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Sale ends tomorrow! Still time to join us for DRF event 6 – Tuesday 15th June Noon – 1pm. John Quinn discusses New Labour And The Disability Social Movement.

Date: 15th June 2021

Time: Noon – 1pm

Pressenter 1: John Quinn

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-5-tickets-157790428419

Talk 1 Title: New Labour And The Disability Social Movement

Abstract:

When the Labour Party – restyled by its then leader Tony Blair as ‘New Labour’ – won a landslide victory in the 1997 General Election, there were high hopes among many disabled people that this would lead to a fairer system. What can be called the ‘Disability Social Movement’ had grown during the previous 18 years when the Conservative Party had been in power. However, this movement was still seen as small and unimportant and the first specific legislation concerning disability discrimination had only been passed in 1995, whereas ones concerning race and sex discrimination had become law in 1965 and 1975 respectively.

Nevertheless a group previously seen as weak and mainly dependent on others had started flexing its muscles to agitate for more understanding and independence, basically demanding the chance to speak for themselves – even those who could not speak conventionally – rather than for assumptions to be made about their welfare. However, as with many civil rights movements, there was a plethora of power struggles, made more complicated by the ways that disability can limit people’s abilities – both physically and mentally – and the differing degrees to which this happens. There was also a battle between organisations ‘for’ disabled people (usually run by those without disabilities) and user-led ‘of’ groups, not least about which methods of campaigning were most effective.

My presentation will be looking at how successful (or not) the social movement was in influencing the New Labour government which won three General Elections under Blair and lasted until his successor Gordon Brown lost to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010. I will also be considering whether disability activism today has been influenced by Labour now having been out of power for over a decade.

About me: I am a former PhD student in Sheffield University’s politics department, having previously completed a research methods MA. Because of health problems – both physical and mental – I was unable to complete my doctorate but have decided to try and revisit it – initially with this presentation – just to prove that I can. Fingers crossed.

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Come and Join us for DRF Event 6 – Tuesday 15th June Noon – 1pm. John Quinn discusses New Labour And The Disability Social Movement.

Date: 15th June 2021

Time: Noon – 1pm

Pressenter 1: John Quinn

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-5-tickets-157790428419

Talk 1 Title: New Labour And The Disability Social Movement

Abstract:

When the Labour Party – restyled by its then leader Tony Blair as ‘New Labour’ – won a landslide victory in the 1997 General Election, there were high hopes among many disabled people that this would lead to a fairer system. What can be called the ‘Disability Social Movement’ had grown during the previous 18 years when the Conservative Party had been in power. However, this movement was still seen as small and unimportant and the first specific legislation concerning disability discrimination had only been passed in 1995, whereas ones concerning race and sex discrimination had become law in 1965 and 1975 respectively.

Nevertheless a group previously seen as weak and mainly dependent on others had started flexing its muscles to agitate for more understanding and independence, basically demanding the chance to speak for themselves – even those who could not speak conventionally – rather than for assumptions to be made about their welfare. However, as with many civil rights movements, there was a plethora of power struggles, made more complicated by the ways that disability can limit people’s abilities – both physically and mentally – and the differing degrees to which this happens. There was also a battle between organisations ‘for’ disabled people (usually run by those without disabilities) and user-led ‘of’ groups, not least about which methods of campaigning were most effective.

My presentation will be looking at how successful (or not) the social movement was in influencing the New Labour government which won three General Elections under Blair and lasted until his successor Gordon Brown lost to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010. I will also be considering whether disability activism today has been influenced by Labour now having been out of power for over a decade.

About me: I am a former PhD student in Sheffield University’s politics department, having previously completed a research methods MA. Because of health problems – both physical and mental – I was unable to complete my doctorate but have decided to try and revisit it – initially with this presentation – just to prove that I can. Fingers crossed.

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Come and Join us for DRF Event 6 – Tuesday 15th June Noon – 1pm. John Quinn discusses New Labour And The Disability Social Movement. If you would like to join John we still have room at 11am or 1pm for another talk!

Date: 15th June 2021

Time: Noon – 1pm

Pressenter 1: John Quinn

Presenter 2:

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-5-tickets-157790428419

Talk 1 Title: New Labour And The Disability Social Movement

Abstract:

When the Labour Party – restyled by its then leader Tony Blair as ‘New Labour’ – won a landslide victory in the 1997 General Election, there were high hopes among many disabled people that this would lead to a fairer system. What can be called the ‘Disability Social Movement’ had grown during the previous 18 years when the Conservative Party had been in power. However, this movement was still seen as small and unimportant and the first specific legislation concerning disability discrimination had only been passed in 1995, whereas ones concerning race and sex discrimination had become law in 1965 and 1975 respectively.

