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Multiple Perspectives OSU Program

Sunday April 7, 2019:

Integrating Race, Transforming Feminist Disability Studies

Integrating Race, Transforming Feminist Disability Studies presented by Dr. Jina Kim and Dr. Sami Schalk. Following a day of co-conference programing (SDS@OSU) by the Society of Disability Studies this free public event kicks off the MP conference with dinner; mingling; and dancing at the DISCO BALL!  Hosted by the Disability Studies, the Disability Studies Graduate Student Association with support from the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Student Life Multicultural Center, the Department of Comparative Studies and Project Narrative. This event is free and open to the public; however, all attendees must register.

Monday, April 8th, 2019

8:30am–10:00am - Concurrent Sessions

Session A: Wheelchair Dance – Social Perception of Dancer’s Ability Challenging Instrument

Nataliya Kolesova

“Wheelchair Dance – Social Perception of Dancer’s Ability Challenging Instrument” structured one-hour workshop to address the gaps surrounding wheelchair users’ dance and widen perception around inclusion in dance. Assuming the limited, or non-existing, knowledge of the targeted audience with wheelchair dance and/or Para DanceSport at all, the workshop is designed for adapted physical education instructors, educators who work in inclusive settings, social workers, novice and experienced dance instructors, social rehabilitation professionals, disability rights advocators and people with disabilities. First, the presenter will describe her road to become a professional wheelchair dancer, covering the hardships and successes that lead to achievements in professional Paralympic Para DanceSport (10 minutes). The difficulties will be analyzed in reciprocity to factors that contribute to the exclusion of wheelchair users from dance programs, such as ableism, the social construct of access-knowledge, retrofit and universal design for learning. Furthermore, the institutional critique of wheelchair dance will be offered (20 minutes). Subsequently, the presenter will review five existing studies pertinent to wheelchair dance discussed in her assigned systematic review to make conclusions concerning the possible influence of dance on social perceptions of disability (15 minutes). Finally, the presenter will perform one of the wheelchair dances included in her professional activity (10 minutes). There will be a 5-minute break before the panel and performance. The panel-performance utilizes the most frequently used methods of training facilitation: 1) Verbal methods of information (mini-lectures, dialogues, discussions), 2) Demonstration (PowerPoint presentation, videos, performance), 3) Practice: group discussions, brainstorming, video/performance analysis). The materials for the workshop will include slides and videos arranged in a PowerPoint presentation format and the presenter’s object lesson performance.

Session B: Shaming; Naming; Claiming? Disability Figures through Historic Literature

Elizabeth Sammons

Writers have portrayed characters with disabilities under many lenses through the millennia and across cultures. Three basic frameworks, shaming, naming or claiming have emerged. This lecture will discuss a few vivid examples in each category, plus open discussion on emerging trends and patterns. This part-lecture, part-interaction will provide a basic framework from which to view literature including characters with disability. Besides drawing on a variety of cultures and time periods, the presenter will include her own experience as a writing artist incorporating inclusive characters in her fictional writing. The readings and talk are intended for a beginning-level audience of disability-studies students, advocates and others who appreciate mindful reading. Basic familiarity with classic literature is of value but not essential for participating in this interactive presentation.

Session C: Residential Living in a College Setting

Diane Clouse, Shannon Prince, and Kerri Wolfer

Attendees will learn about housing options available to current students with ID. They will also engage in discussion surrounding the supports that have been provided to this unique population living in the residence halls.

Session SDS: Disability Studies Quarterly’s Expanded Online Archive

Brenda Brueggemann

The Ohio State University Libraries has published Disability Studies Quarterly (DSQ)  since 2006 and the journal has been completely open access and accessible online since then as well (with issues going back to 2000).  DSQ is the oldest journal in the field and also considered "the journal of record" for the field.  Through a joint effort with the OSU Libraries and past DSQ editors, and with extraordinary gifts of archival materials from longstanding Society for Disability Studies (SDS) members, the entire collection of all DSQ publications – going back to 1982 – was just recently made publicly available and open access via the OSU Libraries Knowledge Bank repository: This session features a roundtable discussion with brief contributions from 7 speakers, followed by active audience engagement with the archives and collaborative conversation.

