“Past the Law: Moving from Legal to Just in Disability Accommodations”
Thursday, March 16, 12:15-1:30 p.m.
See your #4C17 convention guide for location
Chair: Brenda Brueggemann
Much of the discussion about accommodations to give disabled people access focuses on legal requirements set by laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act. The speakers on this panel will argue that passing laws such as the ADA is not enough; equity and social justice require rhetorics and action that move past the law. Advocacy that fails to move beyond old rhetorics of disability as deficit, of accommodations as an add-on obligation, will fail to achieve social justice; this panel will provide examples of a new rhetoric that focuses on advocacy over obligation and question the ableist discourses of accommodations because these relatively recent bureaucratic disability service discourses, not unlike their predecessors—medical and rehab discourses—are becoming ipso facto knowledge-bearers of disabled bodies in the academy.
I’m honored and thrilled to see my short story, “Digging to Switzerland,” in print. It appears in the anthology Abundant Grace: Fiction by DC Area Women (Paycock Press), edited by Richard Peabody.
It’s time for another What I’m Consuming. This is a two-part deal focusing on a recent film and TV show. I dedicate this series to Hillary Clinton.
For Part I, let’s talk about “Ghostbusters: Answer the Call”
This remake of the 1984 “Ghostbusters” is known for one thing: A ghoul-fighting cadre that is all female. When the movie came out over the summer, reviews sounded like the wheeze of a noisemaker at a lame party. “Ra ra, it’s got a female cast,” critics said. “I wish I liked it more.”
When I finally saw it this month, I was amazed. In two words: It’s wonderful. Perhaps a cult classic in the making.
The co-star Kristen Wiig plays scientist Erin Gilbert. At Columbia, she’s a physics professor up for tenure. In the world of movie tropes, she’s the cowed loser up for transformation. You can practically see the blinking red arrow over her head, declaring Keep your eye on this one! She’ll change by the closing credits! In an early scene, a male administrator at Columbia advises Dr. Gilbert on strengthening her tenure application. His condescending advice? Get a recommendation from a school more prestigious than Princeton. Continue reading
Ah, November. A blank page on which to write.
Today marks one week into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short). This year, I’ve made a commitment to the scribbling craft. The pledge? To write every day.
The force rolling me along is four fellow writers (a.k.a. The Furious 5). Each day, we email the group to report on how much time we’ve written, and sometimes what we worked on. Despite the “novel” aspect of NaNoWriMo, our group sets no requirements for genre. Among our quintet, we’ve already covered fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Timing is also flexible. As one member put it, you can write for “5 minutes or 5 hours.”
If this November is even a fraction as productive as last year, I’ll consider it a success.
What writing commitment could you make for 30 days?
I see them every now and then – furious complaints or snappy comebacks about student behavior, posted or shared by college professors on social media. Sometimes they’re pretty funny. Overall, though, they bring me down.
Here’s a thought: What if we abstained from posting nastygrams about our students, just for this semester?
Students have thrown some curveballs my way, but many have left me open-mouthed in amazement. I’m talking about students who revealed they were the first person in their family to set foot on a college campus; a student who wrote a gorgeous short story out of the blue, because something in the assignment touched him; students reading ahead in the assigned book because they got so into it.
If I succumb to the seduction of a social media rant, I degrade those stories. I feel only the anger of the injustice and the momentary boost from Facebook cheerleaders.
If you’re not convinced that a rant moratorium has merit, consider this: Acting like a cad isn’t just for students.
In Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay presents a beautifully humble essay on her first year of teaching college students. She writes:
Sometimes, during class, I catch students staring at their cell phones beneath their desks like they’re in a cone of invisibility. It’s as funny as it is irritating.
…Sometimes, when students are doing group work, I sneak a look at my own phone like I am in a cone of invisibility. I am part of the problem.
Filed under Blog, Teaching
Here’s an example of the Week 3 assignment for ENG 360. This one is an analysis of tweets from two DC City Council reps during the 2016 election year.
To start off your own assignment, add an intro to the analysis you’re about to provide.
[^ I embedded this tweet. If you don’t know how to embed, you can screenshot and add a link to the original tweet ^]
In this tweet, Ward 4 city council rep Brandon Todd shares several images of himself with constituents in the first week of school. There are four images total, including one with a child and parent or guardian; two with just children; and one with what appears to be a teacher or school administrator.
I think Todd is keeping in mind the diversity of the ward he represents and, specifically, the audience that would be following him on Twitter. He selected a STEM-focused school, and made his layout balanced both visually and conceptually. [FURTHER ANALYSIS, USING THIS WEEK’S READING, WOULD GO HERE]
Here, rep Mary Cheh tweets in honor of National Dog Day. She shows one photo of a dog-owning constituent wearing a Mary Cheh T-shirt and other shot of just a pooch.
I think Che’s intended audience was the thousands of dog lovers and dog owners in DC. [INSERT MORE ANALYSIS HERE]
In a new article for the Jewish Daily Forward, I visit a family camp at the Pearlstone Center. Check it out: