If you are planning to go to tomorrow’s Disability Reading Group and/or Disability Research Forum, please be aware of a change of room. Both sessions will now take place in Arundel 10310. The sessions will be held there as planned.
Our next Disability Reading Group will take place on Thursday, 2 November at 12-1pm in Arundel 10111. We are going to discuss the following article:
Weiss, G. 2015. “The normal, the natural, and the normative: A Merleau-Pontian legacy to feminist theory, critical race theory, and disability studies” Continental Philosophy Review 48(1), doi:10.1007/s11007-014-9316-y, pp.77-93.
For those arriving early, please mind the fact that the first floor of Arundel Building is locked for non-SHU staff members. During the 30 minutes that precede the sessions, a DRF organiser will grant access to Arundel 10111 for the Disability Reading Group and Disability Research Forum visitors.
Our next Disability Research Forum session will take place at Thursday, 2 November from 1:30 to 3:30pm in Arundel 10111. Two PhD students based at Sheffield Hallam University will present their work.
Our room will be locked for non-SHU staff members; we will make sure that the room is accessible for everybody right before the session starts, but please bear in mind that the first floor of Arundel Building will be locked for those who will arrive early.
The first speaker is Katherine Terrell
“How white supremacy and audism influence discourses around language and education in the USA: a critical comparison of Black English and Black American Sign Language (ASL)”
In Audre Lorde’s words, “There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not lead single-issue lives” (1984), and this is true in considering the way Black Deaf children’s language has been, and continues to be, a source of oppression and struggle. This paper considers how discourse around language contributes to naturalising white supremacy; that is, the concept that white language, culture, and “ways of knowing” are superior (Mills, 1997). A significant but understudied area is Black American Sign Language (BASL), a variation of American Sign Language (ASL), the language of the North American Deaf community. BASL lies at the intersection between white supremacy and audism, “the hearing way of dominating, restructuring, and exercising authority over the deaf community” (Lane, 1992). Just as “African American studies critiques white supremacy, Deaf Studies critiques … audism.” (Bauman, 2008). I draw from scholars of “race” and Deaf studies to critically consider and compare the ways in which white supremacy and audism both have their bases in assumptions of the moral, intellectual and aesthetic superiority of the dominant white and hearing (non-deaf) cultures. The history of public policy and discourse around language in the education of Black and Deaf children has revolved around concerns that students are taught to communicate “properly” and “normally”, as exemplified in the Oakland Ebonics debate. Perhaps less well known is the history in segregated Deaf schools of paternalism and oralism (a system of education that uses only lip-reading and forbids sign language). I will argue that concern about students communicating “properly” is more than misguided benevolence, but rather a way to suppress Black and/or Deaf “ways of knowing” (such as in the concept of “Deafhood”) in order to reinforce the supremacy of white and hearing (non-deaf) thought, culture and language. I consider how both Black and Deaf bodies and language have been dehumanised, pathologised and problematised in similar but historically distinct and unique ways in educational systems (Lane, 1992; Jackson, 2006). I draw on researchers who critically consider their position within hegemonic discourses and integrate Black and Deaf epistemology into their work, which Rodney sees as essential in “race” studies (1972).
The second speaker is Stephen Connolly
[The following abstract was written with no input from my spelling person, iv tried as much as possible to use correct grammar but I imagine that there is still a large amount of grammatical mistakes why have I not had any input from my spelling person? youll find out with the presentation of course.]
There is a growing movement within the autism research world. I say growing as it has been there for some time, even before the now leaders of this charge took up arms over the past few years there has always been elements of this movement. In the early 90’s the likes of Rita Jorden worked with autistic professionals to deliver training as she could see the benefit to the audience. Yet where this movement was just simmering it feels like now it’s on a full-blown rolling boil. The movement I speak of is that of emancipation through participation, leadership and ultimately ownership. This summer there was the Critical Autism conference, the National Autistic Society’s The Autism Show, the Suicidality in Autism conference series and Autism and Mental Health conference to name a few. The one question Actually Autistic’s asked was, are the speakers autistic? With heavy criticism laid upon those conferences that lack an autism presence in the key note speaker list. The same is true with the litany of papers around autism that are published throughout the year.
