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This paper may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students
Type: Paper
Paper Title: DISABILITY CIRCULATIONS: EFFECTS OF DISABILITY CULTURAL KNOWLEDGE ON TECHNOLOGICAL INVENTIONS AND SOCIAL PARTICIPATION FOR ALL MEMBERS OF SOCIETIES
Author: LAKSHMI FJORD (University of California-San Francisco)   
Date/Time: Wed., 8:00 PM
Co-Author(s): LAKSHMI FJORD (University of California-San Francisco) 
Abstract: When offering anthropological critiques of eugenics in the early 20th century, Franz Boas argued that without disabled people societies would lose their adaptive capacities. Few know how many innovations they enjoy were catalyzed by the sensory, cognitive, emotional, and physical “differences” of disabled people. The invitation to participation offered by curb cuts and building ramps for people pushing strollers, bicycles or handcarts are well understood where they are in place. Less well known is the history of the keyboard, now integral to computing and text-messaging, yet first designed in 1870 to help Danish deaf students to communicate in written Danish. In this paper, I offer a conceptual and practical overview: from the fertility of the typewriter as progenitor of a communication revolution to how inclusive design disaster preparedness and responses benefit everyone, and their inverse, the failures of traditional emergency management. In my current fieldwork in cancer clinics with very elderly patients desiring to undertake intensive cancer treatments, the lessons of inclusive design would alleviate present fraught access issues. The circulation of disability knowledge and technological kinship is amply illustrated by the many communication technologies designed for deaf and blind people (keyboard, videophone, TTY talk, captions, audio description, screen readers) and their extension into mass use (text-messaging, Skype, YouTube captioning, digital classrooms). As these technologies become more integrated into the mainstream, the foggier are their origins. Yet, understanding better this circulation from disability knowledge to inclusive access points to the rich cultural resources that disabled people offer their societies.

Program Number: 1-0845
Session Title: DISABILITY CIRCULATIONS: FORUM ON THE EFFECTS OF DISABILITY ON CULTURAL INNOVATION, TECHNOLOGICAL INVENTION, AND SOCIAL PARTICIPATION FOR ALL MEMBERS OF SOCIETIES
Session Sponsor: National Association for the Practice of Anthropology
Session Date/Time: Wed., 8:00 PM-9:45 PM
Organizer(s): LAKSHMI FJORD (University of California-San Francisco) 
Chair(s): LAKSHMI FJORD (University of California-San Francisco)  
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