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DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture

by: Katie

DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture

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About this Document

These are notes that cover the first week of class
Disability Rights And Culture
Aly Patsavas
Class Notes
DHD, Disability, Right, Culture




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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katie on Sunday January 24, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago taught by Aly Patsavas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see Disability Rights And Culture in Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Date Created: 01/24/16
Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture Week One Notes Ideas About Disability How do we know what we know about disability? Disabled individuals, advocacy agencies, media, academia, etc. What is Culture? Where do we encounter it? Culture; Media, newspapers, peers, etc. Traditions, values, peer groups Defining Culture Williams, Raymond. “Culture.” Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society. 90. -“General process of intellectual, spiritual and aesthetic development” -“A particular way of life, whether of a people, a period, a group, or humanity in general” -“The work or practices of intellectual and especially artistic activity” Aesthetic – beauty, the way an individual sees something Classrooms, are seem as a culture A particular way of life, culture is everywhere, culture is everything. In this class, we will talk about culture in terms of -Beliefs, ideas, and customs -As they are located in things like -Artistic representations, performances, print media, visual media, -As well as less concrete but no less material things like social and group dynamics, feelings, and attitudes Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Artifacts, pieces of culture. How disabled individuals make their own culture, aesthetics, art, etc. Why Does Culture Matter? -Culture and cultural production becomes one (primary) register in which meaning is made, sustained and/or challenged. -We gain knowledge through our interaction with culture(s) and cultural production -Frames how we know what we know -Particularly important in shaping our understanding/knowledge about disability -Informs all aspects of society, including rights Example; observation How Culture Works -Culture often works on us in ways we are not always aware. -Culture works in aggregate (as a collection of individual artifacts, texts, customs) -Culture frames how we interact with the world, how we draw meaning from and about things both consciously and unconsciously *”the individual is driving slow, they have a disability license plate, that must be why”* Examples; every time you watch television, view a billboard, etc. Disability In Culture -Dominant cultural discourses (the paths through which cultural meaning is made) frame disability in certain “stock” ways Pity: -Disability is bad, sad, and something that makes you feel sorry for the person and for those around them -Disability is unwanted Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim -Informs charity organization but also much print media about disability -Joseph Shaprio also argues that pity is central to inspirational narratives Inspirational: -The notion that disability is something to be overcome -Therefore the disabled person who you see on a daily basis (defying the low expectations society has of them) are automatically inspiring -Ties back to a moralizing model of disability -More recent cultural construction of disability -One of the most difficult to challenge, intervene in, and explain why/how it actually limits the lives of disabled people Infantilizing: -Disabled people are +Perpetually childlike +Not sexual beings +Innocent and naïve +Need to be cared for +Cannot possible be caregivers, partners, parents, bosses, employees, etc Feared/ Tragic: Fear of what is unknown, difference makes people afraid +Of how to act, what to do Tragic: Disability is always a tragedy +Destroys lives and the quality of life of person Fear of the person themselves +Historical belief that what is outside represents what is in Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Funny/Laughable/Comic: Disability is something to be laughed at +Closely tied to pity -Disability makes people behave in socially/culturally inappropriate ways, making it, in turn, socially/culturally acceptable to make fun of them -Also examples in representation that disability leads to funny situations Suspect: -Disability is something that is not to be trusted -Easily faked -Gives people something that they do not deserve -Tied to both representations of and fears “The Fake Beggar” +Earliest films were comic shorts about fake begging -Broader cultural discourses around social benefits and social welfare Singular: -Disability is the exception -Something rare, uncommon, and unexpected -Not something that we have to plan for -Not something that will ever happen to us (which informs the tragic nature of it when it does) Disability, Culture, Narrative -Disability conveys meaning -Meaning rarely reflects “lived reality” of disabled people in all its complexity -Disability rarely seen as neutral or even generative (something that impacts life/ideas/attitudes in unique and important ways), only deficiency -Often shape attitudes about disabled people Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim -More importantly, rarely about disability or disabled people Built Environment as Example of Cultural Attitudes -How we build schools, homes, businesses, parks tell us how dominant culture understands and values disability -How we plan events, how we imagine “the community” that uses public space all help to reinforce cultural assumptions that disability is something rare and singular Cultural Contestations -Different cultures exist simultaneously -Some cultures create their own meaning in direct relation to other cultural contexts +Often contest dominant (or other) cultural meanings. -The interaction of different cultures creates and/or shifts cultural meanings -Contestations and interactions between cultures help us learn about both cultures Metaphors We Live By -George Lakoff and Mark Johnson argue that metaphors structure how we understand the world -One of the ways in which culture works on us -Central to our language and knowledge -Use what we know (or think we know) to help us understand experiences (our own and others) -Metaphors shape our perceptions and understandings +Not always consciously Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim


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