Nevertheless a group previously seen as weak and mainly dependent on others had started flexing its muscles to agitate for more understanding and independence, basically demanding the chance to speak for themselves – even those who could not speak conventionally – rather than for assumptions to be made about their welfare. However, as with many civil rights movements, there was a plethora of power struggles, made more complicated by the ways that disability can limit people’s abilities – both physically and mentally – and the differing degrees to which this happens. There was also a battle between organisations ‘for’ disabled people (usually run by those without disabilities) and user-led ‘of’ groups, not least about which methods of campaigning were most effective.

My presentation will be looking at how successful (or not) the social movement was in influencing the New Labour government which won three General Elections under Blair and lasted until his successor Gordon Brown lost to the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition in 2010. I will also be considering whether disability activism today has been influenced by Labour now having been out of power for over a decade.

About me: I am a former PhD student in Sheffield University’s politics department, having previously completed a research methods MA. Because of health problems – both physical and mental – I was unable to complete my doctorate but have decided to try and revisit it – initially with this presentation – just to prove that I can. Fingers crossed.

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Ticket sales close tomorrow (18th May) for DRF Event 5 – 18th May, 4-6pm. Harriet Cooper will be in conversation with Katherine Terrell about Harriet’s new book “Critical Disability Studies and the Disabled Child: Unsettling Distinctions” and Francesca Peruzzo and colleagues will be presenting their research “The making of the disabled activist: ableism and care of the self in English higher education”

Date: 18th May 2021

Time: 4-6pm

Pressenter 1: Harriet Cooper in conversation with Katharine Terrell

Presenter 2: Francesca Peruzzo, Mette Westander and Rille Raaper

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-5-tickets-151641567009

Talk 1 Title: Critical Disability Studies and the Disabled Child: Unsettling Distinctions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qa-18th-may_-twitter-1200x675-.png

Talk 1 Abstract:

Dr. Cooper’s book examines the relationship between contemporary cultural representations of disabled children on the one hand, and disability as a personal experience of internalised oppression on the other. In focalising this debate through an exploration of the politically and emotionally charged figure of the disabled child, Harriet Cooper raises questions both about what it means to ‘speak for’ the other and about what resistance means when one is unknowingly invested in one’s own abjection.

Drawing on both the author’s personal experience of growing up with a physical impairment and on a range of critical theories and cultural objects – from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden to Judith Butler’s work on injurious speech – the book theorises the making of disabled and ‘rehabilitated’ subjectivities. With a conceptual framework informed by both psychoanalysis and critical disability studies, it investigates the ways in which cultural anxieties about disability come to be embodied and lived by the disabled child.

Posing new questions for disability studies and for identity politics about the relationships between lived experiences, cultural representations and dominant discourses – and demonstrating a new approach to the concept of ‘internalised oppression’ – this book will be of interest to scholars and students of disability studies, medical humanities, sociology and psychosocial studies, as well as to those with an interest in identity politics more generally.

Dr Cooper will be in conversation with Katharine Terrell to talk about her new book! Also enjoy 20% of the book with the code: SMA03

The code can be used here.

Talk 2 Title: The making of the disabled activist: ableism and care of the self in English higher education

Talk 2 Abstract:

Francesca Peruzzo – University of Birmingham

Rille Raaper – Durham University

Mette Westander – Founding Member of Disabled Students UK

Higher education has become increasingly crucial (Armstrong and Barton, 2008), both for occupational opportunities and identity formation of disabled students. The promotion of equality provisions such as the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), and more recently, the Equality Act (2010) and the report Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence (2017) attempted to make sure that physical, cultural, and educational barriers were removed and inclusive academic practices upheld. However, marginalisation and discrimination still happen, both numerically (only 13% of students identified as disabled within the overall student population in the UK in 2018/2019 according to HESA), and in quality of the experience (Osborne, 2019)

In this paper we explore how this persistent marginalisation has triggered a wave of activism among disabled students, who, just before the advent of the pandemic, had organised in a structured organisation, Disabled Students UK (DSUK), to fight against their unequal treatment and ableist practices in higher education (Dolmage, 2017). As during the pandemic discourses of ‘new normality’ emerged, opening spaces for discussions and opportunities of a different ways of doing higher education and being disabled.

