Monday, October 29, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #84 is up NOW!

Dave Hingsburger hosts the October edition of the Disability Blog Carnival, at Rolling Around in My Head, here.   It's short but Dave puts a lot of context into his collection of links.  Thanks Dave!

Did you know that the Disability Blog Carnival started in October 2006?  So we just passed its sixth anniversary.  Back then, it was twice a month, and often jam-packed with links.  Well, the online climate is different today--blogs have to compete for attention with so many other venues and formats.  I know I'm not blogging much nowadays, and that seems to be true for a lot of folks.  Submissions for the carnival have been sparse for a couple years now, and some editions never even post.  I think, therefore, that the we've come to the end of the run for the Disability Blog Carnival.  The existing eighty-four editions remain a strong record of disability blogosphere for a vibrant six years. 

If there's anyone who'd like to take over organizing the Disability Blog Carnival, perhaps to restart it sometime in 2013 or beyond, I'm glad to help, just holler.  (There are several other blog carnivals on disability themes still happening right now, too.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Big Day for Disability History

Two big projects in US disability history are launching into the world today:

Today's the release date of Kim Nielsen's A Disability History of the United States (Beacon Press 2012), a concise (272 pages!), inexpensive (just $16 in hardcover!), and sweeping account, starting before 1492, and landing in the present-day.  If this is exactly the book you've needed for a class, for a book group, for your own study, you're not alone.   I've only been reading in disability history for seventeen years, but back in the 1990s, you'd be lucky to find a text that even acknowledged the existence of disability before Samuel Gridley Howe's 1848 report to the Massachusetts legislature.  (All my graduate projects had colonial and Early Republic settings, so I noticed.)  So for that aspect alone, let alone all the other goodness involved, I'm thrilled to greet this book.

Also--DVR alert--start popping the popcorn and dimming the lights!  Tonight is the first night of Turner Classic Movies' month-long feature, "The Projected Image:  A History of Disability in Film."   More than twenty films, various eras and genres, all with disability themes, airing all five Tuesdays in October.  Lawrence Carter-Long will co-host the series with Ben Mankiewicz.  Tonight's lineup:  An Affair to Remember (1957);  Patch of Blue (1965); Butterflies are Free (1972), Gaby-A True Story (1987), and The Sign of the Ram (1948).  All with closed captions, all with audio description.  It's a big deal that a cable network is devoting this much time to disability history and culture, and to make it accessible too; if you don't get TCM, consider calling your cable company and just subscribing for October.  That'll be great for you (20+ movies on disability themes, plus the rest of their lineup), and it'll send a signal that this kind of programming is appreciated. 

Also, if anyone wants to see a discussion feature here on DSTU, for either Kim Nielsen's book, or the TCM Film Series, I'm game.  Just holler in comments, and I'll be glad to set that up.  Otherwise, the hashtag for twitter discussions of the film series is #ProjectedImageTCM, and TCM has its own discussion boards that are certainly available for the purpose.

ETA:  Here's a podcast interview with Kim Nielsen about the new book.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

CFP: Disability and the American Counterculture

Spotted on DS-HUM:

Special issue CFP: Disability and the American Counterculture

Guest edited by Stella Bolaki and Chris Gair

The American Counterculture has a complex relationship with disability. At
its heart is the reinvention of the term freak that serves as an early
example of empowering, though not unproblematic, appropriation of what had
previously been a derogatory term. Freak Out!, the debut album by The
Mothers of Invention—labelled a “monstrosity” by Frank Zappa—is a prime
example of the association of freakery with the forms of avant-garde
experimentation representative of one form of countercultural practice. In
addition, representations of disability and illness occur repeatedly in
countercultural work: the asylum and hospital become central tropes for
examinations of the relationship between sanity and madness in Allen
Ginsberg’s “Howl” and Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, while
canonical Beat/countercultural novels such as Jack Kerouac’s Desolation
and Richard Brautigan’s Trout Fishing in America and movies such as
Richard Rush’s Psych-Out feature disabled characters not only to derive
rhetorical force in their critique of hegemonic culture, but also to
question core countercultural ideologies. In terms of aesthetics, William
Burroughs’ experimental “cut-up technique” has been discussed in the
context of his interest in virology and Andy Warhol’s work of trauma,
injury and violence alongside what Tobin Siebers has called “disability
aesthetics”. More recent work, such as E.L. Doctorow’s novel Homer and
, the Hollywood film Forrest Gump and Simi Linton’s memoir My Body
, examines the connection between disability and the counterculture
through different lenses and with various aims.

