Fall 2013 Newsletter: Volume 5, Issue 2
Table of Contents
- Notes From Your Board
- Minneapolis 2014
- Call for Papers: Disability and Sustainability (proposals DUE Dec. 13, 2013)
- Sponsorship Materials for SDS 2014
- Call for Submissions to DSQ Special Issue (proposals DUE June 1, 2014)
- Member Feature: Groups within SDS
- Member News
Happy autumn, SDS!
We are happy to report progress on several fronts since the fun in Orlando in June. Here are some highlights.
Happily, we’ve shelved the paper version of the newsletter. This on-line format improves accessibility and sustainability and cuts production time exponentially. You’ll still find relevant take-away bits stored here in accessible, printable formats (.doc and .pdf).
We marvel at the growth in ad-hoc interest groups within sds, as evidenced by the range of perspectives featured below. A few of these have been around awhile; some are newer. In tandem with their emergence, the board has been finalizing formal guidelines for interest groups in an effort to identify ways SDS can support their activities throughout the year. By the end of 2013, we expect to be able to share draft guidelines for input from members. Thanks in advance for engaging with the Board in that process.
Individual membership categories remain available, but SDS is also promoting organizational memberships. We think we’ve developed a reasonable fee schedule that enables any organization, large or small, to be a part of SDS. An organizational membership is a terrific way to bring about transformation “at home” by broadening the circle of people around you with a direct stake or affinity interest in disability studies. With the 25th anniversary of the ADA right around the corner, now seems a great time to connect across perspectives and to build coalitions. Are you at a large university? The SDS membership committee (Joan Ostrove @ email@example.com ) will appreciate your brainstorming a list of discrete “units” at your university that would benefit from membership in SDS—from American Studies to the Medical School, where are the disability “angles” that we might be spurring people to think more about? Thanks for sending Joan that list of contacts for your U, and thanks for using the form and for forwarding this appeal to organizations that may be interested in SDS.
Thanks in advance for helping SDS network with and support other affinity programs and organizations!
And all best wishes on behalf of the whole Board,
As you’re all now well aware, we have a live Call for Papers for the 2014 SDS conference, which will take place from June 11-14th at the recently renovated Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. The Hyatt is conveniently located in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, which is accessible via light-rail from the Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport. The hotel’s accessibility policy and accommodations are available here. Consistent with our conference theme, the Hyatt also has a go “green” incentive program that we plan to take full advantage of in our conference planning. There are active disability activist, advocacy, and academic communities as well as active sustainability movements in the Twin Cities, making them a wonderful site for our 2014 conference. They are also known for their vibrant arts life. We are actively cultivating connections with (and donations from!) colleges, universities, and organizations that make their home in Minnesota. Stay tuned for more news from the program and site committees as we pull the conference together! Be sure to join us!
Thanks for distributing widely! You will find downloadable formats on the web page linked above.
Proposals are due on December 13, 2013.
SDS14 Sponsorship Materials
The Minneapolis site committee would love your help in identifying potential local sponsors. A sponsor can support the conference, purchase ad space in the program, or rent space at SDS' first-ever mini (Minny) Expo to be held on-site at the Hyatt during the conference. Thanks ever so much for reviewing the materials at the link above and contacting site committee with suggestions
( Joan: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Tammy: email@example.com ).
Call for Submissions
Thanks for distributing widely! You will also find downloadable formats on the web page linked above.
In 2015, Disability Studies Quarterly will publish a Special Issue to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA has been a watershed in American disability policy, with far-reaching effects on the status of Americans with disabilities, but has fallen far short of the expectations for social transformation with which it was enacted in 1990. The Special Issue will commemorate the ADA’s 25th anniversary with both a look back at how the ADA has affected the disability community and the larger society, and an assessment of future prospects for attaining the ADA’s goals of inclusion and empowerment.
Papers that are related (broadly) to the ADA are invited from scholars from any academic or professional discipline, disability policy professionals and advocates, and from disability activists. The issue will strive to incorporate a diverse variety of perspectives within disability studies. Priority for selection will be given to manuscripts that are broadly framed and advance our understanding of the direct and indirect consequences of the ADA for people with disabilities, rather than those which focus on narrow legal, policy, or technical aspects of the Act.