Analytically mobilising Foucault’s (1991, 2000) ideas of the care of the self and others, we use qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with disabled students and documentary material produced by DSUK. This paper explores the subjective formation of activist disabled students as political subjects fighting discrimination in a ‘hybrid reality’ that indeed has opened for more inclusive and accessible spaces but also exposed the ableism of certain teaching and learning practices in higher education. The paper aims to promote discussion on the nurturing relationship that exists between the individual and the community in constituting disability activism. Drawing upon activists’ voices and experiences the paper seeks to bring about positive change to higher education policies and practices.

Barton, L.; Armstrong, F. (Eds.), (2008). Policy, Experience and Change: Cross Cultural Reflections on Inclusive Education. Springer: Springer.com.

Dolmage, J., (2017). Academic Ableism: disability and higher education. Ann Harbour: University of Michigan Press

Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell; C. Gordon; P. Miller, (Eds.), The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Foucault, M. (2000). The ethics of the concern of the self as a practice of freedom. In Rabinow, P. (Ed.), Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984 Vol. 1. pp. 281 – 301. London: Penguin Books.

Osborne, T. (2019) Not lazy, not faking: teaching and learning experiences of university students with disabilities, Disability & Society, 34:2, 228-252, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2018.1515724

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Still time to get tickets! DRF Event 5 – 18th May, 4-6pm. Harriet Cooper will be in conversation with Katherine Terrell about Harriet’s new book “Critical Disability Studies and the Disabled Child: Unsettling Distinctions” and Francesca Peruzzo and colleagues will be presenting their research “The making of the disabled activist: ableism and care of the self in English higher education”

Date: 18th May 2021

Time: 4-6pm

Pressenter 1: Harriet Cooper in conversation with Katharine Terrell

Presenter 2: Francesca Peruzzo, Mette Westander and Rille Raaper

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-5-tickets-151641567009

Talk 1 Title: Critical Disability Studies and the Disabled Child: Unsettling Distinctions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qa-18th-may_-twitter-1200x675-.png

Talk 1 Abstract:

Dr. Cooper’s book examines the relationship between contemporary cultural representations of disabled children on the one hand, and disability as a personal experience of internalised oppression on the other. In focalising this debate through an exploration of the politically and emotionally charged figure of the disabled child, Harriet Cooper raises questions both about what it means to ‘speak for’ the other and about what resistance means when one is unknowingly invested in one’s own abjection.

Drawing on both the author’s personal experience of growing up with a physical impairment and on a range of critical theories and cultural objects – from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden to Judith Butler’s work on injurious speech – the book theorises the making of disabled and ‘rehabilitated’ subjectivities. With a conceptual framework informed by both psychoanalysis and critical disability studies, it investigates the ways in which cultural anxieties about disability come to be embodied and lived by the disabled child.

Posing new questions for disability studies and for identity politics about the relationships between lived experiences, cultural representations and dominant discourses – and demonstrating a new approach to the concept of ‘internalised oppression’ – this book will be of interest to scholars and students of disability studies, medical humanities, sociology and psychosocial studies, as well as to those with an interest in identity politics more generally.

Dr Cooper will be in conversation with Katharine Terrell to talk about her new book! Also enjoy 20% of the book with the code: SMA03

The code can be used here.

Talk 2 Title: The making of the disabled activist: ableism and care of the self in English higher education

Talk 2 Abstract:

Francesca Peruzzo – University of Birmingham

Rille Raaper – Durham University

Mette Westander – Founding Member of Disabled Students UK

Higher education has become increasingly crucial (Armstrong and Barton, 2008), both for occupational opportunities and identity formation of disabled students. The promotion of equality provisions such as the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), and more recently, the Equality Act (2010) and the report Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence (2017) attempted to make sure that physical, cultural, and educational barriers were removed and inclusive academic practices upheld. However, marginalisation and discrimination still happen, both numerically (only 13% of students identified as disabled within the overall student population in the UK in 2018/2019 according to HESA), and in quality of the experience (Osborne, 2019)

In this paper we explore how this persistent marginalisation has triggered a wave of activism among disabled students, who, just before the advent of the pandemic, had organised in a structured organisation, Disabled Students UK (DSUK), to fight against their unequal treatment and ableist practices in higher education (Dolmage, 2017). As during the pandemic discourses of ‘new normality’ emerged, opening spaces for discussions and opportunities of a different ways of doing higher education and being disabled.