What do perspectives informed by disability studies have to offer to
typical readings of the American counterculture and its fundamental ideals
of movement (both geographical and ideological), youth and vitality? In
what ways did the American counterculture and the disability movement
approach notions of the “normal” and the “abnormal” body? Beat and
countercultural writers and artists have been criticised for their
romanticised view of other cultures and for appropriating and shedding
roles and personas from various marginalised groups at a dizzying pace. How
different was the appropriation of disability to the American
counterculture’s interest in other cultures (Eastern, African American,
Native American) and their potential for constructing a subversive
identity? What are the legacies of the American counterculture and its
various discourses and styles of liberation for contemporary disability
life writing, arts and activism? With such questions in mind, the co-
editors invite proposals on an array of topics which include (but are not
limited to) the following:

•perspectives from disability studies/theory on iconic as well as
understudied Beat texts and countercultural ideals more broadly
•challenges to “normalcy” from disability movements and the American
counterculture (comparative perspectives/debates)
•disability as theme and/or aesthetic in countercultural writing, art, film
and music or in more recent works that reference the American counterculture
•appropriation and reinvention of the term “freak” by the counterculture
•approaches to spectacle, the stare, the performative, and fashion in
American counterculture and disability cultures/arts
•disability in the sixties-era communes and communal living groups
•feminist disability studies and the counterculture
•crip perspectives on the American counterculture
•legacies of the American counterculture and countercultural ideals,
practices and styles for disability writing, arts, and activism

Discussions of specific literary and cultural texts are invited, but
preference will be given to projects that use individual texts as vehicles
to address broader cultural debates and theoretical inquiries related to
disability studies and the American counterculture. A one-page proposal and
a one-page curriculum vitae should be emailed to and by the end of July 2013. Finalists will be
selected by 1st October 2013, and full drafts of articles will be due on
1st March 2014.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Lecture series: Disabilities and Abilities in the Middle Ages & the Renaissance

Starting last week, the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Ohio State University is offering a series of ten free public lectures on disability in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.  I'm not in Ohio, and I'm guessing a lot of our readers aren't either, but it's still interesting to see the lecture titles (links lead to each lecture's facebook event page, for further information):

Friday, 7 September 2012
Christine Lee, Lecturer in Viking Studies, Nottingham University
"Able Bodies:  Considerations of (Dis)ability in Anglo-Saxon England"

Friday, 28 September 2012
Paul Hyams, Professor of History, Cornell University
"Serfrom without Strings:  Amartya Sen in the Middle Ages"

Friday, 12 October 2012
Julie Singer, Assistant Professor of French, Washington University in Saint Louis
"Mental Illness, Self-Violence, and Civil War"

Friday, 16 November 2012
John Lindow, Professor of Scandinavian, UC-Berkeley
"Maimed Bodies and Broken Systems in the Old Norse Imaginary"

Friday, 30 November 2012
Shigehisa Kuriyama, Reischauer Institute Professor of Cultural History, Harvard University
"Toward a History of Distraction"

Friday, 8 February 2013
James Clifton, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
"Blindness, Desire, and Touch in Two French Paintings"

Thursday, 21 February 2013
Michael Thomsett, Independent Scholar, Author of The Inquisition: A History
"Legal Disabilities of Inquisition Victims"

Friday, 8 March 2013
Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Notre Dame
"Teresa of Avila and her Neurological Condition"

Friday, 22 March 2013
Christopher Baswell, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English, Barnard College/Columbia University
"Three Medieval Cripples:  The Performance of Authenticity"

Friday, 12 April 2013
Ian Maclean, Professor of Renaissance Studies, All Souls College, Oxford
"Renaissance Bodies and their Imperfections"

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #84: Call is up now...

Writer in a Wheelchair is hosting the September edition of the Disability Blog Carnival.  Because Emma's been at the the Paralympics recently, the theme will be "Inspire a Generation."  Here's the call, and here are the main details:
You can submit older posts or write new ones
They need to be related to disability but don’t need to be written by disabled people
Posts need to fit the theme in someway but it’s not rigid
The deadline for posts is Sept 26th, I hope to post the carnival on 30th Sept.
Emma lists several ways to submit links--in comments at the blog, in tweets, and in emails.  Please consider joining in!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

An ironic way to celebrate the ADA

accessible taxis ruling, originally uploaded by Edu-Tourist.

A very vocal group of disability activists (including several Disability Studies scholars) turned up for an early August party at New York Mayor Blumberg's Gracie Mansion residence in Manhattan. Barred from making their feelings known regarding the city leadership's tepid support for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the protesters gathered outside and blocked the street outside the mansion for their own form of "celebration."

According to AP News, after the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act did not require the city to demand that cab companies serve people with disabilities, Mayor Blumberg lent his own wholehearted support for the decision.

Through strategic CNN iReport, Google+ and Facebook posts we learned that four of the protesters were arrested outside the August 9th ADA anniversary party. The sight of them being hauled away was itself ironically telling: since the police department did not not have any accessible paddy wagons. the four protesters had the loaded onto Access-A-Ride vans.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

CFP: VariAbilities (4-7 July 2013, Emory University)

