Disability Series

In this series, I invite disability studies scholars to campus, and we (re)position disability as a sociological, historical, political, and cultural phenomenon (rather than only a medical or sentimental one). It was briefly on hiatus while I had my son.

Corbett OToole, Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History

Photo of Corbett OToole, with a faint smile. She is a white woman with short black and gray hair, wearing a heavy red beaded necklace and purple flowered top. Grass is in the background.

September 17, 2015 (flyer)

In this intimate talk, Corbett OToole shares her experiences as a pivotal figure in the disability rights movement who was present at the 504 Sit-in, the founding of the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley, and more. With humor, insight, and honesty, she frames these experiences in the context of dance, queer disability organizing, and being a disabled parent.


Melanie Yergeau, Minding Theory of Mind:  Autism, Embodiment, Narrative 

Melanie is a white woman wearing glasses with her hair pulled back. She is wearing a black shirt that says neurodiveristy in white letters. She is holding her hand forward and stimming with a pink rubber band.

October 3, 2013 (flyer)

Yergeau examines the ways in which theories about Theory of Mind (ToM) dehumanize autistic people, with a specific focus on how ToM is applied in both narrative and rhetorical studies. Theories about ToM not only deny autistic people agency; they call into question their very humanity. In response to such constructions, this presentation centers on the ways in which autistic life writing speaks back to normative representations of autistic selfhood and asserts autism as a way of being.

Melanie also spoke at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities on October 2, 2013. Her talk there is entitled “Hacking Neurotypicality: Autistic Activism Online.”


Faculty Workshop on Gender and Disability with Garland Thomson

This is a photo of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. She is white woman with short gray hair, and is wearing a black shirt and large brown necklace. She has on black, round-ish glasses and is against a brown background.

April 19, 2013

This workshop will provide a discussion of how gender and disability intersect in several fields of representation, including popular media, portraiture, classical art, advertising, self presentation venues, the breast cancer movement, feature films, and art photography. It approaches disability as a human variation produced by interaction of impairment with social environment and considers the ways in which gender and disability inflect one another as part of this interaction. Our discussion will consider several images/artworks that demonstrate some of the variety of ways in which gender and disability intersect in contemporary visual and material culture.


Working Lunch with Lennard Davis

This is a photo of Lennard Davis. He is a white man with white hair moving in all directions. He has dark eyes and smiles, and is wearing a black t-shirt and brown sports jacket. He is only seen in portrait.

March 6, 2012

The Disability as Diversity initiative funded a lunch with Lennard Davis and faculty members interested in Disability Studies from UC Colorado Springs, UC Denver, CU Boulder, and the Anschutz Medical Campus.


Margaret Price, Mad at School: Rhetorics of Disability and Academic Life

This is a photo of Margaret Price. She has short dark hair and bright eyes. She is smiling and wearing a gray, sleeveless shirt. There is some blurred trees in the background.

September 22, 2011

This talk examined how popular and scholarly writings about school shooters (specifically, Seung-Hui Cho and Steven Kazmierczak) use the shooters’ presumed madness as a mechanism to reinforce dominant myths about security, privacy, and purity in academe.


Anne Finger, Call Me Ahab

This is a photo of Anne Finger. She is a white woman with short, reddish hair. She is smiling and wearing a beige turtleneck with a black jacket.

February 25, 2010

Imagine a Hollywood encounter between Helen Keller and Frida Kahlo, “two female icons of disability.” Or the story of “Moby Dick, or, The Leg,” told from Ahab’s perspective. What if Vincent Van Gogh resided in a twentieth-century New York hotel, surviving on food stamps and direct communications with God? Or if the dwarf pictured in a seventeenth-century painting by Velazquez should tell her story? And, finally, imagine the encounter between David and Goliath from the Philistine’s point of view. These are the characters who people history and myth as counterpoints to the “normal.” And they are also the characters who populate Anne Finger’s remarkable short stories. Affecting but never sentimental, ironic but never cynical, these wonderfully rich and comic tales reimagine life beyond the margins of “normality.”


Susan Schweik, The Ugly Laws: Disability In Public.

This is a photo of Sue Schweik. She is a white woman with long gray hair and is wearing a black v-neck. She is smiling and the background is gray.

November 18, 2009

“It is hereby prohibited for any person, who is diseased, maimed, mutilated or deformed in any way, so as to be an unsightly or disgusting object, to expose himself to public view.” So stated a law once on the books in many American cities, from Chicago to San Francisco to Denver. Susan Schweik discussed these so-called “ugly laws,” the subject of her book from New York University Press.


Rosemarie Garland Thomson, “Medical Genocide as Policy and Ideology”

This is Rosemarie Garland Thomson. She is smiling and has grayish hair and is wearing glasses. She has on a purple shirt against a brown background.

February 16, 2009

This talk focused on the cultural logic of euthanasia, particularly for people with disabilities during and before the Holocaust, and spoke to the increasingly frequent discussions of what lives are worth living, and who decides.


Disability as Diversity on “A Wider World”

This is the logo for the show "A Wider World" on PBS. It has an abstract yellow butterfly.

The Disability as Diversity series was featured on the PBS series, “A Wider World.”


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