This question is an important one not only so that autistic researchers get work though this is a plus but rather it is a question of power and voice. The autism community has often in the past been used as a resource much the same as other minority communities, used by researchers to further a sense of wonderment and a career. But there is some good news (kinda), there has been a shift in how autistic participants are seen and used, Tregaskis and Goodley (2005) highlighted that disability literature is moving away from research ‘on’ disabled individuals and towards research ‘with’ disabled individuals which has resulted in the promotion of the ‘disabled voice’ within research. Building on this in the past four or five years has been the move towards participatory research and the ‘gold standard’ that is emancipatory research. However I challenge how much this voice is still allowed to be heard. I put forward that power still resides with the non-autistic lead researcher and that the concept of voice is being used to give a guise of progressive inclusiveness in a one-upmanship of ‘gold standard’ inclusive and accessible research. Rather than just having a token autistic researcher involved or the use of an autistic working group I put forward a concept of complete community control using my method of emanci-participatory research. This method is a simple one reduce the power imbalance as much as possible by giving those involved (note the non-use of participant or the fallacy of co-researcher) as much choice as possible and as a result remove how much their voice can be restrained or influenced to truly promote the ‘disabled voice’. Yet there are still issues particularly around how ethics does not allow for emergent research and how institutional governance has the ultimate power especially when the research is part of a PhD.
Now I appreciate this abstract is rather reductionist positioning anything but research conducted by autistic researchers that empowers the autistic community as less than (feeding into that one-upmanship I highlight as a negative) but this abstract aims to get people to the DRF (even if that isn’t in person). The presentation itself puts forward an argument that there is room for most types of research but that research has to recognise its own power balance and where possible ask themselves some key questions. To facilitate this discussion I use my research which looks at the inclusion of students that identify as autistic in higher education. The method I put forward isn’t a check-box list of how to do the next level of inclusive research but rather a philosophy to carrying out what I see as ethical and inclusive research whilst also drawing attention to the issues I discussed.
If you are planning to visit September’s Disability Research Forum this Thursday, please bear in mind that our only speaker will be Antonios Ktenidis. The session will still start at 3:30pm in Arundel 10111.
The Disability Reading Group will be held as planned at 2pm in the same room.
The next DRF session will take place on 28 September at 3.30-5.30pm in Arundel 10111.
Hannah Ebben will host a paper by Antonios Ktenidis who is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield.
Height As “The Elephant In The Room”: (Un)Learning The ‘Growing’ Body
While the ‘ideal’ body and/or the ‘corporeal standard’ (Kumari-Campbell, 2008) has/have been discussed in relation to dis/ability (ism) (Goodley, 2017; Slater, 2015), health (ism) (Shilling 1993; 2010), weight (ism) (Lebesco, 2004; Bordo, 2003), sex (uality) (ism) and race (ism) (Rice et. al., 2016; Slater, 2015) and beauty (ism) (Garland-Thomson, 2009), an unacknowledged feature of it/them is height (ism) (Feldman, 1975). Usually implied in terms such as body size and shape and .utilized in various measurements, such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) (Fletcher, 2014), height is still treated as ‘the elephant in the room’ -there, but not there.
With this presentation, I aim to explore the identification of height with ‘growth’, as materialized in arborescent structures of knowledge(s) (Deleuze&Guattari, 1987), such as the World Health Organizations’s normative growth charts (de Onis et al., 2012), and performed through constant height measurements from infancy to adulthood (National Health System Digital, 2016). I further consider the biopolitical technologies of surveillance (Foucault, 1984) e.g. the Red Book, which serve to secure the normative ways of ‘growing up’ and (re)produce ‘hierarchies of shortness’. Finally, I argue that such technologies act as affectivebiopedagogies (Wright, 2009; Harwood, 2009), teaching one how to live and feel their own body as well as how to perceive other bodies (Rice et al., 2016; Ahmed, 2004; Shilling, 1991).
I am Antonios Ktenidis and I am an ESRC PhD researcher at the School of Education, University of Sheffield. I am supervised by Professor Dan Goodley and Dr Kirsty Liddiard. My PhD explores the educational experiences (secondary education) of people with Restricted Growth in the United Kingdom. Among my research interests are: critical qualitative inquiry (with a focus on narrative inquiry & embodied methodologies), non-normative bodies and ‘their’ stories and intersectionality.