From DS-Hum:
VariAbilities: A conference on the history and representation of the body in its diversity
Emory University
4-7 July 2013
It is no longer useful to distinguish people by the binary opposition able-bodied/disabled. We now recognize people on a continuum of ability on which no-one is entirely able-bodied or entirely disabled. But was it always true? And if it is true now, does this require that we reconsider the use of binary oppositions when understanding people and their capabilities? VariAbilit(ies) is an interdisciplinary conference which will explore these questions. It will focus on the body and how it was treated and represented throughout history. Subject areas will include: Literary representations The Asylum The History of Poor Relief Gender/ Sexuality Disability and Aesthetics Disability and Race And anything else you are interested in
Please send abstracts (300 Words by 30 October 2012) to:
Chris Mounsey University of Winchester
Paul Kelleher Emory University
The CFP on Facebook.
Conference announcements on Twitter.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Disability in the Presidential Campaign of 2012: Abram Powell

Saw this ad/video today from the Obama campaign, featuring Abram Powell, a deaf African-American auto worker from Michigan.  I like how specific it is to his life--it's not a generic disability message--and it's full of photos, and we see him speaking to an audience in ASL, etc. 
Seen other ads, from any campaign, that focus on disability themes? Drop a link in comments.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Press Release: The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film

Check this out!  Full press release is here.

Release Date: 7/24/2012

TCM to Examine Hollywood's Depiction of People with Disabilities in The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film in October  
Lawrence Carter-Long Joins TCM's Robert Osborne for Historic Month-Long Film Exploration, Presented in Collaboration with Inclusion in the Arts  
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will dedicate the month of October to exploring the ways people with disabilities have been portrayed in film. On behalf of Inclusion in the Arts, Lawrence Carter-Long will join TCM host Robert Osborne for The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film. The special month-long exploration will air Tuesdays in October, beginning Oct. 2 at 8 p.m. (ET).

TCM makes today’s announcement to coincide with the 22nd anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) on July 26. And in a first for TCM, all films will be presented with both closed captioning and audio description (via secondary audio) for audience members with auditory and visual disabilities.

The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film features more than 20 films ranging from the 1920s to the 1980s. Each night's collection will explore particular aspects, themes, or types of disability, such as blindness, deafness and psychiatric or intellectual disabilities. In addition, one evening of programming will focus on newly disabled veterans returning home from war.

TCM's exploration of disability in cinema includes many Oscar®-winning and nominated films, such as An Affair to Remember (1957), in which Deborah Kerr's romantic rendezvous with Cary Grant is nearly derailed by a paralyzing accident; A Patch of Blue (1965), with Elizabeth Hartman as a blind white girl who falls in love with a black man, played by Sidney Poitier; Butterflies Are Free (1972), starring Edward Albert as a blind man attempting to break free from his over-protective mother; and Gaby: A True Story (1987), the powerful tale of a girl with cerebral palsy trying to gain independence as an artist; Johnny Belinda(1948), starring Jane Wyman as a "deaf-mute" forced to defy expectations; The Miracle Worker (1962), starring Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan and Patty Duke as Helen Keller; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), with Jack Nicholson as a patient in a mental institution and Louise Fletcher as the infamous Nurse Ratched; The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), the post-War drama starring Fredric March, Myrna Loy and real-life disabled veteran Harold Russell; and Charly (1968), with Cliff Robertson as an intellectually disabled man who questions the limits of science after being turned into a genius.

The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film also features several lesser-known classics ripe for rediscovery, including the atmospheric Val Lewton chiller Bedlam (1946), the intriguing blind-detective mystery Eyes in the Night (1942); A Child is Waiting (1963), with Burt Lancaster and Judy Garland; the British family drama Mandy (1953); and a bravura performance by wheelchair user Susan Peters in Sign of the Ram (1948).

Each year since 2006, TCM has dedicated one month toward examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed in the movies. Several of the programming events have centered on Race and Hollywood, with explorations on how the movies have portrayed African-Americans in 2005, Asians in 2008, Latinos in 2009, Native Americans in 2010 and Arabs in 2011. TCM looked at Hollywood's depiction of gay and lesbian characters, issues and themes in 2007.

"The Projected Image: A History of Disability in Film is a valuable opportunity to take a deeper look at the movies we all know and love, to see them from a different perspective and to learn what they have to say about us as a society," said Osborne. "We are very proud to be working with Inclusion in the Arts on this important exploration. And we are especially glad to have Lawrence Carter-Long of the National Council on Disability with us to provide fascinating, historical background and thought-provoking insight on how cinematic portrayals of disability have evolved over time."

"From returning veterans learning to renegotiate both the assumptions and environments once taken for granted to the rise of independent living, Hollywood depictions of disability have alternately echoed and influenced life outside the movie theater," said Carter-Long, who curated the series. "Twenty-two years after the passage of the ADA and over a century since Thomas Edison filmed 'The Fake Beggar,' TCM and Inclusion in the Arts provide an unprecedented overview of how cinematic projections of isolation and inspiration have played out on the silver screen – and in our lives. When screened together, everything from The Miracle Worker to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest reveals another layer where what you think you know is only the beginning."

Friday, July 20, 2012

Reconstructing Lives (Edinburgh, until February 2013)

Current exhibit at Edinburgh Castle: 

National War Museum
Fri 9 March 2012 - February 2013
Free with admission to Edinburgh Castle

From the official description:
"Reconstructing Lives takes a fascinating and moving look at the experiences of those who have lost limbs in war, whether military or civilian, and the technology which helps rebuild their lives....On display you'll find prosthetics, ranging from a 16th century iron hand to  a modern i-limb hand developed by Touch Bionics."