Some examples of potential paper topics include, but would not be limited to:
- The History of the Americans with Disabilities Act
- The ADA and Disability Law
- The ADA and the Workplace/Workforce
- The ADA and Public Accommodation
- The ADA and Community Living
- The ADA and Disability in the Arts and Popular Culture
- The ADA and Health Care
- Disability Culture and Pride Since the Passage of the ADA
- Disability Politics since the Passage of the ADA
- The Global Impact of the ADA and the U.N. Convention
- The Global Impact of the ADA and the U.N. Convention
All submitted papers will be subject to peer review, and revisions may be requested for inclusion in the Special Issue. The deadline for submission of proposals is June 1, 2014. We anticipate that peer review and editing would be completed, and the complete issue will be submitted to DSQ before the end of 2014.
Proposals or questions about the Special Issue may be directed to Richard Scotch, Special Issue Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submitted by Sunaura Taylor
We are excited to announce the formation of the Animal Interest Group, which brings together scholars, artists and activists from a variety of fields who are interested in the myriad ways animals inform and are important to the field of disability studies. The AIG is a space to consider what animals mean for disability studies, as well as what disability means to critical animal studies. How can we analyze shared oppressions between humans and nonhuman animals productively, and more fundamentally, how do we understand sharedness across species? What pressure does a deeper consideration of nonhuman lives put on notions of rights, intersectionality, justice, and more?
The rapidly growing interest in this field is evident in the number of exciting events and publications produced recently by scholars and activists associated with AIG. 2012-2013 saw the first ever conference specifically dedicated to thinking about animals, the environment and disability (Binghampton University, 2013), as well as multiple books on the topic, including Animacies (Chen, Mel Y.), Earth, Animal and Disability Liberation: The Rise of Eco-Ability (Nocella, Bentley, Duncan, eds) and Confessions of an Autistic Theologian: A Contextual, Liberation Theology (Salomon, Daniel). 2014 will see the publication of additional books on this topic including Beasts of Burden (Taylor, Sunaura). Additionally numerous scholars have recently published work in this burgeoning field in journals and edited collections, and the Journal for Critical Animal Studies will be releasing a special issue on animals and disability this Fall, 2013. Finally AIG members have presented a number of exciting panels on animals and disability at SDS, and look forward to exploring these issues at future SDS conferences and beyond.
“Anti-cure Autistic Interventions and the Genesis of the Neurodiversity Caucus”
Submitted by Zach Richter
The Neurodiversity Caucus of the Society for Disability Studies, which held its first meeting at the June 2013 conference, is nothing short of a breakthrough in its building of a coalition between mainstream disability studies scholars, long-time disability rights activists and the recently growing and active Neurodiversity movement. While Neurodiversity remains a long contested term, the concept finds its main proponents among the autistic activist community. The founding of the Neurodiversity caucus should then be understood as a formal welcoming of autistic, learning disabled, developmentally disabled and psychiatric-survivor activists, scholars and bloggers in to the disability studies community.
Previous to June 2013, I had already attended one Society for Disability Studies conference (2012), where I met a strong contingent of autistic and otherwise neurodivergent individuals involved loosely in disability activism and studies. But we lacked organization, we lacked a voice; we huddled into one session in which a bunch of autistic activists and the openly-autistic scholar Melane Yergeau spoke about the inception of the most recent strain of autistic activism in opposition to the pro-cure nonprofit known as Autism Speaks.
June 2013 marks a turning point because of a specific set of events. Long-time activist Corbett O’Toole had already been in touch with Prof. Elizabeth Grace and Prof. Grace and I had decided to present on Intersectionality and Autistic Culture with our fellow members of the movement, Steven Kapp, Alyssa Zisk and several other folks. But what really pushed us forward was our mounting concern with the conference’s opening event.
