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Workshop 1: Medical Ableism

Primarily Synchronous (June 1-4)

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Workshop Leaders:

James L. Cherney, University of Nevada-Reno:
Jenell Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison:

This workshop brings together perspectives from the rhetoric of health and medicine and disability rhetoric to understand how ableism operates in, through, and beyond biomedicine. The workshop will explore how the rhetorical creation and enforcement of bodily norms intersects with ableism in a variety of ways, and how medical ableism intersects with other forms of oppression. Case studies may include cochlear implants, compulsory psychiatric treatment, experimentation on vulnerable populations and within marginalized communities, eugenics, institutionalization and incarceration, the medicalization of gender and queer identity, the logic of cure, and others. The workshop will be divided between robust discussions of an interdisciplinary reading list and small group workshops of participants’ writing projects. Because we seek an accessible workshop, all accepted participants will be asked to commit to the best practices of accessibility in their presentations and written materials.

James L. CherneyJames L. Cherney is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Communication Core in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Nevada, Reno. His primary area of research is the rhetoric of ableism, and covering its history, how it operates in public debates, and where it appears in popular media. He has authored Ableist Rhetoric: How we Know, Value, and See Disability (2019) and articles and book chapters on ableism, disability politics, and the visual rhetoric of disability in film. He frequently co-authors work with Kurt Lindemann of San Diego State University on disability sport and its presentation in visual media.

Jenell JohnsonJenell Johnson is Mellon-Morgridge Professor of the Humanities and Associate Professor of Rhetoric, Politics, and Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Johnson is the author of American Lobotomy: A Rhetorical History (2014), editor of Graphic Reproduction (2018), and co-editor of The Rhetoric of Health and Medicine As/Is (2020), Biocitizenship (2018), and The Neuroscientific Turn (2012). Her areas of research include rhetorical theory and history, the rhetoric of science, health, and medicine, disability studies, and environmental ethics.

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