“Unspeakable: Disability History, Identity, and Rights” is a Winter 2011 series of lectures and films at the University of Washington in Odegaard Library, Room 220. “Unspeakable” is presented in conjunction with the traveling version of the Willard suitcase exhibit, “The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic,” which has been brought to the University of Washington by Live Inclusive. The exhibit focuses on the lives of several women and men who were committed to the Willard Psychiatric Center in upstate New York, starting in 1918. Willard operated for more than 125 years as a state mental hospital, finally closing in 1995. It was then, and quite by accident, that nearly 400 suitcases were discovered in the attic of an abandoned building. The goal of the exhibit is to bring the stories of the suitcase owners and a patient-centered view of the history of psychiatry to a wide audience. It will be hosted on the second floor of Odegaard Library from January 17 to March 18, 2011. The supporting programming for the exhibit includes the “Unspeakable” series of film screenings (Tuesdays 5:30p.m. from January 25 to February 22, refreshments provided) and lectures by visiting and local scholars in disability studies, as well as weekly panel presentations (Thursdays 6:00p.m.) on personal stories and policy issues. All of these events will provide forums for conversations about perspectives on past and present disability issues.

All events are free and open to the public

Location: University of Washington Odegaard Library, Room 220 (Google map) (Campus map)

Download: Unspeakable Flyer_8.5×11 (pdf), Live Inclusive Poster (pdf 5Mb). Link: Live Inclusive events brochure

Lecture series overview:

“Unspeakable” features lectures by invited scholarly experts who work on topics in disability studies that complement the subject matter of the Willard Suitcases Exhibit. Each presentation will be followed by ample time for audience discussion. Geoffrey Reaume of York University will talk about his research and activism around the history of mental institutions and patient labor in Canada. Philip Ferguson of the School of Educational Studies at Chapman University will discuss his research on historical examples of family-professional interactions in institutions for people with intellectual disabilities. Jeffrey Brune, a UW History graduate who now teaches at Gallaudet University, will speak about the significance of John Howard Griffin’s intersecting racial, sexual and disability identities in his book Black Like Me. Licia Carlson will speak about work she has done on philosophy, gender, and intellectual disability. Several of these scholars will also lead discussions after the Tuesday night film screenings.

UW co-sponsors of “Unspeakable”:

Disability Studies Program; Norris & Dorothy Haring Center for Applied Research & Training in Education; Program on Values in Society; Department of History; Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity; Law, Societies, & Justice Program; Department of Political Science; Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; Comparative History of Ideas Program; Women Studies Department; Bothell Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Canadian Studies Center of the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies; DO-IT; Disability Advocacy Student Alliance; ASUW Student Disability Commission; ASUW Women’s Action Commission; ASUW Gay Bisexual Lesbian Transgender Commission.


01Feb11


Photos courtesy of Mikeal Beland


Media coverage

21Jan11

Lectures

11Jan11

Darby Penney

The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic

Thursday February 3, 2011
6:00-8:00p.m.
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

Darby Penney is the curator of the exhibit and co-author, with Peter Stastny, of The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic (Bellevue Literary Press, 2008).  The exhibit is based on artifacts from suitcases dating from as early as 1918, found in the attic of an abandoned building at the Willard Psychiatric Center in New York when it closed in 1995. Many of the suitcases appeared untouched since the day they were packed, and their contents bear witness to the rich, complex lives their owners lived prior to being committed to Willard. This presentation will focus on the history of people in institutions through a series of personal lenses, including what issues affected these individuals and led to their incarceration.  There will be ample time for discussion allowing the audience to consider the complexities of these stories and issues.

Darby Penney is a Senior Research Associate with Advocates for Human Potential, Inc., where she works on projects related to trauma-informed services, shared decision-making in mental health, and cross-disability peer support. She was formerly Director of Recipient Affairs at the New York State Office of Mental Health, where she brought the perspectives of people with psychiatric disabilities into the policy-making process. She also served as OMH Director of Historical Projects, where she worked on state hospital cemetery restoration, oral history projects, and the Suitcase Project. She is a long time leader and activist in the human rights movement for people with psychiatric histories.

Sponsored by Live Inclusive and UW Disability Studies Program.

Download flyer for Penney’s presentation Flyer_week2_If_Lives (pdf)

Geoffrey Reaume

Memorializing Mad People’s History:
Preserving our Past through Archives and Activism

Thursday February 10, 2011
6:00-8:00p.m.
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

This talk focuses on efforts to preserve and commemorate mad people’s history through public history projects and collecting archival material, mainly by the Psychiatric Survivor Archives, Toronto. The discussion will include examples dealing with the asylum period and more recent decades of activism by current and former psychiatric patients.

