Modern Pursuit: Discussion

The final captioned videos from The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: questions from audience members, and responses from the panel. Questions from Rob Wilson, Michael Shaw, Anna Macquarrie, and Bruce Uditsky on vulnerability and trust in medicine, the disconnect with disability in medicine, ways in which parenthood is denied in contemporary society, the absence of true choice in many medical situations, and the systematic devaluation of people with disabilities are all discussed. And all with closed captioning. Enjoy

Connecting with others

Vulnerability, trust, and confrontation

Good people in medicine and the disconnect

The denial of parenthood and selective abortion

Going underground and true choice

Disability, individual autonomy, and systematic devaluation

For the full story, see this previous post.

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Vehmas and Sobsey commentaries: now captioned

Below are the short commentaries–now closed captioned–delivered by Professors Simo Vehmas and Dick Sobsey as part of a panel discussion on the theme The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of  Life.

Bioethical Reflections on Disability, Medicine, and Family Life (Simo Vehmas)

Decisions and Dishonesty in Medicine (Dick Sobsey)

Simo is one of Finland’s leading bioethicists who joined us for the panel discussion, while Dick is one of the world’s authorities on violence and disability and runs the ICAD blog.  The short panel presentations that are the basis for these commentaries–by Wendy Macdonald, Sam Sansalone, and Colleen Campbell–can be heard and viewed (now that they are also closed captioned)–in this post, which also contains more information about the event as a whole.  These should be useful to some of you for teaching, for community discussion, or just for private reflection on the ways in which eugenic or newgenic thinking can be found immersed in ongoing medical practices and cultures surrounding the treatment of people with disabilities.

Next up: the audience-panel interactions, which I’ll post in the next week.

Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection talks: now captioned

In October 2008, the What Sorts Network and the “From Archives to Activism” project in that network cosponsored a public dialogue, The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection, with three of our community partners: the Alberta Association for Community Living, the Canadian Association for Community Living, and Neighborhood Bridges. The event was held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, and was open to the public and filmed. It formed part of a series of public events we put on that continued on Friday and Saturday, including an invited symposium at the Western Canadian Philosophical Association on Philosophy, Eugenics, and Disability in Alberta and Places North that kicked off with this talk from Dick Sobsey, director of the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre at the University of Alberta and a leading authority on violence and disability. (We’re still in the process of moving from transcripts to captioning for these talks.)

The public dialogue began with some opening comments from our cosponsors, continued with short presentations from our community member panelists talking of their personal experiences with medicine, disability, and social services, and was rounded out by a series of interchanges between audience and panel. All videos now contain both transcripts and closed captioning (thanks to Jackie Ostrem for completing the work needed here), and the videos are also available directly on YouTube. Since the closed captioning has just been added, and will make the videos here more accessible for classroom and community use, we’re running them again on the blog in three or four chunks, the first of which is below and contains all of the short narrative stories at the core of the dialogue. Comments on the blog on any of these posts is still welcome, but we also hope that you’ll find these of interest and use down the track for individual reflection or group discussion. Each video is cut to “Youtube size”, i.e., less than roughly 10 minutes, which, apart from fitting the attention span of the Youtube generation, also packages the discussions here more aptly for classroom discussion.

Thanks to all participants: Anna Macquarrie, Bruce Uditsky, Dick Sobsey, Wendy Macdonald, Sam Sansalone, Colleen Campbell, Anne Hughson, and Simo Vehmas. And thanks to Grant Wang and Lee Ramsdell at the Arts Resource Centre at the University of Alberta for the filming and post-production work; to John Simpson for organizational assistance; and to Jackie Ostrem for the transcriptions and captioning.

Introduction (Anna Macquarrie and Bruce Uditsky)

My doctor, my child (Wendy Macdonald)

Living with trisomy 13, part I (Sam Sansalone)

Living with trisomy 13, part II (Sam Sansalone)

When disability meets social welfare (Colleen Campbell)

Disability, Individual Autonomy, and Systematic Devaluation

[This is the thirteenth post in a series highlighting a public dialogue held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, titled The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life. The dialogue was sponsored by the What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Alberta Association for Community Living. For further context, please see the introductory post in the series, which can be found here; we’ll string together all posts in this series when we have most / all of them up, or you can search by the category “Modern Pursuit” to get those already posted.]

At last, the final question and exchange, another one from Bruce Uditsky, with subsequent lively exchange, that follows on from the preceding pair of questions. Transcript below the fold.

Continue reading

Going Underground and True Choice

[This is the twelfth post in a series highlighting a public dialogue held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, titled The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life. The dialogue was sponsored by the What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Alberta Association for Community Living. For further context, please see the introductory post in the series, which can be found here; we’ll string together all posts in this series when we have most / all of them up, or you can search by the category “Modern Pursuit” to get those already posted.]

Here Anna Macquarrie from the CACL talks more openly about the history of eugenics and contemporary genetic testing. In Part 2, below the fold, there is some discussion of this, with Simo Vehmas resisting the linkage of eugenics with contemporary attitudes and practices, and some hearty discussion following from all–not everything can be heard here, but we’ve put what we could make out on the transcripts beneath the fold.

Is making the connection between past eugenic practices and contemporary practices, such as genetic testing for Down Syndrome, “playing the Nazi card”, as Simo suggests?

Going Underground and True Choice: Part 1

Note that there is no sound in the first 30-40 seconds of Part 1, which simply contains the title of the clip, the name of the speaker(s), and the location of the symposium, information that is provided in the beginning of this post. Continue reading

The Denial of Parenthood and Selective Abortion

[This is the eleventh post in a series highlighting a public dialogue held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, titled The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life. The dialogue was sponsored by the What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Alberta Association for Community Living. For further context, please see the introductory post in the series, which can be found here; we’ll string together all posts in this series when we have most / all of them up, or you can search by the category “Modern Pursuit” to get those already posted.]

Here is Bruce Uditsky, executive director of the Alberta Association for Community Living, on the hurt that people with developmental disabilities feel on being denied the right to parent, and on the kinds of choices that we allow in our society. The latter comments here reply to some of what Simo Vehmas said in his panel presentation, shown as “Bioethical reflections on disability, medicine, and family life” earlier in this series, and Simo makes a further reply, in turn, here. A transcript follows the video. Continue reading

Decisions and Dishonesty in Medicine

[This is the seventh post in a series highlighting a public dialogue held at the University of Alberta on October 23rd, 2008, titled The Modern Pursuit of Human Perfection: Defining Who is Worthy of Life. The dialogue was sponsored by the What Sorts Network, in conjunction with the Canadian Association for Community Living and the Alberta Association for Community Living. This series will bring forward the videos made of this event twice a week, roughly every Wednesday and Saturday–this one, since it’s brief, is a freebie! For further context, please see the introductory post in the series, which can be found here; we’ll string together all posts in this series when we have most / all of them up, or you can search by the category “Modern Pursuit” to get those already posted.]

Here Dick Sobsey gives some brief reflections on the panel presentations from Wendy, Sam, and Colleen that focus on parental autonomy, decision-making, and medical guidance. Parents believe that they have the right to make decisions about their present and future children, and that they do in fact have that right is part of the medical norm, as Simo Vehmas noted in his recent reflections here. But are they in fact given a real choice here? The stories we’ve heard so far, suggest some of the constraints on these choices. Maybe some of you have other stories or opinions to share? A transcript of the video follows the cut. Continue reading