The Society for Disability Studies (SDS), http://www.disstudies.org/, an international non-profit organization that promotes the study of disability in social, cultural and political contexts, will host scholars from around the world at its annual conference June 2-5, 2010 at Temple University in Philadelphia.
As a multi-disciplinary group, the SDS conference provides a forum for a wide variety of research presentations, performances and discussion from social scientists, health researchers, humanities scholars, artists, performers and disability rights activists.
The conference will kick off Wednesday evening June 2 with a performance from award-winning R&B singer, Melba Moore (pictured), dedicated to the late singer Teddy Pendergrass at the Temple University Baptist Temple. The evening also will include a discussion panel on race and disability that will introduce the SDS audience to innovative work in Philadelphia on cultural brokering with community leaders and disabled people of color.
Internationally recognized disability-rights leader Kathy Martinez, who is assistant secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in the Obama administration, will lead discussions at the conference on employment and disability.
This year’s conference theme is Disability in the Geo-Political Imagination. The development of global studies has increasingly called for a cross-cultural and comparative approach to questions of marginalization, stigma, Diaspora and resettlement, labor and exploitation, climate change, and the world-ranging production of impairment and disability from violence, inhumane treatment, crumbling infrastructure, and environmental degradation.
Conference presentations will explore a myriad of crucial disability studies issues: the autistic rights movement; the geopolitics of beauty; assistive technology; media representations, school reform and students with disabilities, international human rights, ethical concerns in rehabilitation, and many more topics. The final program is available for viewing at:
The SDS conference also will host a disability-themed film festival June 3-5 organized by Lawrence Carter-Long, creator of the award-winning DisTHIS! Film Series in New York City, http://disthis.org/.
As an organization, SDS will undertake the transition of its Executive Office from the City University of New York (CUNY) to AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability) in Huntersville, N.C., in 2010. AHEAD will serve a five-year term as the SDS Executive Office. AHEAD is a “professional membership organization for individuals involved in the development of policy and in the provision of quality services to meet the needs of persons with disabilities involved in all areas of higher education."
SDS Board member Alberto Guzman explains the relocation of the Executive Office will be beneficial to both organizations.
“Two key elements of AHEAD’s mission and values are: AHEAD dynamically addresses current and emerging issues with respect to disability, education, and accessibility to achieve universal access; and AHEAD values philosophy, thinking, and paradigms that view disability as the interaction between person and environment,” Guzman says. “Through their association with SDS, AHEAD will gain access to a rich theoretical framework regarding disability and its translation into practice strategies.
“We strongly believe that our collaboration with AHEAD will yield great benefits to SDS,” Guzman adds.
Founded in the mid-1980s, the Society for Disability Studies seeks through research, artistic production, teaching and activism to augment the understanding of disability in all cultures and historical periods, to promote greater awareness of the experiences of disabled people, and to advocate for social change. SDS also publishes the leading U.S. scholarly journal on disability studies, Disability Studies Quarterly, http://www.dsq-sds.org/.
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