Analytically mobilising Foucault’s (1991, 2000) ideas of the care of the self and others, we use qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with disabled students and documentary material produced by DSUK. This paper explores the subjective formation of activist disabled students as political subjects fighting discrimination in a ‘hybrid reality’ that indeed has opened for more inclusive and accessible spaces but also exposed the ableism of certain teaching and learning practices in higher education. The paper aims to promote discussion on the nurturing relationship that exists between the individual and the community in constituting disability activism. Drawing upon activists’ voices and experiences the paper seeks to bring about positive change to higher education policies and practices.

Barton, L.; Armstrong, F. (Eds.), (2008). Policy, Experience and Change: Cross Cultural Reflections on Inclusive Education. Springer: Springer.com.

Dolmage, J., (2017). Academic Ableism: disability and higher education. Ann Harbour: University of Michigan Press

Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell; C. Gordon; P. Miller, (Eds.), The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Foucault, M. (2000). The ethics of the concern of the self as a practice of freedom. In Rabinow, P. (Ed.), Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984 Vol. 1. pp. 281 – 301. London: Penguin Books.

Osborne, T. (2019) Not lazy, not faking: teaching and learning experiences of university students with disabilities, Disability & Society, 34:2, 228-252, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2018.1515724

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Seminar: ‘Sexual Citizenship and Disability’ – 19th May

The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Justice (SRHJ) research group at Manchester Metropolitan University is delighted to invite you to our summer seminar series. We have an exciting line-up of international speakers working on a range of sexual and reproductive health research projects across the global south and north. The series incudes talks on disability policy and sexual citizenship in England, the Netherlands and Australia; adolescent parent families living in HIV-affected communities in South Africa; women’s abortion experiences in India; and sexual and reproductive health and resilience among adolescents living in Malawi.

The Sexual and Reproductive Health and Justice (SRHJ) research group has an interdisciplinary focus and is dedicated to the production of research and knowledge exchange around sexual and reproductive health. The group sits within the Global Disparities, Marginalisation and Thriving Communities research cluster which is hosted by the faculty of Health, Psychology and Social Care at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The first seminar in the series, entitled ‘Sexual Citizenship and Disability’, is presented by Dr Julia Bhaner, School of Social Work, Lund University, 19 May 2021,  14:00 – 15:00pm

Abstract

Although sexual rights are often framed as human rights, they are seldom dealt with in a more detailed way than merely stating the rights. For people in need of support to express their sexuality and/or to engage in sexual activity, there is a need for more meaningful ways of framing policy – and practice. Many disabled people, especially those who rely on support from the welfare state, struggle to achieve sexual health and well-being. This presentation draws on a comparative study of disability and sexuality policies, and the work of disability and sexuality rights organisations in England, the Netherlands and New South Wales, Australia. While living conditions, access to support and many other opportunities differ, there is a shared experience of disabled people’s sexual identities and needs often being ignored, disregarded and misunderstood. But the presentation will also highlight successful achievements of developing frameworks for securing sexual citizenship, and discuss how the concept of sexual citizenship can be developed from a disability/accessibility perspective, which could benefit individuals and groups more widely as well.

Julia Bahner is a postdoctoral researcher at the School of Social Work, Lund University. Her research concerns disability rights, sexual health and reproductive rights and sexuality and relationships education in special schools, as well as advocacy organisations, disability policy and democratic processes.

Please see the Eventbrite details below for registration: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/sexual-citizenship-and-disability-tickets-151966924161

For more information, contact Natalie Hammond  N.Hammond@mmu.ac.uk

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DRF Event 5 – 18th May, 4-6pm. Harriet Cooper will be in conversation with Katherine Terrell about Harriet’s new book “Critical Disability Studies and the Disabled Child: Unsettling Distinctions” and Francesca Peruzzo and colleagues will be presenting their research “The making of the disabled activist: ableism and care of the self in English higher education”

Date: 18th May 2021

Time: 4-6pm

Pressenter 1: Harriet Cooper in conversation with Katharine Terrell

Presenter 2: Francesca Peruzzo, Mette Westander and Rille Raaper

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-5-tickets-151641567009

Talk 1 Title: Critical Disability Studies and the Disabled Child: Unsettling Distinctions

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is qa-18th-may_-twitter-1200x675-.png

Talk 1 Abstract:

Dr. Cooper’s book examines the relationship between contemporary cultural representations of disabled children on the one hand, and disability as a personal experience of internalised oppression on the other. In focalising this debate through an exploration of the politically and emotionally charged figure of the disabled child, Harriet Cooper raises questions both about what it means to ‘speak for’ the other and about what resistance means when one is unknowingly invested in one’s own abjection.

