Salon article: The “retarded” renaissance

By Lynn Harris (ST: with acknowledgement to be given to Lawrence Carter-Long)

“Never go full retard” was the catchphrase of the summer. Activist groups aren’t laughing. Should you be?

News     

Image of Ben Stiller playing “a retard” from a past Dreamworks marketing site.  patriciaebauer.com

Sept. 18, 2008 | When I was in fourth grade, someone you liked was a “good kid.” Someone you didn’t like was a “retard.” (Or, in the colorful patois of my native Boston, a “wicked retahd.” That, or this withering shorthand: “a wicked re.”) We did not use the term for the special-needs kids. They were “the special-needs kids.”

Basically, we used the word to describe any annoying person (or rule or homework assignment). There was also the timeless “loser,” of course, and the more ephemeral “dink” — “douche bag,” for its part, came later — but “retard,” and “retarded,” with all their variations, packed the most playground punch. And today, pop culture and the Twitterati, tirelessly mining those formative years for irony pay dirt, have spurred — for descriptive better or for derogatory worse, depending on whom you ask — a “retard” renaissance. Continue reading

Call for Contributions: Feminist Disability Studies and/in Feminist Bioethics

CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS

TO A SPECIAL ISSUE OF

 

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF FEMINIST

APPROACHES TO BIOETHICS (IJFAB)

Vol. 3, no. 2, Fall, 2010

 

From the Margins to the Center:

Feminist Disability Studies and/in Feminist Bioethics

 

Guest Editor,  Shelley Tremain

 

In recent years, work done in mainstream bioethics has been challenged by the emerging field of disability studies.  A growing number of disability theorists and activists point out that the views about disability and disabled people that mainstream bioethicists have articulated on matters such as prenatal testing, stem cell research, and physician-assisted suicide incorporate significant misunderstandings about them and amount to an institutionalized form of their oppression.  While some feminist bioethicists have paid greater attention to the perspectives and arguments of disabled people than other bioethicists, these perspectives and arguments are rarely made central.  Feminist disability theory remains marginalized even within feminist bioethics. 

 

This issue of IJFAB will go some distance to move feminist disability studies from the margins to the center of feminist bioethics by highlighting the contributions to and interventions in bioethics that feminist disability studies is uniquely situated to make. The guest editor seeks contributions to the issue on any topic related to feminist disability studies and bioethics, including (but not limited to): Continue reading

Call for Abstracts: Embodied Resistance: Breaking the Rules in Public Spaces

Call for Abstracts

Embodied Resistance: Breaking the Rules in Public Spaces

Co-Editors, Chris Bobel, University of Massachusetts Boston and Samantha Kwan, University of Houston

This edited collection will assemble scholarly yet accessibly written works that explore the dimensions of resistance to embodied taboos of all sorts. We are interested in pieces that describe and analyze the many ways that humans subvert the social constraints that deem certain behaviors and bodily presentations as inappropriate, disgusting, private and/or forbidden in various cultural and historical contexts. Empirical, historical, theoretical and narrative contributions are equally welcome. This book, intended as a supplemental text for use in undergraduate and graduate classrooms, aims to advance and deepen our understanding of the motivations, experiences and consequences associated with the bodies that break the rules through the (intersecting) lenses of gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, culture, religiosity, class and nation. Continue reading