Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Society for Disability Studies conference this week in New York City

The Society for Disability Studies (SDS), an international non-profit organization that promotes the study of disability in social, cultural and political contexts, will host scholars from around the world at its annual conference June 18-21, 2008 at Baruch College, 55 Lexington Ave., in New York City.

As a multi-disciplinary group, the SDS conference provides a forum for a wide variety of research presentations, performances and discussion from social scientists, health researchers, humanities scholars, artists, performers and disability rights activists.

“At our conferences, we offer exciting, groundbreaking work on current issues in Disability Studies from both the U.S. and internationally,” says the current SDS President Elaine Gerber, an anthropology professor at Montclair State University in New Jersey. “We are dedicated to exploring connections between disability and other culturally-constructed notions of identity, including race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, and national affiliation.”

This year’s conference presentations will explore a myriad of crucial disability studies issues: inclusive education for children with disabilities; college students with learning disabilities; the No Child Left Behind Act and its impact on people with disabilities; disability and homelessness; Hurricane Katrina and emergency preparedness for the disability community; the implications of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; barriers to work; disability in the criminal justice system; Iraq war disabled veterans; immigrants with disabilities; and many more topics. The complete program is available for viewing online.

In addition to several hundred U.S. disability studies scholars who will attend the conference, the conference will host a number of international scholars who will present on disability topics from the countries of Ghana, Israel, India, Iran, Canada, Japan and Iceland.

The SDS conference also has a strong focus on disability literature and the arts and will host poetry readings and readings from new memoirs on parenting children with disabilities: Rachel in the World, Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption and Spelling Love with an X: A Mother, A Son, and the Gene that Binds Them.

SDS will bring together an exciting line-up of disability culture performances on Friday, June 20, featuring an array of performers with disabilities – British actor, performer and host of the BBC’s Ouch! Disability Talk Show Mat Fraser, the Heidi Latsky Modern Dance Company, performance artist Lezlie Frye, the rap group 4 Wheel City and deaf actress Alexandria Wailes.

Founded in the mid-1980s, the Society for Disability Studies seeks through research, artistic production, teaching and activism to augment the understanding of disability in all cultures and historical periods, to promote greater awareness of the experiences of disabled people, and to advocate for social change. SDS also publishes the leading U.S. scholarly journal on disability studies, Disability Studies Quarterly, http://www.dsq-sds.org/.