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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Waveform, by Amber DiPietra and Denise Leto

Kenning Editions is pleased to announce the publication of WAVEFORM by Amber DiPietra and Denise Leto.

WAVEFORM documents an aqueous, stop-start conversation between two women poets with disabilities. The idea of suspension--being held back, held over, or held by larger bodies, especially water--serves as pivot point for a manuscript that begins with the problem of rising from bed in the morning, of gravity and the ankle, of making muscles that control speech contract and release. Quotidian rituals like listing provide structure while large marine creatures open this epistolary work to a kind of chronic floating.

Denise Leto is a poet, writer, and Senior Editor at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work is forthcoming in Beauty is a Verb, Cinco Puntos Press, Fall 2011 and Puerto del Sol, Fall 2011 and has appeared in Wild Horses of Fire: Other Letters, The Wolf Magazine: Arts Council of England, Aufgabe, 26, and Xantippe. She was a Fellow for the University of Michigan’s Research/Practice Symposium on Movement, Somatics & Writing and is a past Honorary Fellow and Artist in Residence at Djerassi Resident Artist Program. She recently presented her work at the multi-media art event, “Breaking Ranks: Human/Nature,” at the Headlands Center for the Arts.

Amber DiPietra works as an advocate and peer counselor in the Bay Area disability community. She has recently started Write To Connect—life writing workshops for radical and everyday embodiments. Her interests include tracking the orthopedic body in real time, personal fossil records, ¡accion mutante! politics, and warm waters. Poems and prose pieces by Amber have appeared in Make, A Chicago Literary Magazine, Mirage Period[ica], Tarpaulin Sky, Mrs. Maybe, Monday Night and TRY!. Amber also co-curates the :working class reading series with Michelle Puckett in Oakland, CA. Visit Amber’s blog at

Paperback. Poetry/Creative Nonfiction/Disability Studies/Poetics. 36 pp. ISBN: 978-0-9767364-9-3. $10.00. Publication date: September 15, 2011.

Waveform is available by credit card or subscription/mailorder at http://www.kenningeditions as well as through Small Press Distribution:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

PhillyACCESS on Facebook


I wanted to let you know that PhillyACCESS is now on Facebook at PhillyACCESS is intended as an informational resource for the local disability community in the Philadelphia area, as well a place to share opinions, tips, etc., related to the community. I'm hoping the new Facebook page, which is also tied to our Twitter page, will increase feedback, interaction, submissions, etc.

Submissions of blog posts with information of various forms, including entertainment, of local (Philadelphia area) or national interest for publishing at are always welcomed at this address. Details are available on the blog.

Thank you,
Rob Quinn

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Call for Papers— Legacy: Special issue, "Women Writing Disability"

 Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers is soliciting papers for a special issue devoted to the intersection of women, women writers, and disability. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson observes that many parallels exist between the "social meanings attributed to female bodies and those assigned to disabled bodies." To this extent it would be hard to imagine early twentieth-century psychoanalysis without "women's diseases" like hysteria or nervous disorders. Female sexuality and reproduction have, historically, been monitored by a male medical and psychoanalytic profession. Building design, fashion, and juridical definitions of identity have reinforced the idea that, as Iris Marion Young says, "women in sexist society are physically handicapped." Concepts of aesthetic perfection and beauty are often figured around idealized (often naked) female bodies for which marked or disabled bodies are considered aberrant. Much western literature is formed around the volatile bodies of the Medusa, the madwoman in the attic, and the consumptive heroine. Feminist and Queer theory have been at the forefront in recognizing the ways that gender and sexual difference have been articulated through the non-traditional, excessive, or abnormal body, making gender /sexuality visible by positing an idealized norm of physical and mental perfection.

This special issue of Legacy will feature scholarship on American women writers dealing with issues of embodiment, illness, cognitive disability, deafness, blindness, mobility, dependency, and other related issues. Our hope is to find essays that cover the full range of American cultural production, from the colonial period to WWII and across the Americas broadly defined. "Writing Disability" implies both the representation of disability by women writers as well as the role that disability plays in an author's writing. Topics might include intersections between women and disability through any of the following categories:

 *   The body of the aesthetic
 *   Women's work and workplace design
 *   Reproduction rights and disability
 *   Eugenics and reform
 *   Dependency work
 *   Women and d/Deaf education
 *   Manifest Destiny and mobility
 *   The Republican body
 *   Visibility, staring, stigma
 *   Immigration, race, and disease
 *   Communities of disability
 *   Slavery and structural violence
 *   Suffragism and disability
 *   Disability and the family

Deadline: Completed Papers must be submitted by 1 January 2012. Historical focus may cover all periods prior to 1940; Page limit, 10,000 words (including endnotes and list of works cited) using MLA format. Send hard-copy of papers to Michael Davidson, Literature Department 0410, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0410. Questions pertaining to the issue may be addressed to

Department of Literature, 0410
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0410

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Book: "Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People"