Here's a report with photos
, by someone who visited the exhibit.  And here are blog entries about the exhibit, by museum staffers.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CFP: Commemorating the Disabled Soldier (Ypres, Belgium, 4-6 November 2013)

[From H-Disability]

Call for papers

Commemorating the disabled soldier: Comparative approaches to the history of war, disability and remembrance, 1914-1940

International conference (Ypres, Belgium, 4th-6th November 2013) & special issue First World War Studies

Organized/edited by Prof. Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven), Dr. Martina Salvante (Trinity College Dublin) & Prof. Julie Anderson (University of Kent) – with the financial support of the Province West-Flanders, the In Flanders Fields Museum, the Centre d’Histoire des Sociétés, des Sciences et des Conflits & the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders.

2014 will mark 100 years since the outbreak of the Great War. On the occasion of this important anniversary the Centre for the History of Education of the KU Leuven (Belgium), the Centre for War Studies of Trinity College Dublin (Ireland) and the Centre for the History of Medicine of the University of Kent (United Kingdom) propose to organize an international conference aimed at reflecting on the impact of that specific event on soldiers’ bodies and minds. Millions of men all over the globe, in fact, returned home limbless, sightless, deaf, disfigured or mentally distressed.

In the last decades disability history has attracted an increasing interest in the scholarly community, thus becoming a well-established field, which has been highlighting, among others, the experiences of impaired people, medical and rehabilitative techniques, charitable institutions and welfare measures, public reception and private emotions. The First World War has somehow represented a watershed both in the visibility and the treatment of impairment and disablement owing to the massive amount of men who suffered physical injuries or mental disorder symptoms as a consequence of the conflict. These men happened, therefore, to embody the destructiveness of war and performed as human and living ‘sites of memory’. Because of their heralded heroism in the battlefields, shattered soldiers, however, were commonly considered worthy and in need of an (economic and medical) assistance that disabled civilians had not experienced beforehand. In spite of such considerations and of the yet numerous studies focusing on the interrelation between war and disablement (Julie Anderson, Joanna Burke, Ana Carden-Coyne, Deborah Cohen, David Gerber, Sabine Kienitz, Marina Larsson just to mention few), there has never been organized so far an international conference dealing exclusively with such a topic in an historical and comparative perspective.

Disabled veterans have always been involved in the commemorations of the Great War, but they have never been the focal point of any celebration. That is why we believe that the upcoming centenary of 2014 may provide us with an important opportunity to reflect upon the impact of war on the individual lives of those (and their families) who came back impaired, as well as on the institutions (charities, governmental agencies, ministries, associations, etc.) taking charge of their care and assistance during and after the conflict. Hence, we’d like to explore the question of the political, social, medical and cultural legacies of war disability in postwar society. The conference as well as the special issue will be specifically interested in strengthening comparative and transnational approaches. Contributions on rather unknown case studies and geographical/national areas are especially welcomed.

The gathering of international scholars coming from different countries would be, therefore, the occasion for in-depth discussions, reviews of previous studies, and outlining of future research perspectives. Potential topics might include, but are not limited to: medicine/surgery and treatment, rehabilitation and vocational retraining, associations and self-advocacy, charities and care-giving, war pensions, experience and memory, visual and textual representation (of the disabled themselves), suffering and pain, the place and function of the disabled body at inter-war commemorative activities, the international shaping of a global discourse on the mutilated body, the influence of war-related discourse on the over-all care for the disabled in general etc. Although the main conference will be focused on the First World War the call for papers, however, also is open for contributions that deal with the impact of subsequent conflicts on the soldier’s body and mind.

Besides the organization of an international conference which will be held on November 4th-6th 2013 the organizers also envisage first of all a special issue in the International Journal of the Society for First World War Studies. The Editor-in-chief already has approved the idea and the issue would be published in 2014. Furthermore, the organizers aim at publishing a book that would gather some/all of the papers presented at the conference. That would be the first book presenting a wide array of (trans)national cases on the subject of disability and the Great War, by getting together, thus, diverse hypotheses, methodologies and sources; In this way it would make European scholars as well as European citizens aware of the existence of disabled soldiers from the Great War and their particular place in the upcoming centennial celebration.

Practical & financial information

We are very pleased to announce that we will be able to accept and reimburse 13 scholars a sum of maximum 500 euro’s to cover their travel expenses to and from Ypres/Belgium where the conference will be held. Besides that the organizational committee will also pay for the accommodation (2 nights). Included also is a visit to the world famous and recently renovated In Flanders Fields Museum as well as a guided tour on the second day to the Western front line.

Please do also note that after the international conference “Commemorating the disabled soldier” will be ended, there will be another conference organized dealing especially with the relation between medicine and the Great War. Closely linked to this event two exhibitions will take place in Ghent and Ypres on the history of psychiatry and medicine in relation to the Great War. Unfortunately we will not be able to pay for additional nights.