The next Disability Reading Group session of the new 2017-2018 academic year will take place on the 28th of September from 2pm to 3pm in Arundel 10111.
The text that we will focus on is Liddiard, K. (2013) Reflections on the process of researching disabled people’s sexual lives. Sociological Research Online. 18(3).
It’s the dying embers of winter in 2005. I am in a musty room in the education building at the University of Sheffield. I am a PhD student who is still floundering around trying to find somewhere to belong. I’m a geographer by discipline and I’ve come along to a meeting of people who have all self-identified as being interested in the social study of disability. There’s not many of us and we are all a bit nervous. It’s being facilitated by Dr Dan Goodley who is new-ish to the university and, from what I can tell, is trying to gather together some academic friends. I recognise the feeling. It’s not been long since my geography horizons have expanded far enough to encompass geographies of disability and, then, beyond that to disability studies. One of the reasons I’m sitting at the back of this room is because I could do with some academic friends too; friends that would understand what it felt like to be navigating the academic and emotional seas of an emergent critical approach to disability.
It feels exciting to be here; I’m not the only one who ‘gets it’. There are professors, lecturers and established researchers with lots of talk of joint bids, collaborative writing projects and potential conferences. And then, during a lull in discussion I surprise myself by voicing a thought that has been floating round my head: “it would be really good if there was a space for PhD students to talk to each other”. “Good idea” said Dan Goodley “so you set that up then, that’ll be great”. It was said with complete faith in my ability to do so and with complete expectation that it would, indeed, be great.
And that’s how it began, with an accidental comment in a musty seminar room. I could, of course, have just gone home, had a nice cup of tea and forgotten about all it but, as I said, I was in the market for some academic friends. I arranged to send an email around all doctoral students asking if anyone who was researching disability from a social perspective wanted to get together to explore possibilities of supporting each other. I had about five replies from departments as diverse as dentistry, education, law and physiotherapy. We met up in another musty seminar room, this time in the geography building, and bonded over our academic isolation (it’s hard being the only one in your department who knows who Mike Oliver is!!).
Quickly a small and committed group formed (Katherine Runswick-Cole, Tabby Collingbourne and Liz Croot and myself). It was agreed that we would take a low key approach for the most part – we’d book a room, tell people and then gather (with biscuits) for a few hours once a month. We also agreed on a name – the Disability Research Forum (the DRF). We wanted to be a forum – an environment for discussion, an opportunity for assembly, a medium for alliance.
Monday, 23rd May 2005 saw the first proper meeting. The four of us welcome a few more and we discussed the process of writing up focus group material, disability issues in international non-governmental organisations and, finally, the ‘inclusive design’ of packaging. During the subsequent months, our numbers increased and we widened our reach to encompass students from history, mechanical engineering, English, landscape and animal/plant sciences. Meetings were fascinating to say the least. In our first year we also bid for money to deliver skills training for researchers. We were awarded this money two years running and hosted external speakers on accessible communication, international disability policy and writing research bids. We even hosted Peter White (from Radio 4) for a day of media training and published a synopsis of our workshop with Sue Maynard Campell, MBE in the current issues section of Disability and Society.
It would not be too far from the truth to say that the DRF saved my PhD. At the time of its inception I was floundering and, looking back now, I can see that as it grew, I grew. I started to stake a claim to a ‘specialist area’ and I felt supported in my endeavors. I’ve heard the same thing from others over the years and I’m in no doubt that the DRF made a difference just by being in existence. In many ways this is why it continues to endure – it exists and people participate if and when they want to, but they always know it’s there.
When my PhD journey came to an end I was keen that the DRF didn’t fall by the way side. When I moved across town to a lectureship at Sheffield Hallam University in early 2007 I started to book a whole new set of musty rooms and hoped that the change in venue (and my change in role) wouldn’t make too much difference. Luckily it didn’t.
During the following 10 years, the DRF has gained a co-convener when Jen Slater joined the Disability Studies team in 2012and it has been a part of supporting and hosting the Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane conferences. It has also celebrated its role in the first publication from the conference series – Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: Precarious Positions – and the publication of a Disability Studies text book by two of its founding members, Approaching Disability: Critical Issues and Perspectives.