Drawing on both the author’s personal experience of growing up with a physical impairment and on a range of critical theories and cultural objects – from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel The Secret Garden to Judith Butler’s work on injurious speech – the book theorises the making of disabled and ‘rehabilitated’ subjectivities. With a conceptual framework informed by both psychoanalysis and critical disability studies, it investigates the ways in which cultural anxieties about disability come to be embodied and lived by the disabled child.

Posing new questions for disability studies and for identity politics about the relationships between lived experiences, cultural representations and dominant discourses – and demonstrating a new approach to the concept of ‘internalised oppression’ – this book will be of interest to scholars and students of disability studies, medical humanities, sociology and psychosocial studies, as well as to those with an interest in identity politics more generally.

Dr Cooper will be in conversation with Katharine Terrell to talk about her new book! Also enjoy 20% of the book with the code: SMA03

The code can be used here.

Talk 2 Title: The making of the disabled activist: ableism and care of the self in English higher education

Talk 2 Abstract:

Francesca Peruzzo – University of Birmingham

Rille Raaper – Durham University

Mette Westander – Founding Member of Disabled Students UK

Higher education has become increasingly crucial (Armstrong and Barton, 2008), both for occupational opportunities and identity formation of disabled students. The promotion of equality provisions such as the Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA), and more recently, the Equality Act (2010) and the report Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence (2017) attempted to make sure that physical, cultural, and educational barriers were removed and inclusive academic practices upheld. However, marginalisation and discrimination still happen, both numerically (only 13% of students identified as disabled within the overall student population in the UK in 2018/2019 according to HESA), and in quality of the experience (Osborne, 2019)

In this paper we explore how this persistent marginalisation has triggered a wave of activism among disabled students, who, just before the advent of the pandemic, had organised in a structured organisation, Disabled Students UK (DSUK), to fight against their unequal treatment and ableist practices in higher education (Dolmage, 2017). As during the pandemic discourses of ‘new normality’ emerged, opening spaces for discussions and opportunities of a different ways of doing higher education and being disabled.

Analytically mobilising Foucault’s (1991, 2000) ideas of the care of the self and others, we use qualitative analysis of in-depth interviews with disabled students and documentary material produced by DSUK. This paper explores the subjective formation of activist disabled students as political subjects fighting discrimination in a ‘hybrid reality’ that indeed has opened for more inclusive and accessible spaces but also exposed the ableism of certain teaching and learning practices in higher education. The paper aims to promote discussion on the nurturing relationship that exists between the individual and the community in constituting disability activism. Drawing upon activists’ voices and experiences the paper seeks to bring about positive change to higher education policies and practices.

Barton, L.; Armstrong, F. (Eds.), (2008). Policy, Experience and Change: Cross Cultural Reflections on Inclusive Education. Springer: Springer.com.

Dolmage, J., (2017). Academic Ableism: disability and higher education. Ann Harbour: University of Michigan Press

Foucault, M. (1991). Governmentality. In G. Burchell; C. Gordon; P. Miller, (Eds.), The Foucault effect: studies in governmentality. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Foucault, M. (2000). The ethics of the concern of the self as a practice of freedom. In Rabinow, P. (Ed.), Ethics: Essential Works of Foucault 1954-1984 Vol. 1. pp. 281 – 301. London: Penguin Books.

Osborne, T. (2019) Not lazy, not faking: teaching and learning experiences of university students with disabilities, Disability & Society, 34:2, 228-252, DOI: 10.1080/09687599.2018.1515724

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Only two days left to sign up! DRF Event 4! (9th April, 1-3pm) – ‘Undateables, asexuality and the intimate rights of disabled people’ and ‘What can I, you know, do in this department?’ – Disability and Cinematic Representations of Gender, Bodies and Sexualities’

Date: 9th April 2021

Time: 1-3pm

Pressenter 1 Name: Bev Pollitt

Presenter 2 Name: Petra Anders

To register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/drf-seminar-series-event-4-tickets-147740504827

Talk 1 Title: #Undateables, asexuality and the intimate rights of disabled people

Talk 1 Abstract:

Undeniably, a wealth of socio-political activism pertaining to disability has been undertaken within recent years, much of which emanates from differing perspectives and considers a variety of aspects concerning rights and well-being. However, despite progressive movements, there has been little development surrounding the intimate rights of disabled people, with their entitlements in this area often going overlooked.