The opening session of SDS was a performance in which autistic children and narrator Prof. Michael Bakan made music for the crowd. As audience members entered the room, we were given a questionnaire asking if the performance changed our view of the “functioning level” of the autistic performers. The mere mention of “functioning level” as a concern related to the musical performance of autistic children invoked many memories of ableist judgement and devaluation based on therapeutic and educational standards and was felt by many current members of the Neurodiversity Caucus to be both offensive and to show an assimilationist perspective guiding the performance. To say nothing else, Bakan and his performance were in complete opposition to the effort toward non-judgemental inclusion that lies at the heart of disability studies. I myself walked out, mid-show. Bakan later showed up at Prof. Grace and my session on autistic culture and intersectionality and we had an interesting and productive conversation about his show. Ultimately, he seemed receptive to our ideas. While our presence at SDS has been growing, the need for a Neurodivergent voice at SDS became even more apparent at the 2013 conference in Orlando.
What role will the Neurodiversity caucus play in the future of disability studies and more specifically, in the future of the Society for Disability Studies? Disability studies has always been a field overtly driven by activist efforts that have pushed for disability rights and disability justice. However, as of late, the scholarly study of disability has become detached from the efforts of recent activists, especially in the autistic activist movement. The main goal of the neurodiversity caucus at SDS is to function as a bridge between the worlds of neurodiversity activism and formal disability studies scholarship. To advance the goal of increased academic representation on behalf of neurodiversity activists, our caucus intends to raise money so that such activists can attend SDS. Furthermore, we hope to promote research that is specifically useful toward the goals of neurodiversity activists. But both of these goals require a large membership base and funds (especially to help cover institutionally unsupported activists). All are welcome to join regardless of diagnosis as long as one’s intent is that of being an ally and we especially encourage people that have been diagnosed (or self-identify) with developmental, learning, psychiatric or psychological pathologies to enter our group. Those interested in contributing time or resources to a neurodivergent future for disability studies should contact either myself (Zachary Richter), at email@example.com or Elizabeth Grace at Elizabeth.Grace@nl.edu.
The International Caucus began with its interest in supporting the participation of international students and scholars in SDS and to engage in international research in disability. There is a wide range of research and advocacy interests within the group, and including faculty who may not engage in international research, but have diverse classes with students from around the world. They are concerned about global disability issues that impact on their teaching and the classroom. Today it is expected to see students who were born in one country, went to school in another, and then conduct post-secondary studies in North America, as there are increasing numbers of global citizens.
In addition the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is impacting on attitudes, policies and practices around the world that requires the attention of a wider number of researchers and educators. It is hoped that one outcome from these changes will be that disability will become an expected variable in all research projects and increasing numbers of academics will address disability in their research.
At our annual meeting the International Caucus decided the name did not reflect the current globalized reality and it was necessary to reflect the changing times and the increasingly global nature of the field of critical disability studies. By a unanimous vote it was decided that the title should be changed to the Global Disability Research Interest Group to be more inclusive and reflect this globalization.
Disability issues are hotly debated at this time as they are at the centre of economic issues in political debates and of public discourse. The network welcomes faculty, students and advocates to participate in the meetings and sessions of the group to engage in these debates as the rights-based approach of the 2006 UN Convention is impacting globally, and locally in our own communities and workplaces.
A Call for Papers for the 2014 SDS annual general meeting will be sent out for the planned double session on disability in the global context, as well as a workshop addressing the increasingly global classroom.
Submitted by: Jane Dunhamn
The People of Color Caucus (POCC) was formed at the 2005 SDS Conference on “Race and Disability” at San Francisco State University. This was the first time there was a delegation of activists and artists of color represented at SDS. The inclusion of disabled scholars of color and the delegation was a pivotal moment to unite, and to begin political discussions with SDS and larger disability communities.
The Caucus meets each year at the SDS conference. The POCC primarily serves as a safe space for disabled and nondisabled people of color to nurture, network and organize around transformation of SDS to include racial and class justice.
A major barrier to POCC members’ participation in SDS lies in financial costs, particularly because the majority of its members are graduate students and activists. These financial costs are a challenge for us; they prohibit our consistent strong presence at SDS.
Also, transformation toward racial and class justice cannot be achieved without anti-racism work by white people. At the 2013 SDS conference, white disabled activists and scholars formed a white allies’ anti-racism group. They meet on their own, while the POCC meets. The two groups share notes from their meetings and find time to network regarding specific issues during the conference.
Both POCC and white allies work to achieve more racial and class consciousness in SDS. If you are attending future SDS conferences, please stop by and join the transformation.
