Congratulations to the American Philosophical Association, which has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation to support PIKSI and other undergraduate diversity projects. See the full announcement at the link below.
The Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada has launched the ‘long awaited’ website on Friday Oct 24, 2014. You can explore the website now by typing in this URL: http://eugenicsarchive.ca/
BIG thanks to the technical team, Natasha Nunn (Tech team lead), Ben McMahen, and Colette Leung! Numerous Living Archives team members have contributed to the content.
In the weeks to come the site will be filled with more content as articles are still being returned from reviews and a few section are stil be worked on.
Please share the website and watch for new additions to come!
For 116 years, thousands of Aboriginal children in Alberta were sent to Indian Residential Schools funded by the federal government and run by the churches. They were taken from their families and communities in order to be stripped of language, cultural identity and traditions.
Canada’s attempt to wipe out Aboriginal cultures failed. But it left an urgent need for reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.
There were more Indian Residential Schools in Alberta than in any other province. The Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) is holding its Alberta National Event in Edmonton this year.
Come and share your truth about the schools and their legacy. Witness and celebrate the resilience of Aboriginal cultures.
(excerpt from TRC.ca)
Alberta National Event – March 27 – 30, 2014 will be held in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre 9797 Jasper Avenue. No registration needed to attend. Those wishing to provide a statement to the Commission may register onsite during the event.
You can download the program click here
On Thursday March 20 from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm at the University of Alberta, Lister Centre, Maple Leaf Room
Understanding the TRC: Exploring Reconciliation, Intergenerational Trauma, and Indigenous Resistance featuring:
Commissioner Dr. Wilton Littlechild
Dr. Rebecca Sockbeson
Dr. Ian Mosby
Dr. Keavy Martin
Moderated by Jodi Stonehouse
Reception 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm – Tea, bannock and berries. Event is free.
Gala Reading featuring:
Daniel Heath Justice
Anna Marie Sewell
Richard Van Camp
Friday, March 21 from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm in Humanities Centre L-1 (111th Street and Saskatchewan Drive)
Giveaways. Books for sale. Free Admission
You find this information and links to campus maps here
Future Past: Disability, Eugenics, & Brave New Worlds. A public symposium on the history and ongoing implications of eugenics ideologies and practices for people with disabilities.
Why do these issues matter? How can we address them in teaching and pedagogy, in policy and activism, and in art?
On November 1, 2013 at San Francisco State University, Seven Hill Conference Center from 9:00 am – 8:00 pm.
The Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada is co-sponsoring a conference, dinner and reception plus the screening of FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement. Conference organizers include: Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, and the Center for Genetics and Society.
Registration is free: geneticsandsociety.org/futurepast
Future Past is the result of a cross-national collaboration among advocates and academics interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the long and tangled relationship between disability and eugenics, and the contemporary implications of genetic technologies to the lives and futures of people with disabilities.
Program – November 1, 2013
9:00 – 9:15: Welcome
- Provost Sue Rossier, San Francisco State University
- Catherine Kudlick, Director, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability
9:15 – 9:30: Table Introductions
9:30 – 11:30: What? Eugenics and Disability: Past and Present
Many people are unaware of the history of eugenics movements in North America, yet they are disturbingly relevant today.
- Alexandra Minna Stern (moderator), Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Culture, and History at the University of Michigan.
- Marcy Darnovsky, Center for Genetics and Society
- Glenn SInclair, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada
- Nicola Fairbrother, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada
11:30 – 12:30 : Lunch
12:30 – 2:30: So What? The Consequences of Misremembering Eugenics
What are the social and ethical consequences of omitting eugenics from historical memory or misrepresenting it? What is the price of the pursuit of “human betterment” for reproductive and disability justice?
- Marsha Saxton (moderator), World Institute on Disability
- Rob WIlson, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, University of Alberta
- Troy Duster, Warren Institute for Law and Society Policy, University of California, Berkeley
- Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University
2:30 – 3:00: Break
3:00 – 5:00: Now What? Looking Ahead to Brave New Worlds
What is being done – and what can be done – to increase public and student understanding of the legacies of eugenics through teaching, activism and art?
- Milton Reynolds (moderator), Facing History and Ourselves
- Gregor Wolbring, Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, University of Calgary
- Kate Wiley, Lick-Wilmerding High School
- Patricia Berne, Sins Invalid
5:00 – 6:30: Dinner and Reception
6:30 – 8:00 Sneak-preview screening
FIXED: The Science/FIction of Human Enhancement
Producer/DIrector Regan Brashear will answer questions
In San Francisco, a group of Facing History and Ourselves students is spearheading a movement that could change public high school history classes for generations of future California teens. Their goal: to include California’s history with eugenics and sterilization in the state’s public high school curricula. To read more, see the original post.