Over the past year, as our academic journeys have taken us to deeper into university management and research, Jen and I have decided to lend the DRF baton to Stephanie Swain and Hannah Ebben. As current doctoral students, both are committed to continuing to provide a friendly space for disability studies scholars at all stages in their academic studies or career.
It easy to think that there’s no longer a need for the DRF. It is easy to think, now there are text books, degree courses, dedicated journals and multiple conferences specific to disability studies, that those engaging in disability research don’t feel isolated or marginalised by the dominant disciplines. It’s easy but it isn’t wise. Contemporary global, national and local contexts tell us that those who wish to pursue a critical approach to the study of disability are still few and far between. Their endeavours are risky because they often challenge views and beliefs that are widely taken to be common sense. They are in need of all the academic friends they can get!
Details of all past DRF events can be found here.
Details of all future DRF events can be found here.
And although I have Disability Studies to thank for introducing me to many of my close friends (and my husband) I’m not going anywhere – I’m still in the market for some more academic friends and hope to meet you at a DRF event in the near future.
~ Dr. Rebecca Mallett (email@example.com)
The deadline to submit to the special issue of the Review of Disability Studies, The Crip, the Fat and the Ugly in an Age of Austerity: Resistance, Reclamation, and Affirmation has been extended until 17th July 2017.
The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) seeks proposals for a special forum on the Crip, the fat, the ugly. We are currently soliciting papers of up to 7500 words in length, including references and tables. The deadline for submission of papers is July 17, 2017. Papers should be submitted to the Special Guest Editors Dr. Jen Slater, Sheffield Hallam University firstname.lastname@example.org, and Dr. Kirsty Liddiard, University of Sheffield email@example.com . Upon submission, please indicate that your paper is for consideration of the special forum on the Crip, the fat, and the ugly in an age of austerity.
Papers considered for inclusion may take the form of academic and creative works, as well as reflections on international disability-specific policies, practices, pedagogies and developments.
Submissions to this special issue will undergo a process of multiple editors peer-review. Authors will be notified of whether their papers will be included in the forum by September 1, 2017. Accepted authors will then be asked to submit their papers online to RDS. Prospective authors are encouraged to consult the RDS website at www.rds.hawaii.edu for more information about the Journal and its formatting guidelines. Authors are encouraged to review previous issues of RDS in preparing their paper and to subscribe to the Journal. All submissions must follow the RDS publication guidelines posted on the website. Please note that acceptance of an article does not guarantee publication in RDS.
‘The magnificence of a body that shakes, spills out, takes up space, needs help, moseys, slinks, limps, drools, rocks, curls over on itself. The magnificence of a body that doesn’t get to choose when to go to the bathroom, let alone which bathroom to use. A body that doesn’t get to choose what to wear in the morning, what hairstyle to sport, how they’re going to move or stand, or what time they’re going to bed. The magnificence of bodies that have been coded, not just undesirable and ugly, but un-human. The magnificence of bodies that are understanding gender in far more complex ways than I could explain in an hour. Moving beyond a politic of desirability to loving the ugly. Respecting Ugly for how it has shaped us and been exiled. Seeing its power and magic, seeing the reasons it has been feared. Seeing it for what it is: some of our greatest strength’. (Mingus, 2011)
Global austerity has a far reach, often into, around, behind, beyond and alongside the body. Global austerity routinely categorises bodies in terms of productivity, value, cost, ability and aesthetics. The body is positioned vis-a-vis global austerity as a site for social order, economic possibility, progression, and big business. Whereas “[a]n able body is the body of a citizen; deformed deafened, amputated, obese, female, perverse, crippled, maimed and blinded bodies do not make up the body politic” (Davis, 1995, pp. 71-72).
Through global austerity, then, the crip, the fat and the ugly are typically Othered and denigrated bodies, identities, minds and selves, implicated and co-constituted by one-another (Bergman, 2009; Kafer, 2013). Within a context of coloniality, transnational capitalism, patriarchy, cissexism and white supremacy, the Crip, the fat and the ugly are
rendered unintelligible (Butler, 1999), made in/visible and vilified locally, nationally, and globally. As Garland-Thompson (2002, p. 57) reminds us, “as a culture we are at once obsessed with and intensely conflicted about the disabled body. We fear, deify, disavow, avoid, abstract, revere, conceal, and reconstruct disability – perhaps because it is one of the most universal, fundamental of human experiences”.