10:15am–11:45am - Concurrent Sessions

Session A: All The Colors of the Spectrum: Diversity within Neurodiversity

Senay Daniel & Karen Krainz Edison

When a lay person thinks of someone with autism, he or she may imagine a television or film character with autism such as the leading men of The Good Doctor, Atypical, or Rain Man. These characters, and many more in American media who are known or thought to have autism nearly always have one thing in common: They are presented as white. In the current zeitgeist, autism and whiteness are inextricably coupled, leaving little room for the representation of others outside of this mold. Even among the real-world population of American individuals diagnosed with autism, people of color are significantly underrepresented. Despite there being no causal link between ethnicity and incidence of autism, certain racial and ethnic groups in the United States are significantly less likely to be diagnosed with autism, and are diagnosed later in life when they receive a diagnosis. Individuals with autism that belong to certain racial and ethnic groups receive less financial support, educational support, and medical treatment than their white counterparts do. The reasons for the disparity are widespread, but commonly cited factors include socioeconomic disparities, implicit and overt racial biases held by medical professionals, and issues stemming from cultural differences. While these factors are an unfortunate part of American life, there are actions that can alleviate their impact, and our presentation calls attention to both the issues at hand and a potential solution. Our presentation advocates for the creation of a group that is intended to support young adults of color who are on the autism spectrum. Support is scarce for young adults on the spectrum in general, and even more so for young adults of color. This group will be an apolitical, non-profit, non-religious association that accepts all people who identify as part of an ethnic or racial minority. People who identify as Caucasian and/or neurotypical will be welcome to participate as allies. Noted benefits of a group such as this include the ability for the members to see positive representation of individuals similar to themselves, as well as increased ability to self-advocate and network with supportive peers and allies. Research has shown that organizations supporting diversity and connection with other minority group members improve cross-racial experiences for young adults of color without reducing cross-racial interaction, contrary to the assumption that ethnic associations encourage self-segregation.

Session B: Performance Workshop: Performing History at the Intersection 

Victoria Lewis

History matters and not just in the abstract. Born into a world of curb cuts, reserved parking spaces, and accessible bathrooms, undergraduate students equate visible signs of change with a level of social equity that has yet to be achieved by the majority of disabled people. The deep engagement with history that One Day: On the Road to the ADA provides lets students view disabled people as political actors with agency, and, by activating the past in the present, see themselves as allies in the ongoing fight that continues till today. One Day is a documentary/verbatim play. The text comes from the public record, the first congressional hearing on the ADA (9/27/1988) and excerpts from Fred Pelka;s oral history of the disability rights movement What We Have Done. The performers to date have been both non-actors and actors and have represented an inclusive cast of students, faculty and disabled community members cutting across gender, sexual orientation, ability, age, ethnicity, race and class affiliations. Campus collaborators have included students/professors from Race and Ethnic Studies, Women’s Gender and Sexuality, Public Policy, and Medical Humanities. The goals of this project are first, to create a horizontal relationship with all players in the room through the transformative, collaborative power of theatre. The second is to create a text and performance map that, with minimal rehearsals, can be used in schools and community settings to create community and transform disability consciousness. This conference performance activity provides a forum of peers to discuss the success or not of conscious intersectional casting, possible strategies for covering the journey of the ADA since its passage including excluded groups from the 1990 law, and what role the ADA can or cannot play as our national social safety net threatens to disintegrate.

Session C: Students with ID/DD on Campus: Challenges for Inclusion

Amy Shuman, Margo Izzo, Diane Clouse, and Jessie Green

As a field, Disability Studies has integrated the activism of the Disability Rights Movement with critiques of the stigmatizing practices that marginalize and make invisible people with disabilities. Both the activism and the critique have, understandably, privileged people speaking for themselves, reclaiming representations of their lives, and resignifying what counts as normalcy. People with IDD are often beyond these margins and often remain invisible to disability studies. This panel considers what happens when people with IDD attend classes and participate in activities on college campuses as part of the new wave of Think College programs across the United States.

Session SDS: Interrogating the Role of Culture and Identity. Race, Sex and Disability: Interrogating the role that race and culture play when queer young disabled people form intimate partnerships 

Angela Stanley

The 1996 book The Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Desires, by Shakespeare, Davies and Gillespie-Sells, changed the landscape for the disability rights movement. For the first time, sexuality and disability were intertwined within the call for citizenship rights. Furthermore, lesbian and gay disabled peoples’ narratives were used to illuminate the barriers that young people faced when trying to access their sexuality. Building on this legacy, the existing literature and the findings of my 2013 Major Research Project, my research seeks to close the two most glaring gaps in the literature, which are: an insufficient analysis of the way that sexuality and disability interacts with race and culture; and the erasure of queer disabled people of colour within Canadian Disability and Sexuality Studies. Since the publication of Untold Desires, more disabled people, scholars and theorists have been writing about their own experiences with, and understandings of, sexuality (Erickson, 2010, Gurza, 2017, Liddiard, 2011). There has been a shift in the ways that information about sexuality has been disseminated, with an increase in magazines, websites and blogs, that are written for disabled people by disabled people. It is within this climate that I choose to explore the area of queer disabled youth sexuality. My work is grounded in the social model of disability, through which disability is understood as emerging through social, economic, political and other barriers, Queer theory, which emerged out of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans* (LGBT) studies, as well as feminist studies in critical race theory.