Geoffrey Reaume is Associate Professor in the Critical Disability Studies Graduate Program at York University. He is the author of Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940 (Oxford U Press, 2000, U of Toronto Press, 2009) and Lyndhurst: Canada’s First Rehabilitation Centre for People with Spinal Cord Injuries, 1945-1998 (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2007). He is a co-founder of the Psychiatric Survivor Archives, Toronto, and has introduced and taught “Mad People’s History” at all three universities in Toronto.

Sponsored by UW Disability Studies Program; Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; Canadian Studies Center of the Jackson School of International Studies; Law, Societies, & Justice Program; Department of Political Science; Norris & Dorothy Haring Center for Applied Research & Training in Education; Program on Values in Society; Department of History; Comparative History of Ideas Program; Women Studies Department; Bothell Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. Reaume_color_flyer (pdf)

Philip Ferguson

The Doubting Dance: Contributions to a History of Parent/Professional Interactions in Early 20th Century America

Monday February 14,  2011
4:30-6:30p.m.
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

This presentation explores the nature of family/professional relationships during the early 20th century when eugenic sterilization was rapidly gaining public and professional support. Using case files from Fairview State School in Oregon, the presentation analyzes correspondence between administrators and parents discussing proper “treatment.” Unspeakable_week4_Ferguson_flyer (pdf)

Philip Ferguson is a professor in the College of Educational Studies at Chapman University, and past President of the Society for Disability Studies. He pursues an array of interests in the general field of disability studies with a special emphasis on issues affecting people with intellectual disabilities. His research focuses on the areas of family/professional interactions and support policy, social policy and the history of disability, and qualitative research methods in disability studies and education. He has a book and an accompanying video on the history of policy and practice for people with intellectual disabilities, Abandoned to Their Fate: Social Policy and Practice toward Severely Disabled Persons, 1820 –1920 (Temple U Press, 1994).

Sponsored by UW Norris & Dorothy Haring Center for Applied Research & Training in Education; Program on Values in Society; Department of History; Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity; Law, Societies, & Justice Program; Department of Political Science; Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; Comparative History of Ideas Program; Women Studies Department; Canadian Studies Center; Bothell Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Disability Studies Program. PowerPoint Doubting Dance presentation

Jennifer Stuber

Transforming the American Conversation about Mental Health

Wednesday February 16, 2011 5:30-7:00p.m. University of Washington Odegaard Library 220

Jennifer Stuber is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Washington. Her research interests are on stigma and prejudice as social processes and the role these processes play in the production of poor health, health disparities, and in some cases improved health (as is the case with smoking-related stigmatization). She is the editor for a special issue of Social Science and Medicine on Stigma, Discrimination, Prejudice and Health. Stuber’s current research concerns the social construction of mental illnesses and mental health policy. She is working on two major projects investigating the causes and interventions to address mental illness related stigmatization.

Co-hosted by the School of Social Work and Department of Communication. Registration is required for this event. Please go to http://socialwork.uw.edu.

Jeffrey Brune

Brown bag talk, Department of History: What Every Historian Should Know about Disability History (and What They Lose by Ignoring the Field)

Monday February 28, noon-1pm

Smith 203E

Please bring your lunch. Juice and cookies will be provided.

Jeff will talk about how attention to disabled people as a minority group and “disability” as a category of analysis can change the ways that we view all of American history. As disability historian Doug Baynton says, “disability is everywhere in history, once you begin to look for it, but conspicuously absent in the histories we write.”

Blind Like Me: John Howard Griffin, Disability, and the Fluidity of Identity in Modern America

Tuesday March 1, 2011
6:00-7:30p.m.
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

This talk explores intersections of disability, race, gender, and sexuality in the life and work of John Howard Griffin, author of Black Like Me, and how these offer opportunities to alter fundamental assumptions about identity in modern America.

Jeffrey Brune is Assistant Professor of History at Gallaudet University and in 2011-2012 will serve as a postdoctoral fellow at Syracuse University’s Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies. After completing his dissertation at the University of Washington in cultural history, three years ago he shifted his focus to the history of disability and is currently working on two books. His new monograph project, which has received an early contract from Cambridge University Press, is Disability Stigma and the Modern American State. It examines how government disability programs heightened fears of malingering (fear of faking or exaggerating a disability), affected the treatment of disabled people, and increased the stigma of disability. He argues that this trend, ironically, has only worsened as disability policy has shifted toward civil rights during the past forty years. He is also co-editing an anthology, Blurring the Lines: Disability, Race, Gender and Passing in Modern America.