My research adopts a MMDA and TA approach to critically explore disability and sexuality as a broad concept, and then more specifically, in relation to Channel 4’s The Undateables. The research aims to satisfy a gap in the existing literature by unveiling the impact a reality dating programme, solely for disabled participants, has on public perceptions of disability and sexuality. Findings indicate The Undateables is principally an educational opportunity which produces a sense of parity, whilst simultaneously creating empowerment for disabled people, both individually and as a collective.

Whilst these findings affirm positive movement in this intimate area, additional findings exposed The Undateables as a voyeuristic opportunity which can be exploited by viewers to promote their own self-worth. Moreover, material associated with disability and sexuality is discovered to be besieged with heteronormative representations alongside being governed by the historical notion of masculinity and its allied supremacy.

Talk 2 Title: ‘What can I, you know, do in that department?’ – Disability and Cinematic Representations of Gender, Bodies and Sexualities

Talk 2 Abstract:

Cinematic narratives tell us a lot about how we perceive the gender, bodies or sexualities of disabled people. Thus we need to raise more awareness for their ‘hidden’ messages, especially if they are of high ‘learning and teaching value’ and unrealistic.

The eponymous protagonist of Michael Akers’s drama Morgan (2012) feels attracted to an able-bodied man after being left paralyzed from the waist down following an accident. As Morgan doubts that he will be able to ever have sex again he asks his physiotherapist quite bluntly: ‘What can I, you know, do in that department?’ The same question could/should be asked by filmmakers and mainstream society to question representations of gender, bodies and sexualities of disabled characters in film. Which stereotypical myths and metaphors of bodily ‘abnormality’ and absence of physical desire or even gender are perpetuated in feature films in connection with disabled characters? How can these myths and metaphors be challenged?

My paper combines disability studies and film studies. I also draw on what Thomas Hoeksema and Christopher Smit call the ‘teaching and learning value’ (Hoeksema/Smit 2001: 42) of inadequate cinematic representations of disability and on Thomas G. Gerschick’s observation that ‘the bodies of people with disabilities make them vulnerable to being denied recognition as women and men. The type of disability, its visibility, its severity, and whether it is physical or mental in origin mediate the degree to which the body of a person with a disability is socially compromised.’ (Gerschick 2008: 361)

By investigating how editing, camera and music perpetuate or challenge, emphasize or contrast with certain narratives of normalcy and diversity I will show that most contemporary feature films still make use of a disabled character’s gender, body and sexuality to establish a conflict. This applies to films such as Christian Alvart’s thriller Antibodies (2005) and Margarethe von Trotta’s drama I am the Other Woman (2006) as well as the more recent drama Stronger (2017) by David Gordon Green. Unfortunately, this key trend is often neglected if cinematic portrays of disabled people are discussed. In contrast, films such as Daniel Lind Lagerlöf’s Miffo (2003), Ben Lewin’s The Sessions (2012) or Morgan portray people who develop a positive attitude towards (their) disabled bodies and who have fulfilled sex lives. These films offer a healthy and more realistic portray of disabled people and their rights to define their gender and to develop good body feeling.

 This paper is an updated version of a paper I gave at the conference ‘Inclusion and Exclusion in the Welfare Society’ hosted by the Nordic Network on Disability Research in Copenhagen in 2019.

 References

 Akers, Michael D. 2012. Morgan

Alvart, Christian. 2005. Antibodies: Antikörper

 Gerschick, Thomas J. 2008. ‘Toward a Theory of Disability and Gender’, in Karen E. Rosenblum, and Toni-Michelle Travis (eds), The Meaning of Difference: American Constructions of Race, Sex and Gender, Social Class, Sexual Orientation, and Disability (New York NY: McGraw-Hill), pp. 360–63

 Green, David Gordon. 2017. Stronger

 Hoeksema, Thomas B., and Christopher R. Smit. 2001. ‘The Fusion of Film Studies and Disability Studies.’, in Christopher R. Smit, and Anthony Enns (eds), Screening disability: Essays on cinema and disability (Lanham, MD: University Press of America), pp. 33–43