Japanese Ceremonial Identity: Examining Naruto’s Childhood based on ‘Normate’ 

Aparna Rajeev) 

The epistemic violence of psychiatric meta-narratives has excluded, invalidated and repressed the representation of madness for centuries resulting in the silencing of mad voices and experiences at the medical, social and discursive level. Though madness memoirs have emerged as a genre of choice for rhetoric expression and self-representation, these stories have been delegitimised by Psychiatry which questioned their narrative authority. Therefore, when the United States of America, in the 1980s, witnessed a paradigm shift in anti-psychiatry movement with the advent of several mental health consumer rights and mad pride activisms, patient narratives served to build a universal consciousness within the mad community through an act of sharing personal stories at the political platform. These autobiographical writings not only interrogated and challenged the omnipotence of medico-scientific truth through the literary production of extra-discursive knowledge and narrative truth, they also highlighted the paradox implicit in reclaiming their lost subjectivity within systems of oppression, objectification and dehumanisation. The intersectionality of gender and madness further complicates this paradox of impossible subjecthood in case of female autobiographers which makes it an interesting and relevant site of research. In the backdrop of the revolution in both psychiatric and anti-psychiatric scene in America at the turn of the century, a historic phase that I would like to identify as the ‘Prozac moment’, I propose to read Elizabeth Wurtzel’s Prozac Nation and Marya Hornbacher’s Madenss: A Bipolar Life as madfeminist memoirs which offer a gendered critique of the diagnostic category of depression and its socio-cultural representations while portraying the embodied experiences of mental illness by embracing, and thereby reclaiming, the ‘madwoman’ identity(ies). This study seeks to examine these autobiographical narratives as methods of interruption and strategic intervention which, through an entanglement of textuality and experientiality, dialogues with mental health discourses and create spaces for enacting marginalised identities.

Contingency gone right? The strange case of medicine solidifying the epileptic’s anti-capitalist subject position (Megh Marathe)

Epileptics are otherwise-ideal subjects (e.g., Socrates, Caesar, Napoleon) who match normate standards of productivity and perform normalcy, yet regularly and unpredictably turn feral and ungovernable. Since antiquity, therefore, epilepsy has occupied the minds of healers, philosophers, physicians, and scientists, who have variously believed it to arise from possession, depravity, pathophysiology, and psychopathology at different times and places. Until the late nineteenth century, epilepsy remained a contested object between neurology and psychiatry. It was the development of the electroencephalograph (EEG), a device that displays brain activity in the form of electrical waves over time, that resolved the debate in the early twentieth century, placing epilepsy firmly within the discipline of neurology [2], becoming routine in epilepsy diagnosis [3]. And why not: the EEG rendered legible the human brain, which, until the EEG’s invention, had been unavailable for direct examination. The EEG is a technology of representation, built on western liberal assumptions of the patient as an autonomous, separate, stable self, which allows clinicians to impute “normalcy” and “abnormalcy” to brains (and people) in the form of diagnoses. Indeed, as the only reliable temporal representation of brain activity, it continues to serve as "one of the fundamental tools of clinical neurology [4]. By rendering visible the spike and sharp wave of seizure activity, however, the EEG shows that epileptics are neither possessed nor depraved, and that seizures are not “all in their head” but biologically “real”.. That is, medicine has (perhaps without intending it) assisted in solidifying an inherently anti-capitalist or ungovernable subject position. If so, how do we as scholars of disability and science & technology parse this situation? Is this an instance of historical contingency working in our favor, or something else entirely? This paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork with epileptologists-in-training in Michigan to mediate on these questions.

Applying the Transnational Model of Disability to Kurdish-Iranian Smugglers (Kulbars): Immobile in Mobility, Injured by Borders, Walls, and Wars

Sona Kazemi

In 2011, Disability Justice Activist Mia Mingus wrote about a form of intimacy that could not be categorized and was previously not conceptualized in the literature on intimacy. According to Mingus, access intimacy describes the intimate moments she experiences as a disabled, queer, person of color, as an almost “magical” form of intimacy that can happen between two or more people based solely upon a person, or a group of people’s access needs. As Mingus describes it, access intimacy is an “elusive, hard to describe feeling when someone else ‘gets’ your access needs” and a sense of “comfort that your [entire] disabled self feels” (Mingus, 2011). Within these instances, disabled people have stated that they can be their authentic selves; while, at the same time gaining new insights and knowledge about their lived disability experience. Not only is knowledge fostered, access intimacy gives people the ability to embrace interdependence, resulting in an ability to care for ourselves and others (McNamara, 2013). In this paper, panelists will discuss the importance of access intimacy and how it plays out in their lives. Based presenter’s research and dissertation work, this paper attempts to bridge a gap between theory and praxis, by exploring the lived experiences of access intimacy.

