University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Disabling NormalcyA disabilities studies symposium at the University of Virginia


Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
Professor of Women’s Studies and English
Emory University
Keynote Topic: What We Gain from Disability
Michael Bérubé
Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities
Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature
Penn State
Keynote Topic: The Ubiquity of Disability
Khadijat Rashid
Professor of Business Administration
Gallaudet University
Topic: The Global Deaf Community: Language Minority or Disability Group?

I. Pre-symposium film screening (Thursday, Feb. 27, 7:30pm)

Free and open to the public

Lives Worth Living
The Great Fight for Disability Rights

A film by Eric Neudel

Thursday Feb. 27, 2014
Nau auditorium

7:00 Refreshments
7:30 Film screening
8:30 Discussion led by Lois Shepherd (Biomedical Ethics & Law)

Accessibility: Nau auditorium is wheelchair accessible.  The film is open-captioned and the ensuing discussion will be interpreted into American Sign Language.  Parking is available on Lot K2 off of Brandon Avenue.  It is free in the evening. Directions from parking to Nau Hall

II. Exhibition cases (February 24-March 20 and March 29-April 26)

Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library

Two exhibition cases will be on display featuring items related to disability from U.Va. Special Collections.  Faculty members are encouraged to take their classes to see the exhibit.

III. Symposium (Friday, Feb. 28)

Harrison Institute/Small Special Collections Library Auditorium

Free and open to the public; no registration required.

9:30 Welcoming remarks, Dr. Marcus Martin, VP and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity

9:45 Disability studies and U.Va., Christopher Krentz, English & ASL

10:00 Keynote I: What We Gain from Disability, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00 Panel I: Disability Across Disciplines (Fred Maus, Music, presiding)

  • Listening, Bonnie Gordon, Music
  • The Presumption of Competence, Vikram Jaswal, Psychology
  • Tom Thumb’s America at War, Jean Franzino, Ph.D candidate, English
  • Selected Poems: A Reading, Paul Guest, English – Creative Writing

12:00-1:30 Lunch (on your own)

1:30 Panel II: Global Disability (Denise Walsh, Politics & WGS, presiding)

  • The Global Deaf Community: Language Minority or Disability Group? Khadijat Rashid (Gallaudet University)
  • Disability and Human Rights, Michael Smith, Politics
  • Architecture and Disability in India and China, Phoebe Crisman, Architecture

2:25 Panel III: Disability in Law and Medicine (James Childress, Ethics & Religious Studies, presiding)

  • Disability and Identity, Sahar Aktar, Bioethics & Philosophy
  • Those Who Think Differently, Marcia Day Childress, Medicine
  • What Can Race Law Learn from Disability Law? Kim Forde-Mazrui, Law

3:15-3:30 Coffee Break

3:30 Keynote II: The Ubiquity of Disability Michael Bérubé

4:10 Concluding Q and A (Michael Levenson, English, moderating)

4:30-5:30 Closing reception

Accessibility: Harrison/Small auditorium is wheelchair accessible.  All symposium events will be interpreted into ASL.  Hourly parking is available in the Central Grounds Parking Garage. Directions from parking to Harrison. For additional accommodations requests, please contact Becky Marshall at 434-243-5180 or sdac [at] by Feb. 14.


Disability Access Committee
Institute of the Humanities and Global Cultures
Office of the Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity
Office of the Provost and Vice Provost for the Arts
Office of the Dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Department of English
Corcoran Department of History
Department of Politics
School of Law
Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life
American Sign Language Program
Center for Biomedical Ethics and Humanities
Bioethics Program
American Studies Program

Media Coverage

‘Disabling Normalcy’ Symposium at U.Va. to Explore Issues Related to Disabilities
Symposium at U.Va. Explores Disabilities as Normal Human Variation

Original banner photo by Tom Olin