DRF News

Event: The Toronto Launch of the 1st WHO/World Bank World Report on Disability

Date: Friday, January 27, 2012 (12-2pm)

Live webcast available at: http://hosting.epresence.tv/MUNK/1/live/200.aspx

Venue: University of Toronto, Munk School of Global Affairs, Vivian and David Campbell Conference Facility, 1 Devonshire Place, Toronto. Map available here.  

Limited space available – please register at: http://www.munk.utoronto.ca/EventDetails.aspx?eventid=11608

Description: The World Report on Disability is the first of its kind, providing guidance on implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and giving an extensive global picture of the situation of people with disabilities, their unmet needs, and the barriers they face to participating fully in their societies. There are over one billion people with disabilities in the world and this report provides a welcome focus on this pressing global health and social justice issue. This panel will bring together the lead author of the report with key disability activists to discuss the report and its implications for Canada’s domestic and global responsibilities towards people with disabilities.  Report available here.

Keynote address: Dr. Tom Shakespeare is the editor of the World Report on Disability. He has published extensively in disability studies and bioethics, including The Sexual Politics of Disability (1996) and Disability Rights and Wrongs (2006). Disabled himself, Dr. Shakespeare has been active in the disability community for 20 years. Dr. Shakespeare joined the World Health Organization’s Disability and Rehabilitation Team in 2008.


  • Dr. Janice Stein, Director, Munk School of Global Affairs
  • David Lepofsky, CM, OOnt, Chair, Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act Alliance
  • Dr. Stephanie Nixon, Academic Director, International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation

This session is free. This venue is accessible for people with mobility limitations.  ASL/English interpreters and CART services (captioning for hard of hearing) available.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of cbm (www.cbmcanada.org) and the Canadian Hearing Society (www.chs.ca).

DRF News

CFP: Lancaster Disability Studies Conference (11th-13th Sept 2012, UK)

The call for papers for the 2012 Lancaster Disability Studies Conference is now open.

The main theme of the conference in 2012 is Disability, Poverty and Neo-Liberalism.

We invite the submission of abstracts for either symposium, paper or poster presentations on current research, ideas and developments in disability studies. In particular the reviewing committee would welcome submissions in the following areas:

  • Impact of global economic changes
  • War, conflict and political change
  • Independent living, rights and citizenship
  • Professions allied to communities
  • Normalcy and neuro-diversity
  • Madness, distress and disability
  • Eugenics and assisted dying
  • Culture, history and arts
  • Theoretical and methodological ideas and debates

The reviewing committee would also welcome abstracts for poster presentations about the work of organisations, networks and groups which are related to disability studies.

The deadline for submissions is 9th March 2012.

Abstract authors will be notified of the reviewing committee’s decision by 4th May 2012.

Abstracts must be submitted using the online form which can be found at: http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fass/events/disabilityconference/

DRF News

Details of Next DRF Seminar: 8th February 2012 (1pm-3pm)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #4

Date/Time: 8th February 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

Venue: Room 10111 in the Arundel Building, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University (More information on the venue can be found here.)

  • China Mills (Education and Social Research Institute, Manchester Metropolitan University): Globalising Disorder; Crossing Borders through Disorders

Abstract: In an increasingly globalised psycho-pharmacological world, access to psychiatric medication, ‘scaling-up’ of psychiatric services, and closing the ‘treatment gap’ between low and high income countries, are equated with social justice and equality. In this space, mental illness is framed as akin to physical illness; and the argument is made that just as AIDS medications should be available to those in low-income countries, so should psychiatric medications. The incitement of mental health into a discourse of global emergency and crisis suggests an abnormal deviation from a normal order, yet mental illness may also be read as a ‘normal’ reaction to that (dis)order – as a ‘healthy’ response to the ‘unhealthy’ globalisation of Neoliberalism. Yet making the claim that mental health problems, such as Depression, are a ‘normal’ response to inequitable market relations in the global South, may also be normative, as it glosses over a simultaneous globalisation; that of bio-psychiatric explanations of distress. Just as psychiatric diagnostic systems, such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) blur the borders of normality and abnormality, enabling increasing experiences to be conceptualised in psychiatric terms; they also enable psychiatric disorders to cross geographical borders, enabling the psychiatrisation of new populations, and new ‘emergent markets’ for the pharmaceutical industry. For example,in India, in response to a spate of farmer suicides that occurred due to neoliberal agricultural reforms, the Indian Government launched a study to find a genetic cause for suicide, and campaigners called for anti-depressants to be more widely available to farmers. But what does it mean to frame the distress caused by economic reforms as ‘mental illness’, and provide interventions that work at the level of individual brain chemistry and genes, and that are part of the same neoliberal rationale that led to distress in the first place? This paper will explore what the framing of mental illness as akin to physical illness and disability, makes possible within the field of Global Mental Health, with a specific focus on India. 

  • John Quinn (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield): New Labour and Disability Politics

Abstract: When the ‘New’ Labour government came into power in 1997, it was seen by many previously marginalised groups as an opportunity to have more say in the way the country was run. One of these was a ‘new social movement’ calling for disability rights – which arguably only came into existence in Britain during the mid-1970s and had continued developing during 18 years of Conservative rule. However there had been little unity between different strands of this movement, due not only to the wide range of disabilities represented, but also because of disputes over both ends and means. After a Labour government lasting 13 years this research aims to use a variety of methods to see whether it proved lucky or unlucky for disabled people in Britain, seeing to what extent lives have changed and how much of this is due to the way the government and social movement have impacted on and affected each other.

Next Seminar: 15th March 2012 (Thurs) 1.30pm-3.30pm

Slot 9: Sarah Thompson (Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion, Sheffield Hallam University): Title TBC

Slot 10: Tom Andrews (Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion, Sheffield Hallam University): Exploring the impact of sexuality on the lifeworld of adolescents with autism

DRF News

CCDS Event: Evolution and Human Uniqueness (Feb 2012, UK)

Event: Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Forum 

Date: 1st February 2012: 2.15pm-3.45pm ~ Venue: Eden, 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK. 

Brief Description:

Evolution and Human Uniqueness 

~ David Doat (Catholic University of Lille, France & CCDS Visiting Scholar, UK)

David Doat works at the intersection of the philosophy of nature and ethical thought. He wonders what makes us human(e) and hypothesises that the most “vulnerable” among our human community have nonetheless played, and continue to play, an important role in our historical collective and personal discovering of humanity. The seminar will consider empirical data that demonstrates that some prehistoric communities of Neanderthals organized their lives so that disabled persons were not marginalised but accepted as central figures. Why was there not abandonment in accordance with the harsh law of evolution? Does the scepticism of scientists on this subject evidence how difficult it is for them to face the apparent contradiction of straightforward Darwinian Theory? To consider these and other such questions, join us at the next CCDS Research Forum.

For further information from the organisers, please contact: Dr. David Bolt: boltd@hope.ac.uk