12:00pm–1:15pm - Lunch Information Exchange

2:00pm–3:30pm - Concurrent Sessions

Session A: Access to STEM Education

Anna Voelker

From an underrepresentation of scientists and engineers with disabilities to a deficit of educational materials available for students with specialized needs, there is a plethora of accessibility issues in the world of STEM. From 3D printing to theatre, this hands-on session at the Multiple Perspectives Conference will introduce participants to some of the innovative ways in which we can break down barriers to science, giving the audience a taste of what the OSU SciAccess Conference will have to offer on June 28 & 29, 2019.  Come hold a tactile galaxy in your hands, listen to the sun’s magnetic field, and experience the many multi-sensory ways in which science can be made more accessible for all.  For more information, please visit to connect with a global network of people who are passionate about STEM inclusion.

Session B: Discussion & Screening of Piss On Pity

Peter Grosz, Virginia Keller, Tom Olin

A showing of Piss on Pity: We Will Ride followed by a discussion lead by Peter Grosz, Director & Producer; Virginia Keller, Producer; & Tom Olin, Photographer.  This film documents the origins and early history of ADAPT.  Exploring the unique and controversial history of this grassroots disability rights group for lessons learned. Through civil disobedience and political savvy, ADAPT has fought discrimination and segregation for over 35 years. They have played major, if little-known, roles in key U.S. laws and policies, including the ADA and Money Follows the Person. This film covers ADAPT’s roots beginning with the liberation of people with disabilities from nursing homes to the fight for accessible transportation. With over 40 interviews, never-before-seen footage and stunning images from Tom Olin, Piss on Pity: We Will Ride gives voice to activists, old and new, who are on the front-lines of disability rights history.

Session C: Preparing for Students with IDD for College Success

Diane Clouse and Erika Campolito

Professionals and families can learn the nitty gritty about how to prepare students with ID in high school on how to be ready for life on campus. Concrete examples that can be taken and implemented immediately will be provided.

Session SDS: Ecological Approaches To Disability

Disability and Climate Change: Embodied Arts and Ethics 

Julia Watts Belser

Through interdisciplinary collaboration with disabled artists and activists, my research documents the distinctive repertoires of disability experience in wild places, arguing that disability can ground an alternative environmental ethic for the Anthropocene. Emerging out of a multi-year interdisciplinary collaboration with the critically-acclaimed Scottish disabled dancer and choreographer Claire Cunningham, my paper analyzes and articulates the relationship between disability, environmental harm, and climate ethics. Bringing together feminist disability phenomenology, embodied research, and queer ecological thought, I argue that disability arts offer a powerful site for confronting the realities of environmental violence and probing the affective terrain of climate change. Building on the foundational scholarship of Alison Kafer, Sarah Jaquette Ray, and Eli Clare, this paper analyzes how lived experiences of disability yield distinctive ways of relating to the imperiled and resilient natural world. It argues that disability can illuminate the dynamics of what I call “climate silence,” the strategies that communities of relative privilege use to turn away from embodied knowledge of climate change. Such epistemic practices, I contend, share striking similarities with the way many non-disabled people avoid grappling with disability. My research pinpoints strategies that disability activists and artists use to challenge disability avoidance and then deploys them for environmental work, leveraging disability expertise to transform our collective capacity to respond to climate change. I suggest that disability artistry offers a powerful affective repertoire for helping society grapple with environmental grief and embrace the realities of environmental precarity—while revealing the creative possibilities present in a life lived amidst constraint. Centering disability, I contend, taps resources for creative adaptation that allow us to imagine a life well-lived amidst climate change.

Identifying Harm: The Scopic Violence of Agent Orange Visualization

Natalia Duong

In this panel, I plan to discuss the visual logics used by documentary media, national government agencies, and nonprofit organizations to identify and mark the spread of the chemical compound Agent Orange. I argue that these visual logics aim to codify the chemical compound as a discrete entity—located in bounded spaces and sovereign bodies—in order to both prove the verity of the chemical’s presence and spark potential treatment plans. These logics are selectively deployed with extreme acuity at times, while at other times, they illustrate an image of Agent Orange as purposefully diffuse and unidentifiable. Thus, I further argue that while these media forms importantly catalyze affective responses from viewers, they also reinscribe a scopic form of violence that marks disabled bodies as evidence of war trauma in need of reparation. In response to these visual tactics, I analyze the work Le Phi Long, Richard Quynh Tran, and Le Minh Chau to illuminate some of the sensual strategies artists use to defray the effects of this scopic violence, and to illuminate more embodied ways of knowing Agent Orange. At stake in this discussion, are the tensions that arise from “expert” versus “civilian” knowledge, anxieties about visualizing risk and harm, and the presumed boundaries challenged by Agent Orange and its multiple migrations.