Notwithstanding the harsh political backdrop, Clare (2015, p. 107) reminds us that “[w]ithout pride, individual and collective resistance to oppression becomes nearly impossible”. In this special issue we therefore seek to explore affirmatory meanings and pleasurable engagements with the Crip, the fat and the ugly. By this we mean to critically resist and play with normative understandings of what bodies should do and be, to reimagine that – as Mingus (2011) emphasises – the Crip, the fat and the ugly are ‘our greatest strength’. How are Crip, fat and ugly embodiments both resisting and resistant? How might they offer new ways of interrogating global austerity and neoliberal ways of life? How might the Crip, the fat, and the ugly generate new, diverse and polymorphous pleasures? What are the relationships, entanglements and connections between the austere and the aesthetic? What communities do the Crip, the fat, and the ugly build and how are these critical for survival, love and life?
Submissions to this journal could include, but are not limited to, critical interrogations of the relationship between the crip, the fat and the ugly, with:
- Aesthetic labour
- Activism and resistance
- Beauty industries and economies
- Biopolitics and biopedagogies
- Bodily esteem, confidence, self-worth and self-love
- Colonisation and first nations communities
- Emotion and affect
- Extensions of Mia Mingus’ work on ugliness
- Globalisation and globality
- Health and Healthisation
- Identity, imagery and representation: masculinities, femininities, queer trans and intersex identities
- Impairment and embodiment
- Industrial complexes, institutions and systems
- Madness and Mad politics
- Other forms of privilege and oppression (class, ‘race’, gender, sexuality, age etc.)
- Popular culture and The Arts
- Queer bodies, identities and selves
- The politics of staring (Garland-Thomson, 2009)
- The sexual body: Pleasure, sensuality and desire
RDS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, international journal published by the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.The Journal contains research articles, essays, creative works and multimedia relating to the culture of disability and people with disabilities.
About the conference
This one-day conference will take place on 23 June 2017 at 9am to 6pm at Regent Campus, 309 Regent Street, London.
This one-day conference seeks to explore representations of the body as strange, shameful, wrong, impaired, wounded, scarred, disabled, lacking, different or ‘other’ in contemporary media.
The advent of digital media has underlined the importance of visual culture and our curiosity in representations of the body to form opinions about ourselves and others. Media portrayals of bodies can affect our lives because media are one of the primary agents of socialization (Moore and Kosut, 2010). Bodies we see in newspapers, on television and in our social media feeds are often made to appear perfect in order to conform to racialized and heteronormative ideals of what it means to be beautiful and normal in contemporary capitalist societies. Presentations of the body that are white, young, slim and productive have been critiqued from different fields in academia such as feminism, queer theory, disability studies, critical theory and postcolonial studies.
The digital media landscape is posing new challenges to the study of body representation. The Internet and social media in particular have led to an increased representation and engagement with the body through practices such as selfies, webcamming, blogging, vlogging and so on. While digital media may contribute to an empowerment of excluded and silenced bodies, they may equally open up spaces of discrimination, threats, hatred, trolling and silencing online, as the #gamergate controversy or author Lizzie Velásquez’ self-presentation on social media have recently illustrated.
A critical approach to representations of bodies and disability is therefore essential as a means of change (Bolt, 2014). This conference aims to develop a new understanding of disability and the media in the 21st century by establishing a dialogue between different scholars on the theme of body representations. In particular, we seek to formulate new questions to comprehend how the tension between non-digital and digital media is creating spaces for new ways of framing disabled bodies. How are new narratives being developed to recount diversity? What is their function? What is the relationship between representation of the body in news outlets and self-representation on social media? What are the epistemological opportunities the media could embrace in order to promote equality, health literacy and ultimately, a more comprehensive understanding of what it means to be human?
We encourage interdisciplinary paper presentations of 15 minutes that aim to explore how narratives and images of other bodies are constructed in the media and what their aesthetic, social, cultural, epistemological and political implications are.