Time line & deadlines

Submission of abstract and short CV: December 1st 2012 – Abstract=600 words/CV=Maximum 20 lines
Letter of acceptance (abstract): January 2013
First draft of the manuscript: June 1st 2013
Comments by the editors: September 1st 2013
Conference at Ypres: November 4th-6th 2013
Second draft of the manuscript: December 1st 2013
Final manuscript for First World War Studies: February 1st 2014

Submission of abstracts

Abstracts containing no more than 600 words and a CV of no more than 20 lines should be sent to before December 1st 2012.

Looking forward to some thought provoking contributions as well as fruitful discussion,

The editorial committee,
Pieter Verstraete, Martina Salvante & Julie Anderson

Monday, June 25, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #83 is up now!

Go visit Never That Easy for a "Happy Arbitrary Day" collection of diverse links and contributions around no particular theme--which is rather novel for the Disability Blog Carnival!  The July edition, #84, is scheduled to be hosted at Stream of Caitlinness--more details about that one as they become available!  Thanks as always to the hosts, contributors, commenters, readers, and linkers of the Disability Blog Carnival; it takes a community to maintain a vibrant blog carnival for over five years.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Louis "Big Louie" Moilanen (c1885-1913)

Louis Moilanen, portrait
image description:  photograph of a very
tall man in formal wear, holding a top hat,
posed next to a chair
Louis Moilanen
Let me see you smile. Do not spurn me. Looking for some one to love. Let’s get acquainted. Introduce me to yourself.

---The text on the business card of Louis Moilanen, while he was with the circus

Louis Moilanen was born in Finland, and came to America when he was four years old, with his parents.   They were a farming family in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  The child soon became as tall as an average man, and then taller still.  By his teen years, special clothing and shoes had to be made for the boy.  He worked at the copper mines nearby, hauling timbers, until his size made that unmanageable--mines were built for smaller bodies.  As an adult who was at or above eight feet in height (as usual, reports vary), he joined the Ringling Brothers circus for three seasons.  Upon his father's death, Louis immediately returned to the family farm to help his mother.

Louis Moilanen worked as a bartender, and was elected justice of the peace for Hancock MI, which is some evidence of his community's respect for the young man.  He was just 27 when he died from tubercular meningitis, in 1913.  Of course, there had to be a specially-built coffin for Moilanen, and it took eight pallbearers to carry him to his rest. 

The 100th anniversary of Moilanen's death is coming up next year, and there are plans to put an 8'3" marker at his grave, to commemorate the centennial.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

June 13: Infante Philip, Duke of Calabria (1747-1777)

Infante Philip, Duke of Calabria (1747-1777)
An 18c. portrait of a young blond boy, standing,
wearing ornate dress, and a red sash

Ever heard of the Infante Philip?  He had a lot of names.  He was born and baptized in the Kingdom of Naples, as Filippo Antonio Gennaro Pasquale Francesco de Paula.  His title from birth was Duke of Calabria, because he was the Heir Apparent of the Kingdom of Naples, son of the king.  He was named for his grandfather, King Philip V of Spain.  His birth was much heralded, coming as it did after five girl babies, in a world that valued sons, and especially firstborn royal sons, so much more.   A beautiful fan was painted to commemorate his birth.  But Philip would never rule a kingdom. 

Philip, son of King Charles, grandson of King Philip, was born with disabilities that became more apparent as he grew.  His head was large for his body; he had seizures; he did not learn to speak.  Witnesses said he didn't easily make eye contact.  He was raised with his siblings and tutored with his younger brother, Charles.  When Philip was twelve, a group of doctors and officials were charged with determining if he was competent to reign; they watched him for two weeks, and said no, Philip cannot fulfill that inherited role. 

So, as a young man, relieved of the right and obligation to be king, Philip, Duke of Calabria, lived in palaces at Capodimonte and Caserta.   He was not hidden; his regular public appearances were important for clarifying the reasons behind his younger brothers' positions.   He apparently enjoyed eating and drinking, and a particular quirk was mentioned in one account:  he enjoyed having gloves put on his hands--layers and layers of gloves, finger by finger, sometimes more than a dozen layers of gloves on each hand.  (I wonder what today's occupational therapists would make of that!  Was there a special case of Philip's glove collection, numbered by size, so they would nest just right?)  Into adulthood, palace staff had some difficulty keeping Philip from "embracing" women at the court; they tried to keep him away from women, but he learned to slip away. 

Philip, Duke of Calabria, died in the fall of 1777, from smallpox.  He was thirty.  He's buried in Naples, at the Church of Santa Chiara.  I wish I knew that when I visited Naples several years ago; I might have gone to pay my respects.