Disabled Ecologies: Living with Impaired Landscapes

Sunaura Taylor

This presentation suggests that new and generative understandings of disability and nature emerge when we follow the trails of disability that are created when ecosystems are contaminated, depleted, and profoundly altered. I look to the Tucson International Airport Area (TIAA), a forty-year-old Superfund site that developed from contamination of the groundwater by Hughes Aircraft (now Raytheon), in Tucson’s largely Latinx Southside and portions of the Tohono O’odham Nation. Exploring how the term “impairment” was taken up by ecologists and policy makers in the regional and federal environmental policy of the 1970s, I examine how Tucson’s aquifer began to be seen as “impaired” due to the TIAA contamination. Following multiple generations of Latinx and indigenous ill and disabled environmental justice activists from the area, I examine the ways these mostly women activists leveraged the shared vulnerabilities of their community, the aquifer, and Tucson’s broader desert ecosystem, to advocate for a kind of justice that attends to both human and nonhuman harm. This project takes seriously the possibility that processes of ecosystem impairment are not mere metaphors, but rather should productively be viewed as moments of disability, or of what I’m calling ecological disablement: the profound alterations to the capacities and functioning of an entity or system, which limits its ability to sustain itself and others as it previously had. I frame impaired ecosystems as parts of larger networks of what I’m calling disabled ecologies, or the material and cultural ways disability is manifested and produced between and among human and nonhuman entities. This project suggests that disability theory, with its deep engagement with concepts such as loss and limitation, vulnerability, interdependence, and adaptation, might offer key insights into how to live in, respond to, and build accessible futures for all kinds of disabled beings and impaired landscapes.

Disability Ecology: Towards an Embodied Cartography of the Lyric “You” in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric 

Joshua Kupetz

In this presentation I argue that disability is produced in an always-emerging ecological network of human and non-human actors that includes non-normative bodyminds, engineered and non-engineered environments, infrastructural networks, technological artifacts, socio-cultural attitudes and practices, and aesthetic and social forms. I call such a permanently partial network a disability ecology and the embodied experience of it a disability subjectivity. Literary texts, such as Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric, grant form to these dynamic, difficult-to-perceive experiences by textualizing lived reality as an aesthetic object. Marcuse argues that such aesthetic forms arrest the ceaseless flow of the lived present into a discrete set of referents that can be “recognized as a reality which is suppressed and distorted in the given reality” (Marcuse 6), thus allowing sets of ephemeral relationships between actors to become visible. Citizen is a mixed-media lyric poem that explores the embodied realities of Black subjectivities in America through the intersection of lyric poems, shooting scripts, and reproductions of visual art pieces. Crucially, Citizen meditates upon the debilitating and disabling embodied experiences of trauma and traumatic memory. To begin mapping this particular intersection of Blackness and disability, I read Rankine’s use of a lyric “you”—in place of a conventional “I”—as one formal element that gestures toward the co-constitutive nature of identity formation. Rankine’s “you” inverts the conventional subject- object positions of the lyric, jamming normative expectations of form while showcasing banal expressions of white supremacy that often pass as invisible in dominant white culture. Moreover, the distribution of this you’s trauma across a range of social, spatial, and temporal locations—a lunch with a friend; in a queue among strangers in a Starbucks; outside the gate of one’s counselor’s home office; seated beside random tennis fans at the Women’s Final of the U.S. Open—reveals the ecological nature of disability subjectivity formation. Reading Citizen through the lens of disability ecology in this way offers opportunities to reconsider the lyric and the aesthetic forms of literary disability beyond the false horizon of representation.

3:45pm–5:30pm Ken Campbell Memorial Lecture

A Conversation with Judy Heumann: Looking Back to Think Ahead

Judy Heumann

The 2019 Ken Campbell Lecture on Disability Advocacy, Policy. Andrew Sydlik, an OSU doctoral student in early American literature with a concentration in disability studies will interview Judy Heumann and moderate audience questions as she reflects on her journey through the 40 years of the disability rights movement, highlights current and emerging challenges to disability advocacy and helps us chart a path into the future.

5:30pm – 7pm Ethel Louise Armstrong Student Poster Competition

Tuesday, April 9th, 2010


9:00am–10:30am - Concurrent Sessions


Session A: Creating Institutional buy-in for Digital Accessibility Plan

Erin Salva & Emily Wise

Designing accessible instructional content via classroom handouts, the internet or LMS (learning management systems) is not a given. Using power point, lecture and discussion the presenters will share strategies and tips for creating a Digital Accessibility Plan on a small college campus. Kenyon is a liberal arts college with just under 1,800 students. While WCAG 2 offers a set of standards for removing barriers to the world wide web there are no guidelines for creating accessible digital content or technologies for the classroom. Creating institutional standards and methods to monitor compliance with regards to web access can be a starting point. Developing a strategy to provide training and education to campus partners about why digital access matters and providing them with the tools to identify and remediate access barriers requires campus wide buy in. We will identify some key steps in the process for developing a Digital Access plan with representation from across campus.