Summary: Every few months there’s a shocking news story about the sustained, and often fatal, abuse of a disabled person. It’s easy to write off such cases as bullying that got out of hand, terrible criminal anomalies or regrettable failures of the care system, but in fact they point to a more uncomfortable and fundamental truth about how our society treats its most unequal citizens. In Scapegoat, Katharine Quarmby looks behind the headlines to trace the history of disability and our discomfort with disabled people, from Greek and Roman culture through the Industrial Revolution and the origins of Britain’s asylum system to the eugenics movement and the Holocaust, the introduction of “Ugly Laws” in the US and the unintended consequences of Britain’s poorly planned “community care” initiative. Quarmby also charts the modern disability rights movement from the veterans of WW2 and Vietnam in the US and UK to those who have fought for independent living and the end of segregation, as well as equal rights, for the last twenty years. Combining fascinating examples from history with tenacious investigation and powerful first person interviews, Scapegoat will change the way we think about disability – and about the changes we must make as a society to ensure that disabled people are seen as equal citizens, worthy of respect, not targets for taunting, torture and attack.

See also this news story:

Hate crimes against Britain's disabled on the rise


Disability related hate crime has increased by 75% in the UK as campaigners blame Britain's tabloid newspapers for stirring up hatred against disabled people because of the way they vilify people on welfare.


Charity groups in Britain say there is growing evidence that disabled people are increasingly the targets of abusive comments or aggressive behavior.

British charity “Scope” says that over the last two years, disabled people have reported a 50 percent increase in verbal abuse and intimidation on London's public transport.

Recently, the organization's chairwoman, Alice Maynard, who has a neuromuscular impairment and uses a wheelchair, admitted she was regularly sworn at when using the London Underground.

Other support groups have reported worse incidents. "When you hear stories of people being tipped out of a wheelchair.  That frankly beggars belief.  Why would anyone actually do that?" David Congdon from the charity Mencap told Deutsche Welle.

"Being spat at in the street, having things pushed through their letterbox.  All those sorts of awful things that go on far too often, we want to stop," he added.

“What we know from talking to people with a learning disability is that too many of their lives are destroyed by the constant harassment that goes on.”  

Tabloids to blame?

Campaigners say Britain’s tabloid press has played a role in aggravating hostility towards disabled people.

Even as public spending cuts have hit people on welfare hard, some tabloid newspapers in recent months have played up so-called disability benefit fraud. Some have even portrayed disabled people as "work shy" and as "spongers.”

One story of a 37-year old claimant, who said she needed crutches to assist with walking but was later seen skydiving, was widely written about.

While campaigners say there is invariably fraud within the welfare system, they point out these types of stories are unfair on the majority of people with disabilities because they reinforce stereotypes and spark resentment against some of the most vulnerable people in society.

Signs of progress  
While newspapers may be amplifying prejudices that already exist, journalist Katharine Quarmby and author of the book “Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled Peoplethinks police forces are beginning to take the issue of disability-related hate crime more seriously.

"Four years ago, many police officers didn't even know that disability hate crime existed.  They certainly do now," Quarmby told Deutsche Welle.

"Most of them have to do training for it.  Prosecutors have to undertake mandatory training so they can apply the law and ask judges to enhance sentences."
In the last few years, the number of recorded cases in the UK has risen dramatically. The most recent figures, in 2009, show a 75 percent increase in one year.
Quarmby says much of that is the result of better reporting of the crimes. According to her, Britain now leads the world in identifying, prosecuting and challenging disability-related hate crimes.   
Victims of 'mate crime'

But there's still a long way to go. In 2007, one of Britain’s worst cases of hate crime against disabled people made the headlines and sparked a huge public debate.

Fiona Pilkington, 38, killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca Hardwick, 18, following 10 years of sustained abuse and harassment by a gang in Leicestershire.
In the case of Steven Hoskin from Cornwall in south-west England, the 38-year -old, who had profound learning difficulties, was befriended by five people who went on to torture him. They force fed him 70 painkillers and made him jump to his death from a 100-foot bridge.

"So many people with learning disabilities in particular are groomed, exploited and eventually attacked by people who they consider to be their friends," said Quarmby.

Quarmy has also written about 'Tuesday friends', where so-called buddies visit disabled people on the day their welfare check arrives in the post, encouraging them to part with most or all of their cash.

Other campaigners too are determined to ensure that hate crimes don't go unpunished.  

The charity Mencap has launched the 'Stand by Me' campaign to encourage even more disabled people to report hate crime. They've called on British police forces to continue to improve the way they respond to these sorts of attacks and how they handle the victims.

They say it's about time certain sections of the British public changed their attitudes towards the plight of disabled and learning disabled people.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Everybody Loves the Monster!

The New York Public Library is proud to present on

Thursday, August 18th, 2011, in the  Margaret Liebman Berger Forum in the
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building at Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street

A Symposium on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or,

Everybody Loves the Monster!

