Cognitive Disability Conference: Podcasts Available

This painting of a sunflower was used by the conference on their website and in other materials.  It was painted by artist Guido Mote who suffers from a cognitive disability as a result of head trauma.  The style is vaguely reminiscent of Van Gogh.

This painting of a sunflower was used by the conference on their website and in other materials. It was painted by artist Guido Mote who suffers from a cognitive disability as a result of head trauma. The style is vaguely reminiscent of Van Gogh. (Note that "suffers" is used here to fully reflect the summary given on the original site. It is not meant to perpetuate questionalble terminology, only draw attention to it. Click the image for context.)

At the end of September, Stony Brook University hosted a conference titled Cognitive Disability: A Challenge to Moral Philosophy.  This three day event featured prominent philosophers from a wide range of disciplines, including Peter Singer, Ian Hacking, and Martha Nussbaum.  Fortunately, for anyone unable to attend (and anyone who attended but whose memory is less than perfect), it appears as though ALL of the lectures and panel discussions were recorded and have since been released on the conference website as podcasts all of which can be accessed from this page.

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15 thoughts on “Cognitive Disability Conference: Podcasts Available

  1. Pingback: A chache of podcasts « Feminist Philosophers

  2. No one has yet made any critical comments about the roster for this conference, but I’m going to do so. I would like to know when disability theorists, activists, and our allies came to regard it as beneficial, indeed, laudable, to have Peter Singer and Jeff McMahan speak about disabled people, especially cognitively disabled people. Of course, they are “big names” and can draw a crowd. But why is that? I would argue that it is because they produce, reproduce, and sustain dominant misunderstandings about disabled people and have built their careers in part by doing so. We know what those views are, and we aren’t about to change them no matter how much they are “challenged”.

    Giving this kind of attention to nondisabled white, male bioethicists whose awful, dominant views about disabled people are in the public domain (and quite familiar to many of us) serves to further marginalize the work of authors in Disability Studies who are attempting to unravel the misunderstandings and prejudices the views of the former entail for concrete human beings; it marginalizes disabled theorists; it marginalizes feminist disability theorists. These latter authors are not only critical of dominant views about cognitively disabled people, but many of them also speak from personal experience. Was Dan Goodley (UK) asked to participate in this conference? What about Cal Montgomery (US)? Or Simone Aspis (UK)? All of them have written extensively and eloquently about being variously labelled as “retarded”, “autistic,” and so on. They are the “experts” who should have comprised the “Experts Panel” at the conference. Ah, but they are not philosophers, you say. Well, despite what the description of this post indicates, several of the people who spoke at this conference are not professional philosophers. And in fact, Cal did study academic philosophy until inaccessibility forced her to withdraw from it. Then again, the criteria for inclusion in the programme seems to have been “who can draw the largest crowd?” Indeed, some of the so-called big names on the programme have (as far as I know) written only a chapter about, or one or two papers on, cognitive disability. Dan Goodley, on the other hand, has written several books about learning difficulties (the term used in the UK) and Cal Montgomery has had a consistent discourse on it in various forums, most notably The Disability Rag, which is a cornerstone of the American disabled people’s movement. In short, I think it’s, well, in a word, scandalous that this conference has been uncritically promoted on this blog.

  3. One more thing: I hope the description of the image that accompanies this post will be revised, for the phrase “suffers” from a cognitive disability as a result of head trauma is ableist and offensive.

  4. Shelley,
    I did put this info up so people on this blog can debate it. So its not promoted on this blog but put up for discourse on this blog. This conference and many of the speakers have a very clear idea as to What Sorts of People Should There Be so I posted that vision. I can say every time I post that I hope for a discourse but may be wrongly so I assume that this network will discuss stuff without me mentioning it in every mail I put out.
    Cheers
    Gregor

  5. Shelley,
    the description and the image are from the conference webpage. So I can not revise it.
    But it tells the sentiment of the conference and the language can be debated also .
    And when people read the discourse between network members it might be instructional to others.
    Cheers
    Gregor

  6. Gregor,
    you are not the first person to have posted about the conference. As I recall, it has been promoted here by virtualjess and Spirit of the Time. I realize that not all of the speakers concur with Singer and McMahan, but the former has been mentioned more than once on this blog in regard to the conference and its merits. That, to me, is a form of advertisement or promotion.