Session B: Deaf Access and Inclusion as Social Justice in Higher Education 

Rebecca Dadey

This interactive presentation is for audiences with all levels of familiarity with the topic of Deaf access and inclusion. While the intended audience will be educators and employers within academia, the content and outcomes will also benefit advocates, students, and researchers. American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf cultural perspectives are often overlooked or only briefly mentioned in discussions within the fields of disability studies, diversity and multicultural studies, social justice, and Universal Design. Deaf individuals who are culturally Deaf and use ASL consider themselves members of a cultural minority group and do not see themselves as disabled, which clashes with the long-standing mainstream society view that they are in fact disabled. Many of the barriers to access and inclusion for Deaf individuals in their daily lives are a direct result of the social model of disability. There is a lack of understanding among non-Deaf individuals of what access and inclusion truly means for culturally Deaf individuals in education, society, politics, and employment.

Session C: Helping Students Understand the Unspoken Social Norms

Helen Malone, Erika Campolito, and Shannon Prince

Navigating social situations can be stressful for anyone. Attendees will engage in discussion centered on helping students understand unspoken social norms in college settings and within the workplace. Understanding these norms, students are able to better engage with peers in classroom, at student organization meetings and at work.

Session SDS: Inclusive, Interdependent Allyship: Exploring How Social Identities Mediate the Supervision and Participation in Action and Ally Projects in Disability Studies Courses 

Ashley Johnson, Elisa Abes, Megan Zahneis, Courtney Hineman, Hanna Heath

The purpose of this presentation is to explore how our social identities mediate how we engage with our students, each other, and the community while supervising disability action and ally projects in the disability studies courses we instruct. The projects provide opportunities for students to work with university and community members to resist ableism. Examples of projects include creating an accessible university classroom; making Greek Life more accessible and inclusive; offering an ASL course to law enforcement; and creating an inclusive experience for disabled riders of the local bus system. Of the six instructors, three identify as disabled (all of whom are undergraduate teaching assistants) and three identify as non-disabled (all of whom are full-time faculty members). We are interested in exploring how partnerships between disabled and non-disabled instructors shape our interactions, nature of support, experiences, and project outcomes. We will also explore how students’ social identities shape their allyship. We will explore social identities from an intersectional lens. We will: (1) describe the nature of the disability studies courses that we teach and our roles as instructors; (2) describe the nature of the disability action and ally projects in which the students engage; (3) dialogue with each other about our personal reflections on supporting these projects and working with one another; and (4) consider ways in which we can more closely partner with the community members connected to our projects. We will use elements of effective allyship to guide our reflections, such as examining the ways we experience privilege and oppression, including intersectional ableism; educating ourselves about disability; working with not for people with disabilities; taking action; and learning from our mistakes. As a result of our conversation, we will develop innovative ideas for engaging in inclusive disability allyship across identity differences that does not co-opt and commodify interdependence.

10:45am–12:15pm - Concurrent Sessions


Session A: Digital Accessibility Overview

Pete Bossley

This session, appropriate for anyone who produces online content, will cover the basics of digital accessibility including:

  • What do we mean when we say accessibility?
  • What is Ohio State’s Policy on Digital Accessibility
  • Overview of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0
  • What types of Disabilities are there, and how can we get started in making a virtually welcoming environment?
  • What are some helpful resources to get started?

Session B: Review of Key Findings - Dept. of Education’s Office for Civil Rights Staff

Karla Ussery
Abstract forthcoming

Session C: Recognizing Student Stress and How to Support Them

Jackie Teeny-Miller, Diane Clouse, and Jessie Green

We all experience stress and it manifests in each of us differently. How we choose to deal with and manage stress is important. Students with ID are no different and so as professionals we can help out students recognize and manage stress in healthy, productive ways.

Session SDS: Society for Disability Studies Town Hall Meeting


Details forthcoming


12:30pm–1:45pm - Lunch & Information Exchange


2:00pm–2:45pm - Concurrent Sessions


Session A: Digital Accessibility Evaluations: how to tell if something is accessible

Pete Bossley

Building on the foundations in Digital Accessibility Overview this session, best for web and application developers, or other technical staff, will teach the basics of evaluating digital content for accessibility including:

  • Limitations of automated testing solutions
  • Keyboard accessibility
  • Color contrast
  • Semantic structures for screen readers
  • Focus management and complex widgets
  • Native and Mobile applications overview

Session B: Overview of Enforcement by the Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs

Rebecca Fyffe

The OFCCP Overview presentation provides a high level briefing of the agency and the laws that it enforces. Emphasis will be especially placed on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

Session C: Peer Driven Person Centered Plans for College Students with ID

Bill Bauer, MaryElla Bauer, and Margo Izzo

Programs for students with ID on college campuses use person centered plans to drive the goals of the student. Learn about the PCP process and specifically how peers can help throughout the process.