Papers may draw on media and communication studies, as well as queer theory, disability studies, postcolonial studies, feminist theory, critical theory, psychoanalysis, psychosocial studies, literature, history, visual studies, anthropology, health communication, religious studies, medicine and philosophy.
Possible themes include but are not limited to:
- Researching bodies and the media: frameworks and methodologies
- Journalism and practices of othering the body
- The mediated body as spectacle
- Celebrity bodies and the spectacles of transformation
- The abject body
- Stigma and the body
- De-colonizing and de-westernising the mediated body
- Neoliberalism, policy and austerity politics
- (Dis)Empowerments of the disabled body
- The objectification of the disabled body in the media
- Contemporary coverage of disability in print/online/television/radio
- Reality television and the body
- Auto-ethnographic accounts of the body in / through digital media
- The medicalised body in the media
- Representing wounds and scars
- Affective labour of bodies
- The body and trauma
This conference is part of the research project ‘Facial Disfigurement in the UK Media: From Print to Online’, led by Dr Diana Garrisi (University of Westminster) and Dr Jacob Johanssen (University of Westminster), which is financed through the University of Westminster Strategic Research Fund.
Invited speakers include Henrietta Spalding, Head of Advocacy at the UK charity Changing Faces.
How to submit papers
Conference attendance will be free and registration will open in late spring.
We seek to provide an open and inclusive space for everyone.
Our next Disability Research Forum session will take place on Tuesday, 23rd May 2017 at 1:30-3:30pm. Location to be announced.
Our first speaker will be Lindsay Miller
A dis-ordered refusal to be healthy: Messing up ideological purity & disciplines as violence
This talk, which is part of a larger PhD project that has just begun but that is ultimately untimely, aims to get us in deep trouble – through unsettling positionality – in order to dis-order shallow, clean, rigorous disciplinary modes of thinking connected to the bordering and ordering of security regimes (border imperialism) concerned with maintaining, largely through an imperialistic act of hiding, ideological purity connected to anormative, regulative production of truthful universal knowledge (Halberstam, 2015; Walia, 2013). I, like John Law in After Method (2004), “want to move from the moralist idea that if only you do your methods properly you will lead a healthy research life.” The imperative to heal, to be healthy, to be well, and the categorization and measurement thereof, will be exposed as restraining the possibility of other >>risky, unbecoming<< ways of living. What if we are unable, unwilling, or outright refuse to heal? What if healing, being read as healthy, requires a reintegration into the very structures that are responsible for the original violence? What, then, is made possible by such a refusal? And is this risk one worth taking?
Lindsay Miller is a first-year PhD student in the School of Education at the University of Sheffield. Currently studying the entanglements of border imperialism, psychiatric imperialism, and the huMan – especially as they emerge within and are legitimating forces of settler colonialism – their studies refuse allegiance to a disciplinary category and also refuse the perceived border between theory&practice. @praxivist
Our second speaker will be Michael Miller
Re: Forms of disruption, discipline, and disability
This paper considers forms of reform, broadly, and disciplinary reform more specifically related to efforts in changing conceptions of disability, and disabled people, in the classroom and wider ableist society. Recognizing that in-class disruptions are considered threats to a wider order and serve as justifications for discipline, how can we otherwise consider the classroom in relation to these events and students, recognizing the refusal and opportunity in the disruptions? Further, I want to think about how we might all think about these ‘events’ as discontinuous happenings within a structurally ongoing violence.
The classroom is an assertion of a naturalized order – with an Other just as necessary to a Normative Self as the institution of Education is to a Normative World. This paper, as an aspect of my PhD research, will think specifically about the distinguished, intertwined categorizations of students who cannot/will not fit compulsory expressions (Erevelles 2014). A question further than recognition and subversion that I am asking is: What if we changed our thinking of radical reforms beyond measures of temporary relief to facets of a structurally violent society, to considering how reforms actually serve the institutions they are enacted to erode (Ferguson 2012)?
Michael Miller is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield in the School of Education. Primarily focused in critical disability studies, Michael is thinking about and further developing their own (in)comprehensions of discontinuities of violence in/as education, asking what a crip refusal to reformative policies might become. @no_michael_