Discussion Notes from Davis Intro and Winzer Chapter

30 01 2008

Below are my notes from January 16. Sorry about the lag getting them posted. Please feel free to comment. I’ll try to generate a better post-meeting discussion this time around. (See next post for the chapters in Davis we’re reading.)

Disability Studies Reading Group
January 16, 2008

Intro to Davis and Winzer Chapter

1.Who can/should write about disability?
How dated is the intro? His parents are deaf, which makes him part of the community—is that enough?

If we live long enough, everyone becomes disabled. We have to consider the reality of occupying a temporarily abled body.

He claims that disabled studies has coalesced recently, but there does still seem to be a lot of internal dissent. Where, for example, does mental disability fit? AIDS and queerness are part of the discipline, though.

Is this part of the inception of any kind speciality studies. When do they become generalized?

One member sought to bring disability studies into the list of minority literature hires, and it didn’t work. Still have to be hired under other auspices.

Both want it not to be ghettoized, but also to understand why its necessary to have a sub-group.

2. What role does medicalization play or should it play?
Wary of the complete naturalization of a certain condition—doesn’t okay marginalization, but medicalization does in some way enforce the “normal.”

Biocultures (Davis’s latest work)—incorporating biology into ontology and ways of knowing. Biology not as destiny, but a reality to be contended with (like culture).

A strange paradigm in the university, that mental illness is not considered a desirable diversity, where as physical is accommodated. But the Office of Disabled Students aids almost 98% learning disabled students.

3. Shifting role of monasteries and hospices from providing refuge into institutions that protect society from the disabled. All the way to Reagan and final blow to institutions in the U.S.
treatment of people with illness as those with civil rights

anti-psychiatry and valorization, i.e. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

integration movement

development and dissemination of drugs and surgery (lobotomies!)

4. Where do we go from here?
passing vs. not passing, Ann Fox, Gender and Disability, madness and disability

looking at class

disability studies as a canon

medicalization of identity in cont. culture

Rosemarie Garland Thompson in Davis

role of private parts/privacy in early modern europe

The Disability Studies Reader, Lennard J. Davis

13 12 2007

At the first meeting (to be held the week of January 14-18), we will discuss the introduction to Davis’ Disability Studies Reader and Margaret Winzer’s article from the collection, “Disability and Society Before the Eighteenth Century.”

After discussion, suggestions for subsequent readings and discussion leaders will be solicited for meetings to be held every other week.