Session SDS: Panel: Undoing the Body Liberal: Contesting the Politics of Inclusionism from a Critical Disability Studies Perspective

Chair: Sara M. Acevedo 

In the Biopolitics of Disability: Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment, Mitchell and Snyder (2015, 4) theorize the contemporary paradoxes of inclusion and integration practices within neoliberal contexts. As they point out, “greater social visibility and participation for [some] disabled people results from practices of neoliberal disability tolerance,” whereby a set of diversity-based integration initiatives “allow for the embrace of some forms of [embodied] difference through making them unapparent”. The authors refer to these neoliberal practices of disability tolerance as ‘inclusionism’. Building on their articulation of inclusionism, which “tends to reify value of normative modes of being developed with respect to able-bodiedness” (2015, 2), this panel discussion deconstructs and destabilizes the production of the body liberal. The panelists understand and define the body liberal not as the material epitome of a civilizing progress packaged to appeal to the loyalties of American Dreamers. Rather, we read it as a social construct and a cultural trope with concrete material consequences for bodyminds who cannot or will notassimilate to the “late liberal” fantasies of heightened individuation, independence, and interpersonal discontinuity (Povinelli 2011). In line with Mitchell and Snyder’s project, that is “thinking disability as a more agentive, ‘leaky,’ materiality,” our work departs from an actionable figuration of disability and of disabled bodies as insurgent producers of life and living beyond the arbitrary parameters of what is conceptualized as “a life worth living” by supporters of the assisted suicide movement, for instance, among others. We draw connections between feminist philosopher Elizabeth Povinelli (2011) and her writings on social belonging, abandonment, and peripheral endurance within “late liberal” contexts and Mitchell and Snyders’ (2015, 3) uses of immanent materialism (or lively materiality) to re-frame the “capabilities that exceed, and/or go unrecognized within, the normative scripts of biopolitics”. We do so not merely to aesthetically or intellectually profit from the cross-pollination of these works and the exciting openings and scholarly futurities they promise, but rather to ground an insurgent exploration of disability-led social projects “that attempt to capacitate a set of human and posthuman worlds, new social imaginaries, and countersites” (Povinelli 2011, 7).

Integration/ism and Bodily Integrity: On the Engineering of Liberal Embodiment (Sara M. Acevedo)

Many of the social theories that (re) center the political economy of the body within “late liberal” contexts draw connections between the formation of nation states and the origins of marginalizing categories such as devianceaberrationdepravity, and immorality. Historically, these categories emerge alongside those of citizenship and borders, and are inextricablytied to ideas of social belonging and social reproduction. Within the social sciences, Michel Foucault’s radical histories (genealogies) proved instrumental in tracing the emergence of new biotechnologies of power aimed at administering all manner socially transgressive bodies, especially at a time when the family unit was cemented as the symbol of moral commitment and national stability. In this paper, I argue that social interventionism, including rights-based discourses, diversity and integration initiatives, as well as liberal policies favoring an “inclusion” approach to service provision are constitutive of the matrix of biopolitical measures aimed at administering and assimilating peripheral disabled lives into the fold of the nation state (Mitchell and Snyder, 2015). The political-geographical ethos within which these measures are operationalized reveal the urgency of rethinking inclusion “beyond the very social spaces that are key markers of social inclusion policy” (Hall 2005, 110). Although Foucauldian thought remains instrumental in examining the role of biopolitics in the engineering of laboring capacity and the deployment of inclusion/ist discourses aimed at sanitizing and redressing undesirable em(bodi)ments as “includable” in the geographical and political context of Anglo-American societies. In this paper, I turn to the work of feminist philosopher Elizabeth Povinelli’s (2011) looking for the hope Foucault seeded in Heterotopias.

“On Being Included”: Grappling with Biopolitics in the Neoliberal Age of Inclusionism (Robin Roscigno)

The Neurodiversity movement has acted as an opposing force to deficit and medical-models of disability positing natural neurological diversity as its political project and organizing around rights, recognition and inclusion for neurodivergent people (Kapp, Gillespie-Lynch, Sherman, & Hutman, 2013).  However, several tensions exist within the theorizing of neurodiversity.  The first is a wrestling with biological essentialism. The hashtag #actuallyautistic (Saunders, 2018), for instance, has been used as claim to a biological legitimacy of Autism; a boundary that separates the autistic from the non-autistic.  This paper grapples with whether or not neurodiversity instantiates biological validity and a reliance on diagnosis (both formal and informal) in an effort to territorialize autistic space.  I argue that while many spaces accept self-diagnosis, an identity politic of authenticity and legitimacy operates in autistic activism that must be destabilized.  I also contend with “diversity” as a political project, exploring the ways that inclusion of neurodivergent people into diversity initiatives invokes biopolitical discipline. I utilize Sara Ahmed’s On Being Included, which argues that institutional diversity initiatives reproduce institutional whiteness, as representation is co-opted by the institution as a marker of their own success (Ahmed, 2012).  I use Ahmed’s work to think through the ways that to be included requires the individual to be made includable, and for difference to be managed in particular ways.  I also explore the ways that inclusion of neurodivergent people into university initiatives expands disciplinary mechanisms for neurodivergent people, while simultaneously legitimizing the university as fulfilling its Neoliberal duties of inclusion-without any significant redistribution of power or resources. This paper explores critical tensions in neurodiversity organizing and scholarship through a biopolitical reckoning with the management of difference through and beyond identity.

