Misrepresenting Disability – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Misrepresenting Disability

On Thursday, April 15, the Colleges will welcome back Lennard Davis for a talk titled, “Acting Disabled: The Problem of Representing Disability in Film and Television” as part of HWS’ Disability and the Arts Festival.  Currently a professor in the departments of English, Disability and Human Development and Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, he was a member of the HWS faculty in the early 1990s.

 “His talk will make the conversation around disability more visible, not only as a socially-constructed identity, but as one that has social, economic and political impact,” says Susan Pliner, associate dean for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment; director of the Center for Teaching and Learning; and interim director of the Centennial Center for Leadership.  “He has done so much thinking about disability and disability studies and he will bring that depth in that area of study, which will help to expand our own dialogue about disability on campus.”

Davis is the founder and director of Project Biocultures, a think-tank devoted to issues around the intersection of culture, medicine, disability, biotechnology and the biosphere.  He has written several books on disability including “Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body,” “The Disability Studies Reader” and his memoir, “My Sense of Silence.” He has written several other novels including, “Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel,” “Resisting Novels: Fiction and Ideology,” “The Sonnets” and “Go Ask Your Father: One Man’s Obsession to Find Himself, His Origins, and the Meaning of Life through Genetic Testing.” Several of his books were chosen and nominated for various awards including the Editor’s Choice Book for the Chicago Tribune. In addition, his collection of essays titled “Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism, and Other Difficult Positions” was published by New York University Press in 2002. The New York Times, the Nation, Chicago Tribune, Chronicle of Higher Education and other media sources have printed numerous articles written by Davis.

In addition to his talk, Davis will visit several classes and meet with the campus’ Project Eye-to-Eye organization.

Pliner hopes that Davis’ talk will encourage “Our community to have deeper conversation and think more critically about disability.”

Several other events will take place as part of the Disability and the Arts Festival. For information, visit http://www.hws.edu/festival/.