UPDATE April 2015:  I found a mention of Infante Philip in a 1770 Pennsylvania newspaper; evidence of how widespread knowledge of his disability was beyond Naples.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #83, call for submissions

The June edition of the Disability Blog Carnival will be hosted at Never That Easy on June 25, and there's a post there right now with the call for submissions...
about anything disability related your little heart desires: an old post that's a particular favorite of yours that you wish more people had seen, a brand, shiny new post that you're going to write specifically for the Carnival, a rant, a rave, a list  - whatever floats your particular boat. 
Now seriously, folks, that's a call that anyone can respond to! (Go read the rest, including a good reminder to make your blog as accessible as possible if you're participating, to welcome a diverse range of carnival goers.)    Leave NTE a link over there, or here, by June 23, and watch what happens.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

how i got into this

language, originally uploaded by Edu-Tourist.

In the early 1990s while a graduate student at Penn State in the beginning stages of conducting research on and with the local disability community, I discovered The Disability Rag. A monthly news magazine edited by Mary Johnson and published by Advocado Press in Louisville, Kentucky, the "Rag" as it was affectionately known, would be sitting in the waiting area while I was visiting various Pennsylvania CILs. Once the magazine had me in its grips I found myself seeking out old copies like it was manna from heaven. Disability Rag was funny (in a sarcastic sort of way) and provocative.

While perusing its pages, I was learning a new language. The Disability Rag offered a broad perspective on the activist disability rights community and was only matched in its power by the similarly provocative Mouth. Shorted from the original title 'This Brain has a Mouth,' it was another snarky newsy that wore its message on its sleeve. Mouth's principal aim was to provoke so-called liberal-minded health and social services professionals. Disability Rag's audience was broader - it included government bureaucrats as well as budding academics such as myself.

These publications gave me the satisfaction of knowing that I wasn't entirely off base (or on remote earth orbit). Rather was the world around me that was spinning further and further off its axis.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

BADD 2012: History is still happening

A day late--I was hoping something would go up on DSTU yesterday, but as it hasn't, I'll write this, rather than missing a year of BADD.  To read our past six, more punctual entries, see 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011.  The official list of contributions for BADD 2012 is growing at the Goldfish's blog, and you can follow the @BADDtweets account on Twitter for updates.

A few years ago, I started a Flickr group for disability history images--called, cleverly enough, Disability History.  Today it contains over 200 images contributed from libraries and personal collections, including images of family life, activism, art, technology, war--all topics I was hoping it might address.  It's true that most of them are black-and-white, or rather that warm sepia tone that makes the past look maybe a little rosier than it should.  But some are in color, because history didn't stop with the invention of color film, and indeed, history is still happening.  I certainly welcome contributions to the growing collection of recent disability history images there--we could especially use more images from non-US/UK contexts.  Here's a sampling of the generous additions so far, by the Flickr users credited in each caption:

Lilibeth Navarro leads a Not Dead Yet protest in Hollywood, on a sunny March day in 2005, 
against the film "Million Dollar Baby" (which went on to win best picture).  In the image, several protestors 
in power chairs roll past stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, with walking protestors behind them.  
(I'm just barely visible at the way back.)  Photo by Cathy Cole.

Candid undated snapshot from shows three people.  The young man at rear, left, is violinist Itzhak Perlman, 
smiling and flashing a peace sign; his arm crutches are both visible.  The other two people are not identified; 
one is an young Asian woman, and one is an older white man with a mustache.  
Photo from the account of Erin Corda, who writes, "I found this 120 color transparency of 
Issaac Perlman while clean out my fathers sheet music cabinet."
Informal snapshot from the 1960s, shows a smiling blonde little girl with glasses, a green print dress 
with very white collar and cuffs; white socks and black maryjanes.  She's standing outdoors, in front of blooming flowers and a stone wall.  Photo from the account of Joshua Black Wilkins, who writes, "My aunt Karen. 
Who had Downs Syndrome."

Art piece by Al Shep, titled clinical waste / institutionalisation, which addresses the history of asylums.  
In the image, two trash bins are marked with stenciled block lettering and images.  The trash bin on the left says 
"Empty Unreal Unable to Feel" with the face of a woman labeled "Annie, May 1900 Melancholia Recovered"
the larger blue bin on the right is stenciled with a definition of "institution" (the wording wraps around the bin so 
 we can only read part of the definition, with words like structure, social, behaviour, community, 
permanence, rules).  Other images of the project are here.  Photo by Al Shep.

A portrait of Jack Smith, of Rhodell, West Virginia, made by photographer Jack Corn in 1974; he is a white man in his early 40s with sandy hair.  His arms are crossed, showing his watch and wedding ring; he does not have legs.  Jack Smith was disabled in mining accident, and became active with the United Mine Workers Union during his eighteen-year struggle for worker's compensation.  Photo from the US National Archives, Documerica set, in Flickr Commons.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

BADD 2012 is upon us!

The logo for Blogging Against Disablism Day, BADD
The logo for Blogging Against Disablism Day
It's year 7 for Blogging Against Disablism Day, and The Goldfish has all the details for getting involved on 1 May.  Also follow BADDTweets on Twitter for developments.  DSTU will try to have something for our seventh entry in the annual event--stay tuned about that.  But go on over and have a look at who else will be contributing!  The posts should start going up soon, as May 1 starts arriving in various places...