Mapping the consequential geographies of disability and diversity across the backdrop of neoliberalism in higher education (Holly Pearson)

The two terms - diversity and inclusion - are often in conjunction. Yet, when (re) examining the ideologies of diversity and inclusion, there is an evident disconnect between diversity and disability. As Davis (2011) noted, “…disability isn’t just missing from a diversity consciousness, but that disability is antithetical to diversity as it now stands” (para. 4). Due to the hegemony of neoliberalism, diversity is tokenized as celebratory identities (e.g., race, gender, or sexuality). These are identities that are “worthy of choosing” (Davis, 2011, para. 6). With disability, this is not the case due to the legacy of disability as pathological, undesired, and twisted. As a result, there is a disconnected conflict between diversity and inclusion. As Ahmed (2012) noted celebration of difference is about erasure of differences by the focus of sameness. Davis (2011) contends, “If difference is being equated with sameness, then how can being different mean anything” (para. 7). Inclusion becomes complicit in the sameness ideology under the guise of minimizing acts of systematic and individualistic exclusionary practices (Ahmed, 2012). The conjunction between disability and inclusion, the conversation is stalled as it focuses on solely access concerns. As Mitchell and Snyder (2015) noted, “Inclusionism requires that disability be tolerated as long as it does not demand an excessive degree of change from relatively inflexible institutions, environments, and norms of belonging” (p. 14). Building upon the current dialogue, this paper entwines critical spatial studies and critical disability studies in order to (re) examine the “consequential geography” (Soja, 2016, p. 1) of the disconnect between diversity and disability. Spatializing the ideologies of diversity, inclusion, and disability not only illuminate further insights into the dynamic between neoliberalism and institutional diversity, but also explores the critical question of how higher education can shift towards a culture of institutional intersectionality and interdependence without being co-opted?

NeoLiberation: Manufacturing the Includable Body(Rua M. Williams)

Mitchell and Snyder (2015) describe “inclusionism” as a framework for defining, achieving, and proclaiming inclusion under the prerequisites of ablenationalism and super-crip or cyborgian narratives of overcoming (p. 36). Erevelles interrogates the foundational assumptions of the law that privilege normative definitions of reason and preclude people with cognitive and mental disabilities from accessing citizenship (Erevelles, 2011). Acevedo elaborates, “[D]isabled people are worthy of inclusion as long as they conform or assimilate to the norm standards of the majority” (Acevedo, 2018, p. 286). “[I]nclusionism reinforces the managerial ‘handling’ of disabled bodies primarily through medical, juridical, and charity channels” (p. 302). This paternalistic, managerial handling produces ‘the includable body’  (access Titchkosky, 2011). We must be shaped into forms worthy of access, and we are to experience this shaping with the reverence of the emancipated subject. In this paper, I will explore some of the ‘Normalizing Technologies’ that have been produced to shape autistic people into includable neurotypical approximations. Our society’s postmodern happiness is built upon the preclusion of certain bodies from citizenship – children in the broom closet (access Le Guin, 1973; Povinelli, 2011). Inclusionism and Normative Technologies represent our society’s efforts to hide our shame. With neoliberal zeal, society longs to release the child from the broom closet by programming the broom closet into the child. We are liberated into a violent inclusion, a neoliberal liberation. I present NeoLiberation as a complimentary concept to Inclusionism. Where inclusionism describes the violent processes of inclusion for the sake of juridical rights-based criteria satisfaction, NeoLiberation describes the violence enacted by presenting inclusionism as emancipation, and emancipation as Justice. I end with a discussion of potential ‘Defiant Technologies’ empowering a crip “civil disobedience”. Defiant Technologies disrupt the normative expectations of being includable before access is granted.


3:15 p.m. – 5 p.m. Ethel Louise Armstrong Lecture


Broadening the Digital World: Balancing Inclusion & Innovation

Eve Hill and Tom Sikora

Join Eve Hill, Co-Lead for Inclusivity and Tom Sikora, Director of Accessibility at Workday, for a dialogue exploring  the meaning and value of digital inclusion as well as the pragmatics of how to move toward that goal. A moderated discussion and audience questions will identify the parameters for a thoughtful, balanced, sustainable approach; describe the commitment and the resources necessary to ensure seamless access; and begin to answer the question: “How do we get there?