In 1818, when Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus was published for the
first time, Mary Shelley could not have imagined the monster she was
unleashing on the world.  The creature in Shelley's novel is remarkably
sympathetic and an eloquent speaker, capable of measured, intelligent, and
articulate argument.  But based on Boris Karloff’s 1931 film performance and
confirmed by countless other films, comics, and illustrations, the general
perception today is that Frankenstein’s creature is a “monster” who grunts
or speaks—if he talks at all—in disjointed monosyllables.  Why has popular
culture largely denied the creature his reasonable voice?  This symposium
brings together four scholars and the curator and bibliographer of The New
York Public Library’s Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection to reflect on graphic
and film representations of the “monster” from the past two centuries.  The
first half of the day will feature presentations on key visual adaptations
of the creature, while the latter half will engage questions about what
these appearances mean for understanding him as a political and historical

Morning Session – ten o’clock

coffee and tea

Opening remarks: Jay Barksdale and Stephanie DeGooyer

The Face of the Creature, 1818 - Today

Elizabeth Campbell Denlinger

Curator of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle

The Maker of the Monster: An Illustrated Biography of Mary Shelley

Charles Cuykendall Carter

Bibliographer of the Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection

of Shelley and His Circle

The Creature in the (Cinematic) Machine

Paul Flaig

Comparative Literature, Cornell University

Afternoon Session – two o’clock

What Makes a ‘Monster?’

Susan Wolfson

Professor of English, Princeton University

A Monster’s Right to Have Rights

Stephanie DeGooyer

English, Cornell University and Scholar in Residence

in the Library’s Wertheim Study

Autism and Articulation in Mary Shelley’s Novel and Beyond

Julia Miele Rodas

Assistant Professor of English, Bronx Community College

of the City University of New York (CUNY)

Event Website Link:

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Book: Disability Culture and Community Performance, and many new videos online

Palgrave has made the Introduction available as a free PDF:

The introduction starts in an AXIS dance workshop, and also visits with the 2008 Sins Invalid performance, locating Olimpias practice in its local and beloved performance ecologies.

We also just put a lot of Olimpias videos up online. All are subtitled, and the first three will also come out later this summer as the Olimpias DVD Embodied Poetics, available for free for teachers, artists, activists and others who build disability culture.

Journey To The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin (2011, 8 mins)
Social somatics, social sculpture: a participatory performance focused on the Peter Eisenman Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe, located in Berlin. The disabled people of Germany sued for access to the site, and lost. A ritual action re-imagines a memorial of life.  Filmed at the Movement, Somatics and Writing Symposium, University of Michigan.

Cripple Poetics: A Love Story (2010, 11 mins)
Three poetry performances (The Metaphor of Wind in Cripple Poetics, I am Salmon, and At The Gynecologist?s) braid through dances captured at the Tele-Immersion Laboratory, University of California Berkeley.

water burns sun (2009, 7 mins)
A Butoh dance sheds light on skin, water, ghosts and the meanings of 'cripple.' Part of The Olimpias? Burning Performance Installations.

Earth Stories
(9 mins, work with mental health system survivors in Wales)

(5 mins, work with young adults with various disabilities, public installation video projected on city walls in central Manchester)

Disabled Lilacs: A Poetry Video
(4 mins, speech difference poetics)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Latest Issue of The Review Of Disability Studies Now Online

The free electronic version of Volume 7, Issue 2 of The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal, is now available online at A table of contents is below. .

Also check out the RDS Podcast ,  RDS blogspot and join us on Facebook.

 Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal
 Volume 7, Issue 2
 Copyright 2011
   Table of Contents
Editorial: Cheater Pants,

By Megan Conway, Managing Editor
 Research Articles
Navigating the Cultural Landscape towards Self-Determination: Results of an Exploratory Study in American Samoa

By  Denise L. Uehara, Center on Disability Studies, University of  Hawaii-Mano, Tafa Tua-Tupuola, University Center for Excellence in  Developmental Disabilities, American Samoa
 The  Experience of Active Wheelchair Provision and Aspects of Importance  Concerning the Wheelchair among Experienced Users in Sweden
By Oskar Krantz, Ph.D. & Anna-Karin Edberg, R.N., Ph.D., The VĂ¥rdal Institute and Department of Health Sciences, Lund University, Sweden, Dennis Persson, O.T. Reg., Ph.D., Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Lund University, Sweden
 Empowering Women with Disabilities in Northern Ghana
By Augustina Naami, School of Social Work, Northern Iowa University, Reiko Hayashi, College of Social Work, University of Utah
 A "Visible" Woman: Learning with a Student who is Deaf-blind at University
By Kate Chanock, Michelle Stevens, & Sally FreemanLa Trobe University, Australia
 Book and Media Reviews
The Church of 80% Sincerity
 Reviewed by Laura Kati Corlew
  Seeing All Kids as Readers: A New Vision for Literacy in the Inclusive Early Childhood Classroom
Reviewed by Julie Smith
  Dissertation Abstracts

Megan A. Conway, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Editor, Review of Disability Studies (RDS)
Training Coordinator, OPE/IST Project

Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 1776 University Avenue, UA 4-6, Honolulu, HI 96822

Office: University Annex 1, Rm 4
Tel: 808-956-6166 Fax: 808-956-7878