Friday, April 06, 2012

postnuclear and silicon subjectivities

I am currently in the middle of writing a proposal-writing (bookshelf). The project concerns best practices in consumer health librarianship however I hope to frame the work with a consideration of the broader social context. These two works might be thought of as models for the sort of critical analysis that I enjoy. But they also suggest background issues - environmental consciousness and holistic health practice - that would need to be taken into consideration when considering appropriate LIS approaches.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Dilyn y Fflam

We will have come of age when the media criticise our performances and are negative about us in the same way as they are for other sportspeople rather than constantly praising us as being ‘brave’. Paralympians are achievers who do not necessarily wish to be portrayed constantly as ‘overcoming adversity’.”

--Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson

This quote (and one of Dame Tanni's racing chairs) is part of an exhibit at the National Library of Wales, "Following the Flame" (Dilyn y Fflam), which opened over the weekend. The exhibit is about Olympic history, in anticipation of the 2012 London Games, and has several focuses or themes, including Welsh athletes, and paralympians. Simon Richardson was the guest at the opening. There are photos at the NLW's Facebook page; looks worth a visit.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Call for links, April edition of Disability Blog Carnival: "Change"

The call for links on the theme of change is up now at -- here are the main details:
Disability is (often) not a static condition; it changes over time, gets better and worse, and your coping skills adjust accordingly. Write about some of the changes that in your life, either that have affected your disability, or that has caused your disability to affect your life in new ways. These may be disability-related or not; for me, the last year has brought changes both because of a change in medication (disability-related) and a change in my living arrangements (not disability-related). Any changes are fair game; broad interpretations of the theme are encouraged.

Submissions are due April 25th. ...To submit a post, just leave a link in the comments of this post - anonymous comments are allowed - or email me at Your submissions do not have to be new posts. Feel free to submit older essays or posts; however, I'd prefer if they have not previously been submitted to the disability blog carnival. ...The carnival is open to both people with disabilities and allies.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #82 is UP NOW!

Visit I'm Not My Disease for the latest link roundup, this time with the theme "Firsts." New bloggers, longtime bloggers, all have a first post, so this is a well-attended carnival edition--go check it out.

April's edition of the Disability Blog Carnival will be hosted at tuned for details on that, as they become available. (Avendya hosted Disability Blog Carnival #63 there in February 2010, so this is a return engagement of sorts.)

Thanks to all hosts, contributors, linkers, commenters, and readers who make the Disability Blog Carnival work!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Call for links, March edition of the Disability Blog Carnival: "Firsts"

The call is up at I'm Not My Disease for the March edition of the Disability Blog Carnival:
I wanted to make this easy to join in. We are such a diverse group. What we all have in common is blogging so I would love everyone to connect in this Disability Carnival with their first blog post.
If for any reason that option doesn't appeal or work for you, you're invited to spin an entry from some of the other meanings of "first," helpfully offered at the call. Closing date is March 10! So make this first on your list of wonderful things to do soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #81 is up NOW!

And it's "all about the love"---as fits the date (it's still Valentine's Day here in California). Dave Hingsburger hosted the February edition, about loving the stuff that makes life work--accessibility symbols, service dogs, a power chair, big jackets with pockets...and then veers into ruminations on cyborgs, gratitude, and friendship. I love when a host highlights the connections between many diverse posts, and Dave certainly does that.

How would you like to give it a try? We're currently needing hosts for several months in 2012, including March... and April.... so if you don't want to see the carnival go quarterly for a while, now's the time to volunteer! Or if you'd like to gather your wits for later in the year, that's cool too, you can reserve a month in the fall or winter right now and have plenty of time to plan and dream about your edition.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Disability Blog Carnival #80 is up NOW!

Emma at Writer in a Wheelchair put the latest Carnival edition up on Wednesday--my fault that it's not getting announced here sooner. Go check out her collection of recent links around the theme "Words."

One of the contributions to the 80th Disability Blog Carnival comes from Dave Hingsburger, who is hosting the 81st edition this month at his blog, Rolling Around in my Head. Here's his call for links:
I'd like the Blog Carnival to focus on the love we have for the things that make the world accessible for us.

Like the Blue Wheelchair Guy ... the little hottie all sexy in his chair ... or like ... your hot pink hearing aids or your flashing yellow crutch or you princess pink wheelchair. Or even something like my plain old black hospital style wheelchair. Sometimes I smile when I wake up and see my chair waiting patiently beside the bed to welcome me into my day and into my world. I feel, in those moments, real affection for the thing. More than that when I'm in it it becomes part of me, a real amazing part of me.

So, that's the challenge. Send me blog posts to with 'Blog Carnival' in the re line. Or post the link here in the comments section. I'd like to have these in by February 10. Thanks!
That's right, you have just a week to declare your love.

Want to host an edition of the Carnival in 2012? There are still slots available!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Have you ever....?

