AAA Annual Meeting Program

AAA Annual Meeting Program Details

Session Information:
This session may be of particular interest to:  Practicing and Applied Anthropologists     Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges     Students  Students
Program Number: 1-0845
Type: Session
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) 
8:00 PM: LAKSHMI FJORD (University of California-San Francisco) -- Disability Circulations: Effects of Disability Cultural Knowledge on Technological Inventions and Social Participation for All Members of Societies  
8:15 PM: MOHAMMED LOUTFY (The American University) -- Participation, Accessibility, and Inclusion: Strategies and Goals for Social Justice, the Case Study of the Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union (LPHU)  
8:30 PM: DEVVA KASNITZ (Society for Disability Studies), RUSSELL SHUTTLEWORTH (San Francisco State University) -- "What?" Speaking and Listening, Who Disables Who?  
8:45 PM: CHRISTOPHER ENGELKE (University of California-Los Angeles) -- Interaction: A New Model for Assistive Communications Technology  
9:00 PM: ZIBIN GUO (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga) -- Dancing in the Chair – the Implications of Wheelchair Tai Chi Chuan  
9:15 PM: NICHOLAS RATTRAY (University of Arizona) -- Transgressive Disablement: The Disruptive Politics of Adaptive Athletics in Tucson, Arizona and Cuenca, Ecuador  
9:45 PM: End of Session
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. In keeping with the 2010 meeting theme of “circulations,” in this forum, we invite audience responses to short presentations on cultural innovations engendered by disability perspectives now circulating to the benefit of whole societies. 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 to help Danish deaf students to communicate in written Danish. In New Orleans, where human failures post-Katrina brought the limits of non-inclusive disaster responses into tragic focus, we discuss how inclusive design disaster preparedness and responses benefit everyone. In this panel, we argue against the grain of a cultural mythos about disabled people as “special needs” individuals who require extra social resources for their accommodation, when these forms of access open up desired spaces and avenues of participation for everyone. Fjord presents an overview, including communication technologies designed for deaf and blind people (keyboard, videophone, TTY talk, captions, audio description, screen readers) and their extension into mass communications; fieldwork with elderly cancer patients and the need for inclusive design to facilitate access to treatments; and, the benefits of inclusive design in disaster mitigation. Loutfy discusses the participatory approach of the Lebanese Physical Handicapped Union (LPHU) to advocacy, awareness and capacity building by targeting the broader society to ensure widespread benefits. He focuses on two projects in consequence of the July 2006 war with Israel – inclusive emergency and relief programs, and the Build for All Program of reconstruction. Kasnitz explores how communication technologies for people with speech impairments are now mainstream technologies such as voice recognition and mobile text to text. She asks how inclusive design paradigms used to encompass non-standard speech change how we all “speak” and listen?” Engelke discusses InTRA, a new suite of Augmentative Alternative Communications (AAC) technologies to be used by people with speech-language disabilities. Its design follows academic theoretical advancements on issues of performance and interaction, grounded in understandings of communication as an emergent phenomenon and multiparty accomplishment. Guo presents on his work with various organizations in China and elsewhere to develop a wheelchair Tai Chi Chuan program, including public responses, and how people with disabilities performing wheelchair Tai Chi Chuan challenge/reshape the perceptions of “able-bodied” populations about physical and psychological space and limitation. Rattray compares the subjectivities of adaptive athletes playing wheelchair basketball in Tucson, Arizona and wheelchair rugby in Cuenca, Ecuador, in shaping understandings of embodied mobility and contesting dominant ideologies about gender and disability. Both groups have developed unique strategies for disrupting practices of exclusion and subverting received messages about the meanings of dependency versus independent living.


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