Is the #MeToo Movement Ableist?

Shelley Tremain and I wrote a blog post about the ableism of the #MeToo Movement. Here is an excerpt:

“Indeed, the attention of the #MeToo Movement has been unevenly distributed—regarding both who can claim to be a victim and who can be framed as an offender. Gabrielle Union, a black movie star and writer, argues that white women are the primary beneficiaries of the #MeToo Movement, saying: “I think the floodgates have been opened for white women”.

Although the race and class implications of this uneven application have been apparent to some people, we cannot stop the conversation there. We must begin to talk about the insidious and implicit ableism of the movement. A routine Google News search reveals that the word “disability” appears in recent news stories about the #MeToo Movement, but almost always only as part of a list of identifiers which include race and class, almost never as a topic of conversation.”

Read the whole post.

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The Bioethics of Enhancement, Reviewed

I was so thrilled to see my recent book, The Bioethics of Enhancement, reviewed in the Hastings Center Report by Joel Michael Reynolds. Check out the whole issue, including the review, “Being Better Bodies”.

Here’s an excerpt from the extremely thoughtful review:

“Claims that things will be better when we have progressed beyond our current embodied conditions are based on bad epistemology, bad psychology, and bad philosophy. Were such a future ever to come about, the jury is out on its meaning for human well-being. Those who say otherwise are engaged in sales, not science; publicity, not philosophy. By exposing such subterfuges, Hall’s work marks an opportunity for bioethics to reflect more rigorously about the values shaping the field’s and medicine’s aims—and the effects those values play in building or destroying a more just world. If Hall is right, we should focus less on being better bodies and more on simply being better” (Reynolds 2017, 47).

Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar, Dr. Lydia Liu

As part of Phi Beta Kappa’s national Visiting Scholar Program, we are pleased to have with us next week Dr. Lydia Liu, who is a theorist of media and translation, professor of comparative literature at Columbia University, and a bilingual writer in Chinese and English.  Please join us for two events next week!

Public Lecture (cultural credit):

Topic:  Who Owns Great Ideas?

When:  Thursday, November 16 at 4:30 pm

Where:  Rinker Auditorium (LBC 108)

Abstract:  The struggle over moral ideas has been an essential part of international politics in the modern world but, unfortunately, this process remains poorly understood. Are there universally shared moral sentiments across civilizations? Is cultural relativism trustworthy? What does cultural relativism include or exclude? Take the notion of “human rights.” Is this a Western idea? In my lecture, I will open up some of these issues by revisiting the UN archives relating to the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in the immediate postwar years. I conclude by reflecting on the future of moral ideas in the increasingly multipolar world of the 21st century.

Deliberating About Things That Matter (cultural credit):

Topic:  The Jabberwocky Nonsense: The Place of Meaning in Translation

When:  Friday, November 17 at 11 am

Where:  Hand Art Center Classroom

Abstract:  What we call translation is long overshadowed by semantics that privileges words and overlooks script and medium. Whenever writing is present, one translates words and even syllables (transcription) but not the letters that are used to write those words. The problem of translatability (and untranslatability), therefore, is as much about the whereabouts of meaning in foreign words and in one’s own language as it is about the resolution of meaning between them. Alphabetical letters remain almost as opaque or unthought as any of the non-words we find in Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky verse. In my lecture, I will explore the disjuncture between word and letter, the relationship between letter and number, as well as the boundary of sense and nonsense in general, all of which have been brought into sharp focus by the conceptual and technological revolution in digital media.

We hope to see you next week!

Book Panel 11/4 @ FPA

At this weekend’s Florida Philosophical Association, there will be an Author-Meets-Critics session on The Bioethics of Enhancement. Many thanks to Jaime Ahlberg (UF) and Christine Wieseler (U of Texas) for generously taking the time to read my book and comment on it! I look very forward to the conversation. Thanks to Brook Sadler and Shelley Park, too, for their invitation to be on this year’s program, and for the organization of the panel.

Foucault and Feminist Philosophy of Disability

Read Shelley’s book, *Foucault and Feminist Philosophy of Disability*! Today, my recent commentary on the book, presented at the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy conference, is up on the Discrimination and Disadvantage blog. Throughout the week, commentaries on the book will be posted, with Shelley’s response to be posted on Thursday. This is a seriously important book, especially for philosophers of disability, bioethicists, and feminist philosophers to read, but also for those interested in Foucault (Shelley is such a careful reader of Foucault, and her work has always helped me understand him better). 

Here’s an excerpt from what I wrote about the book:

“This book offers many new resources and lines of critique in its role as a feminist-Foucauldian work of philosophy of disability. Shelley meticulously rebuts misreadings and misappropriations of Foucault among feminists, disability theorists, and other thinkers who have so often reinscribed the status quo when it comes to theorizing disability. At the same time, she radicalizes philosophical considerations of topics ranging from the case of Phineas Gage to stem cell research to feminist analyses of epistemic injustice.

In these ways, Shelley sets the scene for philosophy of disability and opens new paths for critical disability studies. Indeed, Shelley deeply attends to the reification, naturalization, and marginalization of disability and disabled people in the various areas in which this creation occurs, including philosophy itself, as I’ve discussed only too briefly, and the ways that its subfields are constructed. Overall, Shelley’s engagement with so many areas of philosophical debate and detailed Foucauldian perspective makes for an impressively wide-ranging text that is unified under a striking portrait of the government of disability in the present and the history of the present moment.”

Read the full commentary.

Talking Enhancement over Skype: Philosophy of Disability Conference

This weekend I had the pleasure of presenting my disability critique of human enhancement for the Philosophy of Disability conference hosted by Adam Cureton and UT Knoxville. My presentation is a slice of a chapter I am preparing for inclusion in the Oxford Handbook of Disability, which defends the claim that the promotion of human enhancement is inimical to disability rights projects (that is, the promotion of disabled lives, and pushing back against stigma).

Miraculously, there were no Skype interruptions during my remote presentation. Thanks to the participants for listening and for some very interesting questions!

CSWIP 2017

I look forward to joining friends and colleagues at Western this weekend for the 2017 meeting of the Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy.

I’ll be commenting on Shelley Tremain’s fantastic new book, Foucault and Feminist Philosophy of Disability, set to be released in December. Next week, after the conference, panellists’ commentaries will be posted one-by-one on the Discrimination and Disadvantage blog. Shelley’s response to all commentaries will be posted on November 2nd!