So I've seen this idea twice recently, in other contexts... a tire with text or art carved into the treads. Here it is at the blog Letterology, in a detail from an illustration from 19c. Paris. The rider has a tank of ink attached to the back of his three-wheeled cycle, to continuously coat the tires and print words on the pavement as he rides... detail from a 19c. printInk would probably make this an illegal device in a lot of cities; but that post also links to a vimeo video, called "Tricycle Calligraphy," where Nicholas Hanna is doing a very similar thing in China, but with water as his "ink"--the lettering is only visible until it dries.

I also saw some pretty carved tires on Pinterest--by this artist, though I see from google image search that there are several folks carving used automobile tires:

So maybe you're getting the idea of my question. Has anyone ever carved images or words into wheelchair tires, so as to leave a legible or at least artistic trail when the tires are wet (with water, with ink, with paint, etc.)? I don't imagine it would be an everyday thing--wheelchair tires have to be working tires, and these don't look like they'd be very functional or durable in the longterm. But maybe for an occasion? A protest? A celebration? Might need to be a more concise message than an automobile tire's, given the smaller surface. (Note, however, that the two tires in the upper image above have different slogans, to make a longer overall text.) Certainly folks have worn shoes with custom treads for various purposes (here are some flipflops with custom soles, for leaving sand imprints); I'm wondering if anyone has made or used a custom-treaded wheelchair tire, similar to the ideas above.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

January 17: John Stanley (1712-1786)

[visual description: a portrait of composer John Stanley, apparently in middle age, wearing a white powdered wig and a brass-buttoned coat; his eyes are noticeably scarred]

Born on this date 300 years ago today, in London, English composer John Stanley (best click that link before or after Wikipedia goes dark on 18 January). Stanley was blind after a fall in early childhood. The boy turned out to be a musical prodigy while studying with the organist at St. Paul's Cathedral, and, at age 11, was appointed organist at All Hallows Church in Bread Street, a paid position. At fourteen he became organist at St. Andrews in Holborn, and at age 17 he completed a Bachelor of Music degree at Oxford.

Stanley married his copyist's sister, Sarah, a sea captain's daughter. He spent most of his career as organist to the Society of the Inner Temple. Handel was a frequent visitor to the church, to hear Stanley play. The admiration was returned: Stanley directed many Handel oratorios. Stanley's own baroque compositions were many and varied, from an opera to three volumes of organ music. (There are audio files of several Stanley compositions for organ at this site.) He was also elected governor of a Foundling Hospital, which mostly involved his advising the staff on hiring music teachers, and organizing fund-raising concerts.

Stanley's auditory memory and sensitivity were much remarked upon: it was reported that he never forgot a voice, and that he could judge the size of a room by sound. He also, apparently, had an adapted set of playing cards, with tactile markings at the corners, so that he could play whist with guests. Unfortunately for historians of such things, his family auctioned off all his possessions within weeks after he died, including his manuscripts and instruments.

Here's a YouTube video (which is really only a still image of an album cover) of John Stanley's Allegro (V) from Concerto op.2 no.1 in D Major:

I haven't discovered if there are any events marking his 300th birthday, but now we've marked it at DS,TU, anyway. And this early music editor blogger plans to produce some editions of Stanley's concertos this year.


In comments, Sue Schweik added the very exciting news that a UC-Berkeley musicology student, John Prescott, recently completed a dissertation about John Stanley.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sighing again

So let me get this straight...

If parents walk into a children's hospital and ask for a highly unconventional series of surgeries to remove healthy tissue and organs, limiting their daughter's growth... a series of surgeries that would never be performed on a nondisabled child... the answer is, fine, because she's developmentally disabled?

BUT, if parents walk into a children's hospital and ask for a very standard surgery to treat an organ that isn't functioning properly, a surgery that will improve their daughter's health and very probably prevent an early death... a surgery that is routinely performed on nondisabled children... the answer is no way, because she's developmentally disabled?

Got it.

(Wolf-Hirschhorn syndrome is caused by a partial chromosomal deletion--just like my son's (unnamed) diagnosis, only it involves chromosome 4 instead of chromosome 7. Chromosomal anomalies can cause a whole array of anatomical and physiological differences that would complicate a surgery, or make it riskier, and I'd certainly expect those particular complications and risks to be explained to me in the planning stages of a surgery. But that's not why Amelia is being disqualified, according to her mother's story.)

Barriers Bridges and Books
has a compilation of links about this story. Stephen Drake is also on the case.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Call for links, January Disability Blog Carnival: "Words"

Emma at Writer in a Wheelchair was the first to claim hosting duties for the Disability Blog Carnival in 2012. And now she has the call for submissions for January's edition up:

this year I've decided that a focus word might be a good thing to have along with my goals for the year. And the word I've chosen is Courage.

For the carnival this time round I thought it would be interesting to know what other people's words are.

Have you come up with a word of the year?

What words do you really hate?

Or like?

Does disability shape your view of language or even individual words?

Those are a few ideas that I came up with for the carnival but I can wait to see what others think of!

Submissions can be left in comments here, tweeted to me @FunkyFairy22 or emailed to if you email please put carnival or similar in the subject so I know it's not spam

The carnival will be on Tues 31st Jan and ideally I would like entries by Sun 29th please.