Tuesday, October 26, 2010

CFP: Society for Disability Studies (15-18 June 2011, San José, CA)


Society for Disability Studies
23rd Annual Conference
San José California, Doubletree Hotel
June 15-18, 2011

Beyond Access: From Disability Rights to Disability Justice
Deadline for submissions: December 15, 2010

[Disability justice is] not self-sufficiency but self-determination, not independence but interdependence, not functional separateness but personal connection, not physical autonomy but human community.
--Paul K. Longmore

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and 2008 witnessed both the passage of the ADA Amendments Act and, on the international stage, the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (CRPD). In passing the ADA Amendments Act, the U.S. Congress sought to redress nearly twenty years of rulings that severely narrowed the scope of protections afforded in the original bill. The Convention formally marks a paradigm shift towards considering people with disabilities as subjects who must be able to exercise their own rights, rather than objects of medical inquiry or charitable intervention. These developments seem to suggest gains in the history of disability rights, and yet many disability activists contend that real gains can only be made if disability is conceptualized as part of an intersecting network of historic and contemporary power structures that must be addressed holistically and systemically.

We invite conference participants to reconsider the issues of rights and access in light of local, national and global commitments and resistance to achieving disability justice. We offer the following broad questions in a variety of disciplines and encourage interdisciplinary perspectives:

* How is social justice conceptualized? What competing visions emerge within these conceptualizations?
* What tensions have hampered social justice gains for people with disabilities?
* How might disability-based conceptualizations of social justice complicate and enhance other issues of social justice?
* How have coalitional politics shaped momentum---or barriers---to achieving disability justice?
* How do various technologies---and access to them---shape coalitions and enhance or hinder progress?
* How are or how can societies address the enduring poverty that people with disabilities face throughout the world? How does poverty shape / limit access to opportunities?
* How might institutions and agencies be transformed to better ensure justice for individuals with disabilities and their communities?
* How might community engagement serve the cause of enhancing disability justice?
* How does cultural context shape a local agenda for rights and access?
* How does the intersection of disability studies with other critical scholarship (critical race studies, gender/feminist studies, queer studies, immigrant studies, post-colonial studies) promote more nuanced understandings of social justice?
* How can and how do liberatory textual and / or performative practices enact disability justice?
* What liberatory moments, paradigms, practices, and aspirations have shaped the path(s) towards disability justice?

We welcome proposals in all areas of disability studies, as well as submissions premised on this year's theme.

(See the website for the rest of the call, which is mostly logistical information about the proposal submission process.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

October 25: Grace Padaca (b. 1963)

"I am Grace Padaca. I share my story because I know there are many who are like me, not big people, not rich, not strong. I know there are many like me whose strength is inside."

--from a campaign appearance by Grace Padaca
Above: Gracia Cielo "Grace" Magno Padaca, former Governor of Isabela Province in the Philippines, standing on a stage while a group of other people are seated in a row behind her. Padaca was elected governor in 2004, was reelected in 2007, and was defeated in another bid for reelection, earlier this year.

Padaca survived polio in her early childhood, and uses crutches (seen in the photograph above). Padaca was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated with highest honors from college. Before politics, she worked as a radio journalist. In 2008, she won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service. Today is her 47th birthday.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

"Polio" by Staff Benda Bilili

There's an article about a Congolese band in the LA Times today. The band is named Staff Benda Bilili, and they're the subject of a recent documentary, because most of the men in the band are physically disabled. (The print version of the article has more groaningly cliched headlines than the online version. You can probably imagine them.)

They were a street band in Kinshasa when they were discovered. Some of their songs are about disability, including this one, "Polio":

The visuals are of members of the band singing, playing music, and being assisted by groups of children to move their wheelchairs over dirt roads. It's clear that some of their chairs are built from parts of motorcycles, wagons, carts, and bicycles. Some of the scenes also include men using crutches. Some of the daylight scenes are filmed outside a disability assistance center, according to the signage. The notes say that the performance sections of the video were made at the zoo in Kinshasa.

The lyrics aren't in English, but there are English subtitles translating them:
I was born as a strong man but polio crippled me
Look at me today, I'm screwed into my tricycle
I have become the man with the canes
The hell with those crutches!

Parents, please go to the vaccination center
Get your babies vaccinated against polio
Please save them from that curse

My parents had the good idea to register me for school
Look at me now: I'm a well-educated person
which enables me to work and support my family

Parents please don't neglect your children
The one who is disabled is no different from the others
(why should he?)
Treat all your children without discrimination
(don't throw anyone on the side)
Who among them will help you when you're in need?
God only knows who

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Play: "Journeys of Identity"

From a recent announcement on H-Connecticut and H-Disability. If you're in New England and get a chance to see this, let us know what you thought!

The National Theatre of the Deaf and Connecticut’s Old State House present
Journeys of Identity

Hartford, CT - Journeys of Identity, a new play by Garrett Zuercher, brings to life the story of Thomas Gallaudet, founder of the nation’s first school for the Deaf, Laurent Clerc, its first teacher and Alice Cogswell, its first student as they struggle to overcome the obstacles and prejudices faced by Deaf Americans in 1817. Journeys of Identity will premiere at Connecticut’s Old State House on October 14, 15 and 17. This new play chronicles the creation of American Sign Language and the American School for the Deaf - events that transformed the nation’s attitudes on Deafness and education in the U.S.

Journeys of Identity has been written to be performed in the unique award-winning style of theatre created by the National Theatre of the Deaf where every word is seen and heard by the entire audience. Thursday, October 14 has been designated American School for the Deaf Day by Governor M. Jodi Rell. The first general public performance will be on Friday, October 15 at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., followed by a 1 p.m. Sunday matinee and 4 p.m. afternoon performance on October 17. There is a special discount ticket price of $8 for students and seniors while general admission is $15 and includes a tour of the Old State House.

Tickets can be purchased at The Bushnell box office by calling (860) 987-5900. Groups of 10 or more should call 860-236-4193. For more information visit www.ctoldstatehouse.org for more information on ticket sales and prices.

Rebecca Taber-Conover
Connecticut's Old State House
Programming and Curriculum Manager
800 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103
860-522-6766, ext. 11