 Lewin, Ben. 2012. The Sessions

 Lind Lagerlöf, Daniel. 2003. Miffo: Miffo

 Roehler, Oskar. 2005. Elementary Particles: Elementarteilchen

Trotta, Margarethe von. 2006. I am the Other Woman: Ich bin die Andere

Bio

Dr Petra Anders is based in Germany. Her research includes cinematic representations of disability, disability studies and gender, and teaching or dance practice. Publications include the chapter ‘More than the “Other”?: On Four Tendencies Regarding the Representation of Disability in Contemporary German Film (2005-2010)’ in Benjamin Fraser’s Cultures of Representation: Disability in World Film Context, ‘Screening Gay Characters with Disabilities’ as part of the blog NOTCHES: (re)marks on the history of sexuality and the chapter ‘Mediale Zuschreibungen. Über die Rolle von Behinderung im Spielfilm’, in Kunst, Kultur und Inklusion. Menschen mit Behinderung in Presse, Film und Fernsehen: Darstellung und Berichterstattung edited by Juliane Gerland, Susanne Keuchel and Irmgard Merkt. Further publications, for example, an essay on disability in Wim Wenders’ films, are forthcoming in 2021.

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Launch event for new Queer Disability Studies Network – call for ideas

Some members of the Disability Research Forum have been involved in the formation of a new Queer Disability Studies (QDS) Network. More information below, and you can also read more on the QDS Network blog and follow the Network on Twitter @QueerDisability

BSL versions of the blurb below and the Network’s aims are available here.

The Queer Disability Studies Network aims to provide a space for people whose experiences, research, or activism cut across categories of trans, queer, and disability issues. It provides a creative space for people whose work (in or outside or academia) fits in these areas but who may feel less at home or secure in established Trans, Queer or Disability Studies spaces. This network is explicitly trans-inclusive, and is committed to exploring the intersections of trans/queer and disability issues without resorting to pathologising language or constructing fears about vulnerability. 

The network is in its very early stages, and we hope it will grow and develop in ways that we haven’t yet imagined. At this stage, however, the network has three aims. It will: 

  1. Provide a space for collaboration and feedback between queer disability studies academics and activists, 
  2. Allow for the generation of trans/queer affirmative ideas that can inform disability studies theory and practice, and 
  3. Support opposition to trans exclusionary ideas, within our institutions and more widely.

For more detail on the network’s aims, see the network’s Aims page.

To launch the Queer Disability Studies (QDS) Network, we are very pleased to announce a month-long online event throughout October 2021. We hope this launch month will be a way for us all to collectively shape the work of the network, to learn more about each other and the exciting work already being done in this field globally, and to re-imagine the direction and purpose of QDS as an interdisciplinary field and community.

Questions you may want to consider or respond to, include:

  1. How would you want Queer Disability Studies (QDS) to look as field, and what would you like it to do? What new and creative spaces do we need to build within QDS for dialogue, support, and community, as well as for resistance and critique? How does this fit with the work that you’re doing now?
  2. Does existing literature across Queer, Trans, and Disability Studies adequately respond to the intersections, interchange, and potential alliances between these areas (and communities), and how might this work be developed in the future?
  3. Who is acknowledged and listened to, who gets spoken for or over, and whose language is protected and promoted in Queer, Trans and Disability Studies? And how can we work towards correcting or remodelling this?
  4. What new or transformative ways of re-thinking academic conventions (such as public speaking, conference organisation, and journal publications) are needed to make our ways of working, organising, or thinking more accessible and equitable? 
  5. Does QDS help us to think in different – perhaps more radical or disruptive – ways about accessibility? Has the pandemic had any impact on our approaches to this?
  6. Why is accessibility important to working within Queer, Trans and Disability Studies, and are there any access needs that we need to be especially attentive to, which address the intersections of the lives of queer, trans and disabled people?
  7. Does QDS provide us with any tools or strategies to think differently about managing ableism, transphobia, biphobia, homophobia, and other intersecting forms of oppression such as intersexphobia, racism, sexism, faphobia or class inequality, particularly in academic contexts? How might our work in QDS help us to respond to current – often individualising – approaches taken by academic institutions, such as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives, unconscious bias training and equality protocols?
  8. Why is it important to make connections between activism, practice, and academia within QDS? How can we do this in ways which are collaborative, non-exploitative, productive, and meaningful?
  9. Why are citational practices important, and how might we manage the ethics of citing authors and/or journals with views or politics that are diametrically opposed to our own?
  10. What have we overlooked in the questions that we’ve asked above? We write these questions from our positions as social scientists in the UK – what difference does positionality, geography and/or disciplinary context make to the requirements from such a network? How might the questions and the network be approached or imagined differently?

We welcome contributions in a range of formats, including longer written contributions between 800-1500 words in total, and videos between 3-5 minutes in length, as well as other creative formats such as poetry, short stories, or artistic visions. We’re open to different ideas and experimental formats. Please consider ways of making your final contributions accessible to a wide audience (e.g. captioning videos and images, providing a script of audio, audio-recording written text). If you have questions or concerns about content, format, accessibility or anything else, you are welcome to get in touch for a conversation, prior to submission.

