Sunday, October 23, 2005

Changing Social Representations of Disability

Mike Dorn, Coordinator of Temple University's Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies and Assistant Professor in the Urban Education Program, helped kick of the Pennsylvania Association of Rehabilitation Facilities (www.parf.org) conference at Penn State on September 28, 2005, where he appeared on a plenary panel together with disability studies scholars Douglas Biklen of Syracuse University and Michael Berube of Penn State. Each were invited to speak very generally on the representation of people with disabilities; Mike Dorn, a cultural geographer, offered an overview of the historical construction of disabled bodies and the institutions charged with “administering” disability in the Philadelphia area during the nineteenth century. Douglas Biklen spoke of the representation of mental retardation in films like "There’s Something About Mary", "The Eighth Day", and "Rain Man". Michael Berube wrapped up the panel with a critical analysis of racial and disability discourse in the media coverage of Hurricane Katrina. All of the papers will appear in the meeting proceedings. Michael Berube has also posted his paper on his blog, http://www.michaelberube.com/index.php/weblog/disability_and_disasters/

On October 18th, Mike Dorn was also interviewed on the potential of websites and blogs as avenues for reaching consumers with disabilities. The story will appear in OMMA: The Magaine of Online Media, Marketing, and Advertising (http://publications.mediapost.com).

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