Friday, June 01, 2007

Checking in from SDS, Day 2

Hello from the lobby of the Sea-Tac Hilton, on day 2 of the 20th anniversary meeting of the Society for Disability Studies. The session I mentioned heading to last entry turned out to be a Deaf history panel, and it was really great to see a set of young scholars (Sara Robinson, Lindsey Parker, and Elizabeth Bush) digging into some issues of community, age, gender, space, and identity in contexts like a "home for the elderly and infirm deaf" in the mid-20th century, or among the first women to graduate from Gallaudet, or in national Deaf empowerment organizations (where the women were, initially, barred from membership, but more than welcome to form fund-raising auxiliaries). And as if those papers weren't enough, Susan Burch gave a fourth presentation about her soon-to-be-published work on Junius Wilson--a life story that complicates a lot of the givens about D/deaf cultural history. So that was cool.

This morning I made it to the plenary, on "The Future of Disability Arts." Very disappointed to find that a favorite dancer-blogger couldn't make it as scheduled, but her paper was still presented, and very cool. Petra Kuppers ended her portion of the program on a slide that read, "We do not need positive images. We need depth, and heft, and presence." Right on. Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren and Jim Ferris were the other presenters--I'm not going to quote you some of the stronger language in Ferris' manifesto, but it was all arresting and powerful.

Had some local friends to hang out with this afternoon, but soon I'll be covering the Disability History Association booth at the poster session and reception. Again, sorry no links, I'm really just tapping this in on the run. I'll add them in later, as opportunity permits.

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