CLST Voicing Disability Conference to be Featured at CSA Conference 9AM-Noon

June 1, 2018 - 9:00am to 12:00pm

CLST, with generous co-sponsorships from Pitt's Office of Health Sciences Diversity and Pitt’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, proudly presents a major conference that will be a plenary session of the Cultural Studies Association Convention meeting at CMU: VOICING DISABILITY: Cultural Interventions, Ethical Dilemmas, and Methodological Possibilities. This event, free and open to the public, will be held 9:00 AM-noon in 125 Frick Fine Arts Building at the University of Pittsburgh, with a half-hour reception at noon in the Cloister immediately outside the venue.  Bagels and beverages will be provided in the half-hour before the event begins.

CONFERENCE DESCRIPTION: Given the recent turn in cultural studies toward the ethics of envoicing minoritized personhood in dynamic tension with the contingencies of oppressive social structures, this conference proposes to address advances in cultural approaches toward understanding disability/diffability. The three speakers, all leading scholars in the field of disability studies, have been asked to reflect upon their experiences as examples of emerging “best practices” in opening spaces for too-often silenced people with disabilities, past and present, to be heard broadly beyond their communities.  The conference participants will consider whether spotlighting disabled individuals’ agency resolves or highlights a longstanding contradiction in disability studies between, on the one hand, its history in medically-circumscribed concepts of impairment that underscore claims to public entitlements and other benefits, and, on the other hand, its embrace by people who emphasize disability as a sociocultural construction (and less a limiting condition) and hence seek cultural parity with “abled normals”–neither as a lesser nor constricted form of human existence, merely a different one.


Beverages and Bagels 


Welcome: Ronald J. Zboray, CLST Director

Session I: Listening to Voices:

Introduction: Mary Saracino Zboray, Visiting Scholar in Communication

Mary Jo Festle, Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of History, Elon University

Quality of Life: What Oral History with Lung Transplant Recipients Teaches Us

Dr. Festle is Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of History at Elon University, and Associate Director of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning.  She has published Second Wind: Oral Histories of Lung Transplant Survivors (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and Playing Nice: Politics and Apologies in Women’s Sports (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996).  Her essays have appeared in numerous readers and her articles have appeared in venues like Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences (2010), Oral History Review (2002), and Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (1997).


Session II: Writing Voices

Introduction: Mary Saracino Zboray, Visiting Scholar in Communication

Lennard J. Davis, Distinguished Professor of English, University of Illinois at Chicago

Ventriloquizing Sign Language: The Ethics of Hearing People Writing About Deaf People

Dr. Davis, Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Professor of Disability and Human Development in the School of Applied Health Sciences and Professor of Medical Education in the University of Illinois College of Medicine, is arguably one of the founders of cultural studies of disability. His books include: Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights (Beacon 2015); Resisting Novels: Ideology and Fiction (Routledge 2014); The End of Normal: Identity in a Biocultural Era ( U Michigan P 2013); My Sense of Silence: Memoirs of a Childhood with Deafness (U Illinois P 2000); and Shall I Say a Kiss: The Courtship Letters of a Deaf Couple (Gallaudet UP 1999).  He edited the many editions of The Disability Studies Reader (Routledge 1997-2017).


Session III: Voices in the Archive 

Introduction: Mary Saracino Zboray, Visiting Scholar in Communication

Dea H. Boster Associate Professor of History, Department of Humanities, Columbus State Community College

Slavery, Subjectivity, and Narrative in Disability History

Dr. Boster is Associate Professor of History, Department of Humanities, Columbus State Community College. Her books include African American Slavery and Disability: Bodies, Property, and Power in the Antebellum South, 1800-1860 (Routledge 2013) and, with Joel D. Howell, Medicine at Michigan: A History of the University of Michigan Medical School at the Bicentennial (U Michigan P 2017). Her articles and essays have appeared in Bulletin of the History of Medicine (2009), Jeffrey Brune and Daniel Wilson’s Disability and Passing (Temple UP 2013), and Susan Burch and Michael Rembis’s Disability Histories (U Illinois P 2014).


Closing Reception


Location and Address

Frick Fine Arts Building, Room 125

650 Schenley Drive

Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Directions and Parking Information

The Frick Fine Arts Building is at 650 Schenley Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15260.  Street parking is available nearby, including handicap spaces.  

From Pittsburgh International Airport (From the West)

Take I-279 toward Pittsburgh. Pass through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, stay to the right, and bear right at the first ramp over the bridge onto I-376.  Exit I-376 at the Oakland/Forbes Avenue Exit (2A). Merge onto Forbes Avenue toward Oakland.  Continue on Forbes Avenue and make a right onto Bigelow Boulevard, then your first left onto Schenley Drive.  The Frick Fine Arts Building will be on the right. 

From the Pennsylvania Turnpike (From the East)

Take the Pittsburgh/Monroeville Exit (Exit 57). Follow I-376 toward Pittsburgh; Take the Oakland Exit (3B). Proceed up the hill through the first traffic light; Continue on Bates Street where you can reach Forbes Avenue by turning left on ANY of the following roads off of Bates: (in order of which you would drive by) McKee Place, Semple Street, Atwood Street, or S. Bouquet Street. Continue on road of your choice until you reach the intersection with Forbes Avenue. Continue on Forbes Avenue and make a right onto Bigelow Boulevard, then your first left onto Schenley Drive.  The Frick Fine Arts Building will be on the right. 

From the North

Take I-79 South to I-279 South to I-579 (Veterans Bridge – Exit 8A); Follow Signs to Oakland/376 East onto the Boulevard of the Allies exit. Follow the Boulevard of the Allies, staying in the left lane. After the Monroeville split, look for an immediate right onto the Forbes Avenue exit. Continue on Forbes Avenue and make a right onto Bigelow Boulevard, then your first left onto Schenley Drive. The Frick Fine Arts Building will be on the right. 

Accommodations for People with Disabilities

A wheelchair accessible entrance is on the left side of Frick Fine Arts Building.  Wheelchair accessible restrooms are on the same floor as the entrance, conference  venue, and closing reception. The talks will be translated by an American Sign Language Interpreter.

For CSA attendees, a van with a wheelchair lift will be available to get to and from the conference.  To make arrangements or for other accommodations, contact CLST Administrator Heidi Castaneda, / (412) 624-7232.

Directions from Carnegia Mellon University's Baker Hall (Cultural Studies Association Conference venue):