Contributions will be shared on our blog post at intervals throughout the month of October. The event itself and all contributions we share will be asynchronous (i.e. none of us will need to be online at the same time to participate), so you can engage with the work at your own pace and at a time that suits you. However, the blog post comments sections will be open for responses and discussion (after admin approval), and we will be encouraging the use of Twitter and a private platform for contributors only. 

We will facilitate anonymous contributions if this is your preference. We will be in touch with information about safety before the event, and we welcome questions or comments about this by email if you have any concerns. Please feel free to contact any of the current network administers using the contact details provided here.

Pitch your idea

To contribute to our launch event, please send an informal proposal of up to 200 words, using our submission form by 24th May 2021. Please also provide a short bio (up to 150 words). We are also asking for some brief information about how you intend to make your contribution accessible. We’ll get back to you with feedback in July before asking you to submit your final contribution.

We have ten £50 QDS Network Awards to give to successful contributors who currently receive a low or no income/stipend, are unemployed, or are in precarious employment. This is to recognise the value of contributions from early-career researchers, PhD students, activists and others on low/no income. If we receive more than ten applications for these awards, original and insightful proposals which best fit the aims of the event will be prioritised. 

Key dates
Proposal deadline – 24th May 2021
Notification emails – 1st July 2021
Final submission of contributions – 1st September 2021
Questions in Queer Disability Studies Month – Throughout October 2021

Uncategorized

Conference – Disability History: Knowledge, Practice and Collaboration

14th May, 13:00 – 16:30 BST – online event. Register here

Join us to discuss and share issues in the field of Disability History

About this Event

This year’s conference is divided into three strands knowledge, practice and collaboration. In knowledge, we will hear from archivists, librarians and historians about their work and collections. In practice, we will hear from institutions, self-advocacy groups, artists. In collaboration, there will be a chance for all those active in the space of disability history to come together.

Confirmed presentations include …

Knowledge

Disabled workers in the archives: twentieth century British perspectives

Lucy Delap – University of Cambridge

This talk will examine how ‘accidental archives’ have been created that trace the lives of disabled workers across different kinds of jobs. It examines the ‘aftercare’ infrastructure of the special schools system, the employment quotas initiated in 1944, and reflects on the choices made by workers to identify as disabled or evade such categorisations.

The British Library

Collaboration between Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts Department; Oral History Department and UK Web Archive

Hear about the British Libraries contemporary archive material related to Disability History, including the Archive of the Association of Disabled Professionals (Add MS 89385) in the Contemporary Archives and Manuscripts collections, a range of Oral History projects including ‘Disability Voices’, ‘Speaking for Ourselves’ and ‘How was School?’ (collection guide), and curated collections on the UK Web Archive

Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability

Chris Olver – Archivist

The Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability (RHN) has been working towards improving the lives of people living with disabilities since 1854. The RHN Archive is currently supported by a National Lottery Heritage Fund to help create and promote the hospital’s heritage… See how the type of technology available and the wider context of assistive and mobility aids used during the early years of the hospital; how the improvements in robotics, computers, creative design of equipment improved wheelchair design at the hospital during the 1980s and finally, how current Compass Assistive and Rehabilitation Technology Service, supports current patients with the latest assistive and rehabilitative technologies.

Practice

Dr Philip Milnes-Smith

“But who comes here?”: Invisible disability and you

This presentation uses autism to exemplify the experience of those with an invisible disability, and the access challenges presented in heritage settings for both staff and service users

Dr Philip Milnes-Smith trained as an archivist after a career in special education, working with young people with moderate learning difficulties and autism. He is a co-training officer for the Archives for Learning and education Section of ARA, and on the steering committee for an Accessible Learning Toolkit for the sector. He is also one of ARA’s Diversity and Inclusion Allies.

Glamorgan Archives and People First!

People First Takeover!

Hear about the Glamorgan Archives and People First! take over day and how they are working in partnership to include people with a learning disability in taking ownership of heritage.

Collaboration

In the collaboration strand we will use break out rooms to recreate the stalls and networking that are such a popular part of conferences at London Metropolitan Archives. There will be break out rooms with “stall holders” as well as room(s) for general discussion. Delegates will be able to move freely through these rooms. If you would like to be “a virtual stall holder” to promote and share you’re your organisation or activities please contact events.lma@Cityoflondon.gov.uk