DRF News

Keynote’s Title and Abstract Announced for Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference (Chester, UK: June 2012)

If you are in any doubt over whether you should attend the Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference at the University of Chester (June 26th-27th 2012), here is a little taster of what will be on offer.

Dr James Overboe (Associate Professor, Wilfrid Lauier University, Canada)  will be discussing….

Title: Gimp Philosophy: Turning its Back on the Norm

Abstract: “From the onset of disability (whether congenital or acquired) our social milieu have been concerned with how to eradicate, mitigate or manage the effects of “impairment”. But impairment has been considered as a social construction (Shelly Tremain), situational (Tom Shakespeare) or ever evolving (Carol Thomas and Donna Reeves) with each perspective having differing implications for both individuals and the social world.

Pierre Klossowski argues that the effects of Nietzsche’s impairments (madness, migraines, and failing vision) provided the foundation and the impetus for his philosophy and for his life. Similarly, I argue that accumulated “impairments” or gimpness provide the scaffolding for, and the impetus that drives the expression of life of a disabled person.

Gilles Deleuze and Giorgio Agamben argue that our lives oscillate between two complementary registers the personal and the impersonal. Since the enlightenment the impersonal registry has been dismissed as simply the ‘bricks’ and ‘mortar’ that sustain the more highly evolved ‘self’. Initially I privilege the impersonal registry over the personal registry in order to highlight the substantive way that gimpness informs life.

Normalcy and its accompanying normative shadows are immersed in the personal registry associated with the conscious self that is expected to be preoccupied with productivity, and consumption, progressively moving through stages of life. In this registry gimpness is refashioned as impairment that unless eradicated or at least managed is deemed an albatross impeding people from living a successful life.

Conversely, within the impersonal life the self is eschewed and the erotics of exposure of gimpness is simply expressed. Within the context of life there are no prescribed stages of life that a conscious self must meet; rather events create life. Moreover, gimpness as a generative source of life dissipates the garroting affect of both normalcy and ableism and in doing so affirms life.

I end by illustrating how these complementary registers actualize in the everyday life of disabled people and to some extent influence the discipline of Disability Studies and the disability movement.”

For more information on the conference (and details of the Call for Papers) click here.

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