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Session leader: Eleanor Jones (Southampton)

Government and institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed in stark terms the prioritisation of certain lives and the disposability of others. This structuring of society around the ‘tolerable death’ of those with bodies and minds that exist outside of typicality has long been a central concern of disability studies. Engagement with this methodology is, then, more urgent and important than ever. In this session, I outline some of the central theoretical strands of this approach, showing how it can cast new light on global historical and cultural studies. In particular, I ask how we might begin to see disability as fundamental to our work as Modern Languages researchers, drawing on its intersections — and, perhaps, synonymities — with race, sexuality and gender. 

Recommended reading:

· Henri-Jacques Stiker, ’The birth of rehabilitation’, in A History of Disability, trans. William Sayers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999; orig. pub. as Corps infirmes et sociétés, 1982), pp. 121-89
· Ellen Samuels, ‘The crisis of identification’, in Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race (New York: New York University Press, 2014), pp. 1-23
· Mitchell, David T., and Sharon Snyder, ‘Introduction: disability as narrative supplement’, in Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), pp. 1-14

This session will involve small- and large-group discussions and those who register should be prepared to interact with the session leader and the other participants. 

Automated live captions will be available for this session.

All welcome

This event is free to attend, but booking is required. It will be held online with details about how to join the virtual event being circulated via email to registered attendees 24 hours in advance.