ROSEMARIE GARLAND-THOMSON, Professor of English & Bioethics at Emory University
DJ KURS, Artistic Director for Deaf West Theatre
KAREN NAKAMURA, Robert and Colleen Haas Distinguished Chair in Disability Studies and
Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley
UCLA’s Disability Studies program announces a two-day conference on Disability as Spectacle (April 13-14, 2017). Disability’s representation in current popular culture, academic discourse, and political rhetoric raises important questions about how disability is depicted and which disabilities are excluded or rendered invisible in this new cultural landscape. How does our current moment’s heightened awareness of disability produce benefits and/or disadvantages in other social, political, or economic spheres? The conference theme encourages scholars, practitioners, artists, and activists to think critically about disability’s representations and invites them to share ideas about the future of disability rights and Disability Studies as this historically marginalized community continues to make advances in mainstream culture.
This conference aims to stimulate a discussion around how society constructs, reacts, and embraces or rejects visible and invisible disabilities in the public sphere. As representations change in popular and political culture, scholars, practitioners, artists, and activists will need to confront a changing milieu in which (some) disabilities are de-stigmatized while others are prevented from participation.
The film and television industry’s role in disability’s changing status makes Los Angeles an ideal location to reflect upon disability as spectacle.