At the Society for Disability Studies June 2013 Conference, the Queer Caucus held its annual meeting, facilitated by Sumi Colligan and Aly Patsavas. The meeting was held during lunch on Friday of the conference, and had approximately 45 participants. After a rowdy round of introductions, the group began discussing the possibilities of a name change; while this issue has been on the table for several years, there continues to be a split consensus among Queer Caucus participants.
To summarize the debates and struggles on this naming issue: Some participants feel strongly about keeping Queer in the title of the group in order to give voice to the inclusive, radical potentialities of queer identity and queer theory. Others feel that the name is exclusive of those who are bi-sexually identified and asexually identified. Still others highlight the critique of the white privilege inherent in Queer communities. Social Science research monies that exclude the experience of bisexual and asexual individuals was cited as a precedent for this exclusion by gay, lesbian and trans-focused research.
The difficulty largely boils down to the complicated and complex history of “Queer” as a politicized term, organizing principle and as an identity category. Some feel that asking the Queer Caucus to change its name is part of a history of de-politicizing queers and queerness, while others cite the way that the term reifies hierarchies across class, race and even sexuality lines as a reason to change the name to be more in line with the politics of the group.
While discussing the possibility of a name change, participants from the Board asked that we think in a new direction: do we want the Queer Caucus to be about academic research, which may warrant keeping the name in connection with Queer Crip Studies, or do we want the Caucus to be a place of fellowship and shared personal experiences of GLBQIA-identified people. Or, do we create two separate threads. There was no consensus made on this point either.
The group did throw around a few suggestions of name changes. Some being: Stonewall Caucus, The Caucus that Dare Not Speak Its Name, the Pride Caucus (but there was an understanding that this might get confused with Disability Pride) and the LGBTQA Caucus. There was again no consensus on the name change other than that participants are willing to consider a name change but desire the attendant time to address the politics as well as the stakes in a name change. While this issue has been raised at the last four years of Queer Caucus meetings, the difficulty of continuing the conversation outside of the conference space as well as the long histories, political attachments and difficult erasures associated with a word like Queer continue to frustrate our attempts to move forward. The caucus is committed to honor the community work that the word Queer does (as one participant pointed out, 45 people came to the room because of the name of the caucus) while also taking in and attending to the erasures that the current name perpetuates.
We discussed facilitating a survey that can be distributed outside of the SDS conference space to help clarify constituent’s priorities in terms of what they want the caucus to accomplish as well as to gather ideas for/vote on potential names. We also discussed the potential of holding a workshop, perhaps in the form of a panel discussion to be held prior to the caucus as a way of creating the time and space to hold these discussions. Some issues we need to clarify before (re)naming the caucus: What is the mission and goals of the caucus? What role do the facilitators have as decision-making entities? How do we vote: majority rule, 2/3 requirement for a change, etc?
In summary, the Queer Caucus continues to be a growing group at SDS, with both seasoned and young scholars and activists. We look forward to clarifying the mission statement of the group in the next year, looking to academic mentorship initiatives, conference scholarship fundraising, and initiatives targeted at continuing to make the conference space one that supports politicized members with a multitude of gender and sexuality expressions. Aly Patsavas, PhD student in the Disability Studies Program at the University of Illinois Chicago will continue her leadership in the caucus, with the help of Ally Day, PhD Candidate in the Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at The Ohio State University and Elizabeth (Ibby) Grace, Assistant Professor of Education at National Lewis University.