  7. I must have not seen it or forgot about it. I was not aware it was already on the blog before. If it was already on it I should not have posted it as it was a duplication.

  8. No, you’re okay. It was posted a couple of times before the summer ended and then Spirit posted on it just after the weekend during which it took place. You were the first one to post the podcasts.

  9. Shelley,

    I’m surprised that you can bear to be complicit in such an evil enterprise as this blog represents! And that you could in fact draw even more attention to the naughty conference (and the naughtiest people speaking at it) by venting spleen here.

    I am, as usual, offended by the offense you take. Maybe we’ll just have to agree to out-offend each other.

  10. Spirit,
    I don’t think this is an evil enterprise, as you put it. I aimed to get people to think critically about what seems to have gone unnoticed or at least unmentioned. I have to say, however, that I find your repeated sarcastic and over-the-top responses to any (especially my) critical interventions on this blog rather irritiating. I’m not sure why you do it. Would you prefer this blog to remain an unengaging and unengaged notice board? Perhaps you should consider that some of us have been doing this sort of theoretical and activist work for a long time (decades even) and that we may have certain views on these matters that haven’t occured to you.

  11. I’d just prefer to see posts and comments on issues, rather than cast as directed barbs at those who are, after all, engaged in a collective enterprise. The final sentence of your last comment typifies just the kind of condescension that has cast a chill over the involvement of others in the blog, and that, on the whole, can’t really pass as aiming “to get people to think critically about what seems to have gone unnoticed or at least unmentioned”.

    Message, not messenger.

  12. Rob,
    would you please show me what exactly in my initial post is a “barb” at anyone particular on this blog? I mentioned you and Virtualjess in a subsequent post but that was to clarify something for Gregor. I think if you look back over the posts I have made in the past month, you will see that they are either cfs or newpaper articles.

  13. Rob,
    since you are a philosopher, I assume you place great value on evidence. Thus, I would appreciate if you were to give me some clear examples of when and how in my posts I have demonstrated condescension.

  14. Just in your last few comments, try, for the blog as a whole:

    “In short, I think it’s, well, in a word, scandalous that this conference has been uncritically promoted on this blog.”

    and, as I mentioned in the previous comment:

    “Perhaps you should consider that some of us have been doing this sort of theoretical and activist work for a long time (decades even) and that we may have certain views on these matters that haven’t occured to you.”

  15. Rob,
    I don’t think the remarks you cite above are sufficient to justify the remarks you’ve made about me. Recall this remark:
    “The final sentence of your last comment *typifies* just the kind of condescension that *has cast a chill over the involvement of others* in the blog:

    This remarks seems, to me at least, to suggest that there has been a historical development (“a chill”) that has resulted from my repeated gestures of condescension, a chill in other words that didn’t just occur last evening. Ditto with the second remarks you cite.

    (I find it interesting in fact that you suggest there has been a chill due to my involvement on the blog. On the contrary, it has seemed to me that there has been alot of activity from contributors as of late. I might also point out to you that the number of hits to the blog was approx 600per day when I joined this group, but is now upwards of 1200 per day.)

    With regard to the first remark, I’m glad you referred it to “the blog as a whole” because I was in fact meaning to imply that I myself had not previously raised any concerns about the roster of the conference. I meant my remarks last evening as a step to correcting that.

    With regard to the second remark you cite, I would like to say this: I don’t think it is condescending at all. I think that you should accept the fact that you are working with members of diverse communities whose knowledges have been suppressed and which you may be only beginning to incorporate and understand. That statement in no way violates the spirit of collective endeavour. That is a recognition of social and cultural differences and an acknowledgement of social power relations. Furthermore, it is no violation of collective activity to acknowledge that certain individuals have certain information, experience and knowledge that others don’t, by virtue of their life-paths, careers, and so on. I would not regard it as condescending if Dick Sobsey were to come on the blog and remark in some way that his understanding of the issues surrounding violence against disabled people was more intricate and deeper than my own. Dick has spent years doing that work; I have not. Nor do I think you would have a problem with Dick making a statement like that to you. Which brings to me my final remark in this comment and (since I expect a violent response from you) perhaps my last remark on this blog. I suggest that you are having a hard time dealing with criticism (perceived and actual) that has come from a woman. There’s a word (or several, actually) for that.

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