Of course I don’t hate so called people with “special needs”; I hate the label “special needs”. I’m no fan of other forms of “politically correct” language (for example, visually impaired, partially sighted, or people with disabilities). But at least I can understand the motivations behind employing these terms. The word blind (to the uninformed) connotes the complete absence of sight. I would rather expand the widely-accepted meaning of the word blind, but I get the motivation behind introducing a term that suggests an inability to see very well without being completely blind. Similarly, I understand the desire to want to emphasize that the physical variation isn’t the entire person. I don’t like the way the phrase “people with disabilities” implies that the person possesses the disability rather than it being imposed by social factors, but we do wrong if we fail to acknowledge anything more about a person than the physical variation that results in disability, and “people first language” is trying to address that wrong.
That said, I can’t find worthwhile motivations behind the use of the term “special needs”, and I strongly reject the sentiment expressed by the term. What it implies is that there is a group of people who possess a set of needs that differ from… differ from whom? From those who are normal I suppose. What is overlooked by this attitude is the ways in which social factors (e.g., power and status) can shape needs and determine which ones get marked off as “special”.
There is a very funny and insightful Youtube cartoon video up by Seferin that covers terrain in philosophy that is not my own, but that raises some general issues that I’m very familiar with in graduate student education. It doesn’t have regular captions, but some accessibility is made possible here via the automatic translation program that Youtube is still putting through it’s paces–more on this below if you want to check it out). Here’s the video:
But MUCH funnier and insightful, and I think a minor work of genius, is Serefin’s recent follow up post:
Constructing this entirely from the comments on the first video is more than a nice touch. To understand it, of course, you’ll have to read Heidegger’s Being and Time. And who, really, has enough of either to do that … except a graduate student?
Direct access and captioning. Continue reading
As someone as interested as much in the sorts of people we as a society think valuable as in the processes that we use to produce more of those we value, and fewer of those we don’t, I was was struck by a brilliant post last week at Like a Whisper on a topic that might not be suspected of raising deep points about both these values and how we shape people to realize them: Sesame Street’s 40th anniversary. Like many people born in the past 50 or so years, I grew up on a steady diet of Sesame Street, initially in black and white in the back streets of Broken Hill, and later in full colour in the beach-laden northern suburbs of Perth.
I remember, quite vividly still, a particular episode that has made its way into family lore. My parents had decided that they needed to make a break from a gritty mining town in the outback of Western New South Wales for somewhere that at least had grass (really), or even water in visible supply, and took me on a trip with them east, touring through the eastern part of the state, through Tamworth (my first sight of real greenery), Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, and all the way up to Lismore, before torrential rainfall ended any more northerly ventures. While in Coffs Harbour, Sesame Street was doing its usual share of child-minding while my folks got on with other things. We were in some very cheap motel that included a coin-fed television, what we might think of as the early version of pay tv. Continue reading
Megablogstar (and What Sorts member) Gregor Wolbring has recently returned from the International Genetically Engineered Machine Competition, and has an interesting report over at his fortnightly column The Choice is Yours on IGEM 2008 that begins
IGEM is a competition that tries to address the question: “Can simple biological systems be built from standard, interchangeable parts and operated in living cells? Or is biology simply too complicated to be engineered in this way?” Its broader goals include:
- enabling the systematic engineering of biology;
- promoting the open and transparent development of tools for engineering biology; and
- helping to construct a society that can productively apply biological technology.
Gregor also supervised a team from Calgary in this year’s competition, and has broader reflections on IGEM and it’s connection to human practices (or lack thereof). You can get the whole shebang from Gregor right here.
Close-up photo of Chris Bell from the shoulders up. He is wearing a midnight blue t-shirt, rectangular glasses, silver hoop earrings, and has a thin moustache/goatee. There are books on the shelves of bookcases in the background.
“This is not a death sentence”
by Rebekah Jones
When Chris Bell found out he was HIV-positive, he went home, sat down and watched “Law and Order.” He didn’t cry or lash out at his partner who infected him, he said. He watched television and started his homework. “I had papers to grade,” said Bell, a post-doctorate research fellow and soon-to-be professor at Syracuse University. Eleven years after his diagnosis, at 6-foot-2 and 135 pounds, Bell’s emaciated figure proves how the infection plagues his body. His medicine makes him tired and sick, and he keeps losing weight.
Bell isn’t doing well health wise, but he’s pushing forward. He’s learned too much in his 34 years of living to just quit – giving up isn’t in him, he said. “This is not a death sentence; we’re all dying,” Bell said. “Nothing has changed but my level of awareness.” While the virus overwhelms his body, Bell continues to focus on what’s important to him: being an activist and an educator.
