Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Comment from the Field

The Voice of Disability, Seminar Series, Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2017), 11, (1), 99–101.

Abstract

Comment from the Field The Voice of Disability, Seminar Series, Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University Heidi Mapley Liverpool Hope University Comment from the Field: The Voice of Disability The third and final instalment in the Voice of Disability seminar series was held at Liverpool Hope University between January and July 2016. Organizing and chairing this series, Dr David Bolt, Director of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS),1 introduced attendees to a selection of speakers who explored how the voice of disability is conveyed through theory, representation, aesthetics, and narrative. The first speaker in this part of the series was Alan Hodkinson (Liverpool Hope University), who delivered his paper “The Unseeing Eye: Disability and the Hauntology of Derrida’s Ghost. A Story in Three Parts.” Employing the three stanzas of Thomas Hardy’s poem “The Self-Unseeing,” Dr Hodkinson discussed the “conspiracy of normalcy” that exists in the cultural artefacts which reside in English schools, emphasizing how this conspiracy has contributed to the rueful erasure “of the strong and proud history of disabled people.” Seeking to reclaim this history and thus to rewrite the present and future of education in England, Dr Hodkinson drew on the theoretical works of Derrida and Bentham. He concluded his seminar by revealing how a “utopia of hope” can be found in the “real” story of disability that, when materialized, is powerful enough to disassemble “Their transparent house” of normalcy. “Two Voices and Disability: A Voice of Inscription and a Voice of Re-Constitution” saw Tom Campbell (University of Leeds) explore how categories are invented to describe particular traits that become “visualized at particular historical points.” Providing an example of this construction, Dr Campbell emphasized how the impairment category dyslexia only becomes visible when society places value on a standardized form of literacy. Using Foucault’s work on genealogy and biopolitics, Dr Campbell voiced concern with how 1. Dr Owen Barden has filmed a number of these seminars and created a dedicated CCDS YouTube channel to which they have been uploaded. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 11.1 (2017) ISSN 1757-6458 (print) 1757-6466 (online) © Liverpool University Press https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2017.7

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Mapley, Heidi