Name: Devon Healey
Institution: University of Toronto
Eyeing the Pedagogy of Trouble: The Cultural Documentation of the Problem-Subject.
Devon Healey is a blind 4th year PhD Candidate from the Dept. of Social Justice Education at OISE/University of Toronto. She holds a B.A. (Hons.) Specialists Degree in Theatre and Drama from the University of Toronto at Mississauga; a Diploma in Theatre Studies from Sheridan College; as well as a B.Ed. and M.Ed. from OISE/UT. Her work explores how blindness makes an appearance in culture and is informed by Blind Studies, Disability Studies, Phenomenology and Erving Goffman’s Dramaturgical Model. Devon is an award-winning actor and active member in the Toronto arts community working with directors such as Guillermo del Toro on “The Strain.” Her most recent article with Tanya Titchkosky and Rod Michalko titled, “Blindness Simulation and the Culture of Sight” can be found in the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies.
Blindness lives in a world, one both organized and defined by the eye that sees itself as sighted. Seeing is believing, and this belief, eyes believe, is learning. But, what if the eyes that are “seeing” are “blind”? Do we believe these eyes as we do those that see? Do we learn from blind eyes as we do from sighted ones?
This paper seeks to question not only what sighted eyes see, but also what they imagine – what do they imagine they are seeing when they look? And, when sighted eyes look at blind eyes, what do they imagine they are seeing? Certainly, not sight. But what? If sight believes not only what it sees, but that it sees, then seeing blindness must be imagined as seeing “no sight”. Thus, blind eyes see nothing and cannot be believed, let alone learned from.
This paper will explore this conventional view of the blind/sight dichotomy and will do so through autobiography. This exploration is one that serves to provoke sighted imagination to go beyond what its conventional version of itself is – to go beyond what sight imagines blindness to be. Blindness can disrupt sight and such disruption often leads to discomfort, and this marks a critical site for re-imagining what we ordinarily see when we look at blindness. In this sense, blindness is teacher; but, like anything else, we must let blindness teach us. Thus, this paper seeks to develop a pedagogy that embraces the disruptive power of blindness.
blindness, emotion, discomfort, medicine, imagination, pedagogy, identity, trouble
Name: Kim Collins
Institution: York University
Resistance to Neoliberalism: Slow Scholarship and Disability
Neoliberalism is transforming universities as well as those who work and learn within them. Students, sessional instructors, faculty and staff are formed in and by neoliberal understandings of productivity. Through an examination of manifestations of slowness in the academy, this paper interrogates the place (or displacement) of slowness under neoliberalism in Ontario’s public universities. It is argued that neoliberalism enables ableism to flourish termed, neoliberal-ableism. The paper argues that slowness, while currently devalued in public universities, can be used as a form of resistance to the entrenchment of neoliberalism. The paper provides a critique of the university as a structural institution through a consideration of definitions of the word ‘slow.’ Finally, this paper considers the worrisome implications of a fast-paced university and how disability can open spaces of resistance for those working and learning in the academy, including strategies to reinvent both the university and slow scholarship.
slow scholarship; disability; neoliberalism; resistance
Full name: Claire Burrows
Institution: Western University
Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Claire Burrows completed her PhD in Library and Information Science from Western University in 2019, and she was the 2018 Researcher-in-Residence at Concordia University Library. Her doctoral research pertains to accessibility of academic libraries in Canada for students with disabilities. By approaching this topic with a framework developed from disability studies, her research focus is on developing a better understanding of the current practices in these libraries—and of their limitations—with a view to developing strategies for improving accessibility and better supporting students with disabilities.
Energizing librarians and library users through critical disability theory
Accessibility is increasingly a topic of focus in the library and information science (LIS) community. Despite the interest in creating accessible libraries, LIS literature and research on accessibility is limited in scope. Studies often focus on website accessibility guidelines and the use of adaptive technologies, while other publications discuss the effects of legislative policies for libraries. This limited focus has practical implications for how LIS professionals provide services to disabled communities, which in turn can affect opportunities for information access, education and inclusion in a valuable community resource. This paper provides a review of existing research approaches to accessibility in LIS, as well as a philosophical exploration of how concepts from critical disability theory can contribute to LIS research and practice by introducing new conceptualizations of disability and accessibility. As Goodley (2013) highlights, “Critical disability studies might be viewed…as a lifted out space: a platform or plateau to think through, act, resist, relate, communicate, engage with one another against the hybridized forms of oppression and discrimination that so often do not speak singularly of disability” (p. 641). Libraries, as community institutions with a central mandate of providing information services to all citizens, may be especially suited to engaging with these theories in practice. In turn, this exploration may introduce a community space for self-empowerment.
libraries; accessibility; applications of critical disability theory