just returned from Dallas

where I had a wonderful time at CVMST’s 3rd annual conference. I especially enjoyed talks by Kim Knight (on the explosion of restrictions on and new legislation chipping away at reproductive rights, at a time when “vagina” and “uterus” are considered vulgar words in Congress!), Jessica Murphy (on greensickness in English Renaissance literature), and Adrienne Asch (on selecting children’s traits and parenthood).

Thanks to Matthew J. Brown (Director of CVMST) and Magdalena Grohman (Associate Director) for organizing such a strong conference!

CFP: 2nd Annual Kristeva Circle Meeting

This is a call for abstracts for the second meeting of The Kristeva Circle, to be held March 27-30, 2014 at Vanderbilt University. Keynote speakers are Julia Kristeva (University of Paris VII Diderot) and Tina Chanter (DePaul University).

Please submit abstracts (500-750 words) on any topic related to the work of Julia Kristeva, to kristevacircle@gmail.com.

We welcome submissions from across all disciplines. Abstracts should be suitable for blind review; include a separate document with name, paper title, affiliation, and contact information.

The deadline for abstract submissions is October 15, 2013. Please consider submitting something, and feel free to distribute widely among your colleagues and students. More information about The Kristeva Circle can be found at www.kristevacircle.org.

We hope to see you next spring at Vanderbilt!


2014 Hosts and Organizers:
Melinda Hall (Stetson)
Kelly Oliver (Vanderbilt)
Sarah Hansen (Drexel)
Rebecca Tuvel (Vanderbilt)

APA presentation on negative genetic selection

Thanks to Massimo Pigliucci, of the Philosophy Department at the CUNY Graduate Center, for reviewing my talk (along with reviewing those of the other members of my panel) on his blog, Rationally Speaking. I really enjoyed reading it, as I thought it provided a fair and comprehensive representation of my argument as I presented it, and I was glad to read Picliucci’s  thoughts on my ideas.

I’d like to respond to one point. Pigliucci quibbles with my intimation that I have trouble thinking of disability as a “problem.” I didn’t have an opportunity to say more at the time, as it was a brief aside, but I will briefly clarify what I meant now. Following feminist disability theorists like Susan Wendell, I argue that “disability” is a cultural concept and a way of talking about the body and its (often painful or difficult) variation. On my view, disability involves both biological and social aspects, and so reducing the notion of disability to biology is a mistake.

The point of my aside at the APA was that practices like negative genetic selection are often posed as a medical or technological “solution” to the “problem” of disability. But, viewing genetic screening and related technologies in this way ignores the social aspects and social construction of disability, thus making the reduction to the biological that I wish to avoid.

I also believe, however, that wholesale endorsement of the social model of disability by disability activists and theorists, which persists today, serves to ignore or disguise important bodily dimensions of disability (such as pain). This regrettably shifts the embodied aspect of disability out of the picture. So, reducing disability to either pole is a mistake.

Finally, I would add that not every instance of disability identity must be a problem to solve; many find celebration of disability identity to be an integral part of their lives and I would be hesitant to adopt any model of disability that failed to account for that fact.

For more on some of the productive tensions among models of disability, see the “Introduction” to Sharon Snyder and David Mitchell’s Cultural Locations of Disability. Thanks again to Pigliucci!

conferences, upcoming, & news

Despite Hurricane Sandy, I had a wonderful time at SPEP last month and really enjoyed (chilly) Rochester! It was fun to be on a panel presenting work on Foucault with my former fellow colleague, Francey Russell. I received great feedback and the paper is under revision for publication in a special issue of the Disability Studies Quarterly.

In just a week I will be enjoying the relatively warmer climes of Atlanta [UPDATE: it was NOT warmer in Atlanta] to attend and present work at APA. I look forward to seeing friends and colleagues there.

My paper on negative genetic selection, which is the heart of the second chapter of my dissertation, is out soon with the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics. I look forward to seeing it in print!

I am currently working on multiple essay revisions, my final chapter, and preparing for future presentations. These include a paper for the Social and Political Thought Workshop series at Vanderbilt and an invited lecture at Lewis University next fall.

CSWIP, hosted by Mount Royal University

Thank you to Ada Jaarsma for organizing this year’s Canadian Society for Women in Philosophy conference in Calgary over the weekend! I was glad for the opportunity to present my paper on horror television’s translation of the Robert Pickton case as part of a larger panel on crime against women with Rebecca Tuvel and Chloë Taylor.

Also, I had a wonderful experience attending a lecture given by Cressida Heyes on time and work on Friday evening. At Mount Royal, they put her name in lights:

Kristeva Circle

A big thank you to Fanny Söderbäck, Sarah Hansen, Kelly Oliver, and Siena College for organizing and hosting the inaugural meeting of the Kristeva Circle in New York! The conference was really stimulating and I can’t wait for the next meeting. Check out the program here.

The Kristeva Circle and the Society for the Philosophy of Creativity will host a session at the Eastern APA meeting on Saturday, December 29th at 1:30 pm. The panel will include presentations by Pleshette DeArmitt, Noëlle McAfee, and Rebecca Tuvel. Please attend!

Medical Humanities at Western Michigan University

This week I was really pleased to get the news that I will be participating in the Medical Humanities Conference at WMU this September. The conference is hosted by the WMU Medical Humanities workgroup, which is directed by Fritz Allhoff and David Charlton. Last year I participated in the group’s first annual conference, and it’s great to have the privilege to attend again as the group continues to grow!

As an added bonus, who doesn’t love Kalamazoo? It reminds me so much of Wooster, Ohio, where I grew up — Victorian “painted ladies” in a quiet college town!

Check out the Workgroup website.

Thanks to Fritz and David!

Society for Disability Studies

Last week I had the privilege to present a paper at the annual Society for Disability Studies conference, which was held in Denver.

It was so invigorating to be in attendance – SDS has a rich history (25 years worth!) and it was an honor to be there for the first time and learn something from everyone’s passionate work.

I really enjoyed attending SDS and the papers I saw on Thursday were fantastic. There were so many strong scholars and activists! Check out the program.