sexuality, identity, the body, social justice, feminism, architectural design, literature, etc.
Henri Stiker. 1999. A History of Disability. University of Michigan Press. This book, originally written in French, offers an historical account of how disability has been represented in literature, philosophical texts, religious doctrines, popular discourse, and so on.
Shelley Tremain, ed. 2005. Foucault and the Government of Disability. University of Michigan Press.This multi-disciplinary collection is comprised of chapters that assess the usefulness of Foucault’s analyses and techniques for work in disability studies and disability activism.