Submitted by Adam P. Newman
During the 2013 SDS Conference in Orlando, FL, the Student Interest Group gathered to assess the group’s ongoing initiatives as well as openly discuss student issues at SDS and potential future student-led and student-oriented initiatives. First, it was unanimously agreed upon that better year-round communication among the members of the interest group would benefit all involved and greatly facilitate student involvement/experience at SDS, especially as most members are the only person engaged in Disability Studies at their home institutions. Towards such an end, Cassandra Hartbly (UNC—Chapel Hill) stepped forward to serve as the group’s “Networking Coordinator,” agreeing to establish and moderate a Facebook page for the group as well as moderate the pre-existing though underused SDS student list-serve. Second, building on the enormous success of the panels of undergraduate presenters at the 2012 and 2013 conference, the group determined to continue the practice of soliciting nominations for undergraduate paper presentations, with Jordan Johnson (Emory University) and Amber Johnson (Michigan State University) agreeing to coordinate such efforts for the 2014 meeting. Finally, it was agreed that more discussion on pedagogy and professionalization was needed at SDS, in particular for graduate students currently entering the classroom for the first time and preparing for the job market. As a first step towards opening formal public spaces for such discussions at SDS in the future, Jessica Waggoner (Indiana University) will be coordinating a professionalization workshop on the academic job market for the 2014 conference that will feature junior faculty, while Casey Green (UConn) and Adam P. Newman (Emory University) will be coordinating a hands-on workshop on accessibility and pedagogy for the conference in addition to proposing a plenary on the topic of “Sustainable Pedagogies in Disability Studies.”
Mary Grimley Mason, Linda Long Bellil. (2013). Taking Care: Lessons from Mothers with Disabilities (University Press of America). "These life Stories provide both historical context and a path forward for mothers with disabilities." Laura Umansky, co-editor, The New Disability History: American Perspectives
Donna McDonald (2014). The Art of Being Deaf: a memoir. Gallaudet University Press, Washington DC.
David Mitchell has a new book manuscript in press titled, The Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment.
Daniel Salomon published his latest book on Amazon this June, Confessions of an Autistic Theologian: A Contextual, Liberation Theology (Amazon: Create Space Independent Publishing Platform, 2013).
Smith, P. (2014). Disability and diversity: An introduction. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.
Smith, P. (2013). Both Sides of the Table: Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability. NY: Peter Lang.
Elaine Gerber (2012) “Eating, Feeding, & Disability” in The Encyclopedia of Agricultural Ethics, Springer, edited by Paul B. Thompson and David M. Kaplan, 2012. Published online at: http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/307546.html. As part of an online encyclopedia, the piece can undergo continual revision, so I welcome feedback!
Maren Linett, associate professor of English at Purdue University, has recently published three articles in literary disability studies. The first, “‘Seeing, seeing, seeing’: Deafness, Knowledge, and Subjectivity in Elizabeth Bowen,” is forthcoming in Twentieth-Century Literature, Winter 2013. The second, “Blindness and Intimacy in Early Twentieth-Century Literature,” just appeared in Mosaic 46.3 (September 2013): 27-42; the third, “Involuntary Cure: Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier,” appeared in Disability Studies Quarterly 33.1 (January 2013).
Suzanne Stolz has a new position at the University of San Diego, coordinating their Online Master of Education program. She designed a Universal Design for Learning and Inclusive Education specialization for the program. http://medonline.sandiego.edu/
David Mitchell is now Professor of English at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. He joins an already well-established literary, cultural, and Disability Studies-based faculty including: Robert McRuer, Jennifer James, Jonathan Psy, Jeffrey Cohen, Holly Dugan, among others. David will teach courses in Disability Studies, American Literature, and Cultural Studies at the undergraduate and graduate level. He looks forward to contributing to future degree program development and concentrations in Disability Studies as well as participating in the university's strong commitment toward inclusion and accessibility where the Disability Services Office features prominently. His new contact information is: firstname.lastname@example.org; Department of English, 801 22nd Avenue, 751 Rome Hall, The George Washington University, Washington, DC 20052.
Beth Haller of Towson University has been selected to participate in the Empower Partnerships for Inclusive Communities Program, administered by Mobility International USA (MIUSA) and sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. She and the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism at Towson University are partnering with the Serbian disability organization, Centre Living Upright, and the Novi Sad Journalism School in Serbia. The Towson University-Serbia project focuses on media and other communication platforms as tools to advance the rights of persons with disabilities in Serbia.
Daniel Salomon has made many significant “inroads” for the various neurodiversity communities into the Christian Church within the last year. Salomon was accepted into the Methodist Denomination this last July 2013, where he has become active in the environmental ministry and the various other fellowship ministries at his local church. Recently, he was invited to speak-at his local church’s Reconciliation Ministry to begin a discussion about the possibility and the need to expand their anti-oppression, social justice agenda to also include disability and neurodiversity. Salomon was well received by the community.