Environmental Neurodiversity and Systems Change

Neşe Devenot // Neurodivergent perspectives inspired two of the biggest environmental justice movements of 2019—Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future”—and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. For her part, Thunberg garnered widespread media attention for linking her global impact to having Asperger’s, an autism-spectrum condition that Thunberg calls her “superpower.” According to Thunberg,…

Teaching Victorian Disability Studies

“What it must mean, if we are to be present in this age of challenges, is a profound rethinking of our pedagogical priorities, disciplinary boundaries, and subject positions. Let us actually be Victorianists.” –Christie Harner, “Victorian hybridities”[i] Travis Chi Wing Lau // As I begin to construct my syllabus for my introductory seminar on medical…

Special Issue Review: Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein

Diana Rose Newby // Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein, theme issue of Literature and Medicine, vol. 36, no. 2, fall 2018. In her introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley concludes with well wishes for her creation’s second life: “And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper” (25). Today,…

Monstrous Myths of Disability in M. Night Shyamalan’s Glass

Diana Rose Newby // Warning: This piece contains mild spoilers for the film Glass. Difference is the bread and butter of the superhero genre. And to a degree, so is disability. Think X-Men’s paraplegic Professor X; the blindness and depression of Marvel’s Daredevil; the facial scarring that catalyzes Harvey Dent’s murderous mental illness; Iron Man’s super-powered…

Institutionalization

Roanne Kantor // Earlier this month, I handed in the grades for  my course on narratives of disability from around the world.  At the same time I was teaching a graduate class about the interdisciplinary endeavor and its dependence on metaphor. The way that the same words have slippery and differing meanings depending on disciplinary…

Taking Stock: Disability Studies and the Medical Humanities

While on the academic job market over the past few months, I had many opportunities to define myself as a scholar. You get particularly good not only at elevator pitches—short, pithy descriptions of your intellectual interests and dissertation project—but also at sketching out your intellectual formation. My research and teaching interests have primarily been in…

Disability as Experience

In this post, I’d like to make things a bit more personal than I have so far. Last week I got into a debate with a professor. It’s not important what this debate was about. Instead, it’s important what this debate wasn’t about. This professor was asking my class—myself and six other graduate students/artists—to participate…

Disorientations: On Disability in Graduate School

Travis Chi Wing Lau // Sara Ahmed, in Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others (2006), asks what it means to be orientated. By thinking through sexuality in terms of lived, embodied experience, Ahmed challenges us to think about how queer bodies occupy space and time. She writes that “if orientation is a matter of how we…

Twin Studies

Back in September, I found myself in a small community just outside of Ithaca, NY, in the company of several colleagues from Cornell. We were there to participate in community’s annual “Fun Run.” I use the term “fun” here with some reservations, defining it provisionally and according to terminology that was current when I ran…