Ableism and disability

SSH News: Congress 2014 blog series, 2015 Federal budget, Consultations on open access and the ASPP

The Federation’s June Communiqué was released yesterday. The following are some of the highlights from this month and last.

This year, we hired a fantastic group of writers to contribute to our 2014 Congress blog series. They attended association meetings, community programs, and special events, and provided us with some engaging and insightful chronicles of Congress. With a range of personal interests, the team managed to highlight research from across disciplines. The bloggers shared their experiences attending events like Tim Cook's Big Thinking lecture on the culture of death among Canadian soldiers in WWI, film night...

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Disability in the Canadian Academy

James Deaville, Carleton University, Member of the Federation’s Equity and Diversity Steering Committee

According to the revised version of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act from 2005 (originally drafted in 2001),

“disability” means,

(a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical co-ordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial...

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News from the social sciences and humanities: Student debt, MOOCs and the Paralympics

Milena Stanoeva Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Rob Carrick wrote an op-ed for the Globe and Mail this week arguing that rising student debt needs to be better addressed by parents, the government and the education system. In it, he argues that students should be encouraged to pursue trades and college degrees. Today, the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada responded through a letter-to-the-editor, pointing out that one in four students graduate debt-free and that university graduates still out-earn...

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Differently Abled: The Brave New World of Techno/Cyborg Sports and Culture

Caitlin Stone Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

In my opinion, what makes disability studies such a unique discipline is its emphasis on storytelling and the experience of disability. As one of the few academic disciplines which values the intimate personal stories of individuals and the collective (much like Women’s Studies and History to name a few), disability studies can inform academic work in an enriched way that theory alone cannot.

This unique aspect of disability studies was beautifully illustrated by Roxanne Mykitiuk and Eliza Chandler in their digital storytelling project, which they presented during the first of two panels on equity and disability that took place at Congress 2012. Accompanied by presentations from Jennifer Rowsell and...

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Rethinking Creativity and Innovation from a Disability Studies Perspective

Caitlin Stone Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Disability is often seen as a condition that requires a solution. Growing up with a sibling living with a physical disability, I can clearly recall the long rides to numerous doctors’ appointments. For years, I watched my younger sister get prodded, poked, examined, photographed, and scanned by various medical professionals.

In the second of two equity panels on disability and culture, Tanya Titchkosky, Michael J. Prince, and Rod Michalko explored how disability studies challenges the common conception of what it means to be human. Collectively, the three presentations deconstructed ableism as a cultural concept, and challenged the audience to re-vision their understanding of ability.


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Equity & Diversity

The Federation has been committed to equity, diversity and inclusivity since its founding, with equity and diversity concretely ingrained in the Federation’s vision. Consecutive Boards have broadened the aims of the Equity and Diversity Portfolio from ‘women’s issues,’ to ‘women and equity issues’ to a more holistic and inclusive approach as ‘equity and diversity issues’. This ‘big tent’ thinking includes advancing equity issues for women, Aboriginal people, people of colour, people with disabilities and people of diverse sexual orientation who work and study in the humanities and social sciences in Canada.

As such, the Federation's Equity and Diversity Portfolio is committed to raising awareness about equity issues within the academy. Under the leadership of the Vice-President, Equity and Diversity the Federation creates spaces for dialogue around equity and diversity. The Vice-President chairs, and is...

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The Note-taker: Innovative assistive technology enables blind scholars to take notes

Michael J. Astrauskas, Arizona State University
Guest contributor

This entry is part of the CFHSS’s VP Equity Issues series on diversity, creativity and innovation / diversité, innovation et créativité

To see a whiteboard at the front of the class, students with severe visual impairment typically use a monocular for far-sight viewing. This provides a greatly magnified but a very narrow field of view of the board. In addition to the monocular, they might need to use their glasses for note-taking (i.e. near-sight viewing). As these students take notes in class, they must repeatedly switch back and...

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Disability research, digital innovations and online activism

Filippo Trevisan, University of Glasgow
Guest Contributor

This entry is part of the CFHSS’s VP Equity Issues series on diversity, creativity and innovation / diversité, innovation et créativité.

In 1980, disability scholar and activist Vic Finkelstein hypothesized a not too distant future in which “impaired persons will […] no longer be oppressed by disabling social conventions and disabling environments but will be absorbed in the mainstream of social interactions.” In his view, technological development was to be an important enabler of social change, and Information and Communication...

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Differences Matter: Innovations and people with disabilities

Gregor Wolbring, University of Calgary
Guest Contributor

This entry is part of the CFHSS’s VP Equity Issues series on diversity, creativity and innovation / diversité, innovation et créativité.

Innovation, according to Wikipedia, “generally refers to the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society.”  Many of these innovations in scientific and technological products as well as novel ideas and theoretical concepts have implications for people with disabilities.

Today, we are witnessing...

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Able People, Disabling World: Unequal Access to Water

Verlyn Leopatra, Jacqueline Noga and Emily Hutcheon, University of Calgary
Guest contributors

This entry is part of a collaborative series on disabilities between the Federation’s Equity Issues Portfolio and the Canadian Disability Studies Association/ Association Canadienne des Études sur l’Incapacité.

At the Ignite Change Now! Global Youth Assembly 2011, hosted by the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights in Edmonton in July, some 500 youth explored the connections between water and an array of national and...

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