Bell’s first class as a professor at SU, CFE 600 (Disability, AIDS & U.S. Culture) starting Spring 2009, will be the only class at SU focused specifically on HIV and disability studies in American culture. His class will examine, critique and aim to redefine the way people think about disabled persons and HIV/AIDS patients. Read the entire story here: http://media.www.dailyorange.com/media/storage/paper522/news/2008/11/12/Feature/this-Is.Not.A.Death.Sentence-3538354.shtml
Acknowledgement to Beth Haller at Media dis and dat
Submission deadline: Jan. 1 2009
Projected publication date: Summer 2010
Co-editors: Emily Thornton Savarese, University of Iowa, and Ralph James Savarese, Grinnell College
We are looking for completed articles, from a disability studies perspective, on what the medical community refers to as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). We are especially interested in pieces that engage the so-called “low-functioning” end of the spectrum, where increasingly those presumed retarded and lacking social awareness are writing back to the empire of science. As the field of disability studies has theorized cognitive difference, it has had to refine its cherished social-constructionist approach, making sure to account for physiological distinctiveness in the organ of sensibility, a distinctiveness that has been interpreted in a myriad of ways, most quite prejudicial. We are interested in the burgeoning neurodiversity movement, which has self-consciously resisted such prejudicial interpretations, often revealing the “science” of autism to be anything but reliable and objective. How to talk about autistic difference? How to represent it? How to convey its gifts and challenges? Who can talk about it? What role should parents play in this representational arena? What role should teachers, doctors, researchers, therapists, media entities, and academics play? What kind of interdisciplinary approaches are needed to understand, respect, and even cherish autism? Continue reading
A one-day forum hosted by the Office of the Provost and the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies. The Office of the Provost and the Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies are sponsoring a one-day forum on Linguistic Human Rights and the Future of Sign Languages. This event will bring together leading scholars to discuss critical issues facing the future vitality of sign languages and linguistic diversity. The event is free and open to the entire university community.
Where: Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) atrium, Gallaudet University
When: Friday, October 24, 2008, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For the schedule of events and a list of guest speakers, go here:
Thanks to Dirksen Bauman for drawing the attention of the disability studies community to this important forum at Gallaudet.
PLEASE NOTE: The link in this post has been corrected.
The principles of Universal Design (UD) emerged from the disabled people’s/disability rights movement at least as early as the late 1960s. Initially, UD (or barrier-free design) was directed in large part to the development of architectural and infrastructural modifications such as curb-cuts which allow wheelchair users access to city streets, auditory beeping devices at traffic lights to inform blind pedestrians that lights have changed, and so on. In order to counter facile cost-benefit analyses aimed at undermining such measures, disability activists and theorists have long argued that UD improves the lives of all sorts of people, not just disabled constituents: for instance, parents pushing strollers or pedestrians carrying groceries benefit from curb-cuts and ramps ostensibly designed for wheelchair users. At one time directed toward reconfiguring the “built environment,” the principles of UD now underpin modifications in the design of ATMs, household appliances such as microwaves, computer software, and picture telephones so that universal access will one day be realized and not remain a mere slogan.
A “new aesthetic” of UD has been unfolding at Gallaudet University. The refurbishing of Gallaudet is not only aimed at improving human interface with the physical, or “built” environment. On the contrary, the new Gallaudet will be designed to accommodate a widening sense of deaf identity and the meaning of deafness. An article which appeared on the front page of the Washington Post describes some of these changes. Here is an excerpt:
“Sidewalks wide enough to accommodate pedestrians using sign language. Rounded corners and strategically placed reflective glass so people who cannot hear can see who’s coming and who’s behind them. Glass elevators so passengers can communicate with outsiders in case of emergency.” Read the full story here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/03/AR2008100303708.html
What does coming out suggest to you? Well, prepare to be surprised! This is a smart, funny short film created by the UK’s See Hear and directed by Louis Neethling that itself came out last year. Sign(s) of the times. Watch at least the first 90 seconds … and see if you can stop watching more.
What can one say, except that coming out is not always easy, even in the most sympathetic of families …
Hat tip to Disability Studies at Temple.
On Friday I read a new manifesto by Lennard Davis and David Morris: Biocultures Manifesto published in the New Literary History. While the assertions and insights may not be entirely novel to readers of this blog, their declarations, nonetheless, are spot on and because of the finesse and clarity with which they write, this manifesto will be part of the arsenal many of us will use for our teaching.
The manifesto covers the co-constitution of science and society, of fact and value, and of the great difficulties of making and grappling new knowledge. Probably one of my favorite sections is the following:
In the end, all branches of knowledge interpret. Interpretation isn’t all that they do, but it constitutes a massive common ground. Scientists set up experiments to generate data that they interpret. Literary critics interpret texts. Judges interpret the law. Sign language and interpreters ad translators transform one lanague into another … Wouldn’t we all benefit by learning the rules or norms by which various discourse produce and interpret their findings? Wouldn’t such knowledge help us improve our own perhaps distinctive interpretive norms and skills…. This learning, while not discord-free, offers a model for dialogue and holds out a promise that interpretative disagreements need no become occasions for violent conflict.
My only beef with the article is that, well, it is lives within walled garden. And I have to say, a manifesto behind gates is a little less of a manifesto. To say this, is not to blame the authors as we are often at the mercy of the journals. However, I think we do have a responsibility to put this issue out in the open and eventually start breaking down the walls.