Sponsored by UW Department of History; Comparative History of Ideas Program; Bothell Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity; Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; Norris & Dorothy Haring Center for Applied Research & Training in Education; Program on Values in Society; Law, Societies, & Justice Program; Department of Political Science; Canadian Studies Center; Women Studies Department; and Disability Studies Program. Pdf of color flyer Brune_flyer

Licia Carlson

Gender, Disability, and the Dynamics
of Institutionalization

Monday March 7, 2011
6:00-7:30p.m.
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

This talk explores the role that gender difference played in the history of institutionalization, including the relevance of gender to definitions of mental disability and the use of inmate labor. Carlson will consider what the stories from the Willard Suitcase Exhibit can teach us about the relationship between gender and disability.

Licia Carlson is an assistant professor of philosophy at Providence College. She is the author of Faces of Intellectual Disability: Philosophical Reflections (Indiana U Press, 2010), and co-editor of Cognitive Disability and Its Challenge to Moral Philosophy (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010). Her work explores the history of ideas about cognitive disability and what it means to treat people with intellectual disabilities in an ethical manner.

Sponsored by UW Program on Values in Society; Women Studies Department; Comparative History of Ideas Program; Bothell Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences; Norris & Dorothy Haring Center for Applied Research & Training in Education; Department of History; Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity; Law, Societies, & Justice Program; Department of Political Science; Canadian Studies Center; Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies; and Disability Studies Program.

Joanne Woiak

Voices from the Washington Archives: Eugenics and Forced Sterilization in State Institutions

Tuesday March 15, 6:00-7:30p.m. University of Washington Odegaard Library 220

This talk explores how disability was defined and deployed during the eugenics era, using archival records of sterilizations in Washington state institutions. Examples from patient files show how concepts of “insanity” and “mental deficiency” were inextricably tied to gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class. The archives also include letters and purported transcripts of patient interviews before the sterilization board. These documents suggest that medical authorities, inmates, and families had differing perspectives on the meanings of “consent,” and they voiced a range of attitudes towards sterilization as a form of eugenics, social control, therapy, or contraception.

Joanne Woiak is a lecturer in the Disability Studies Program at the University of Washington. Her Ph.D. is in the history and philosophy of science, and she pursues research and teaching on the history of eugenics and other topics exploring the social justice implications of medical-scientific knowledge and practices. In 2009, she developed and hosted the public symposium Eugenics and Disability: History and Legacy in Washington.

Sponsored by UW Disability Studies Program.


Film Series

11Jan11

University of Washington

Odegaard Library, Room 220
Tuesdays 5:30-7:30 p.m

Presented by ASUW Student Disability Commission and UW Disability Studies Program

Refreshments provided

____________________________________________________________________

Jan. 25 The Lynchburg Story:  Eugenic Sterilization in America

Between 1927 and 1972, over 8,000 young people at the Lynchburg Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded in Virginia were forcibly sterilized. Most were simply poor, ill-educated, and considered a financial burden. Interviewed victims tell of the devastating impact on their lives. Download flyer Flyer_week1_Lynchburg (pdf).

____________________________________________________________________

Feb. 1  If I Can’t Do It

Arthur Campbell, Jr. doesn’t want your sympathy, he just wants what most people do: a living wage, a meaningful social life, a few good laughs, and the means to get around. “For most of my first 38 years, I had no life outside my parents’ home. I thought my problems were unique — that is, until I began to be around other disabled people, and I discovered how similar our stories were.” Download flyer Flyer_week2_If_Lives (pdf).

____________________________________________________________________

Feb. 8 Hurry Tomorrow

“The horrific news outbreak during the early and mid-1970′s of the condition of state mental hospitals around the country caused a cry for change. Hurry Tomorrow is a compilation of events filmed at the Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, California, over a six-week period. Hurry Tomorrow goes way beyond Titicut Follies or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in its indictment of mental hospital conditions; it has absolute power over viewers.”  Hurry_Reaume_week_flyer (pdf)

____________________________________________________________________

Feb. 15   In Our Care

Made in 1959 and used by the state to educate the public about the Fairview Training Center in Salem, Oregon, this film’s images and narration show how institutional life at Fairview was officially portrayed in that era. Fairview closed in 2000.

____________________________________________________________________

Feb. 22 Unforgotten: 25 Years After Willowbrook

The public outcry about the Willowbrook School for people with developmental disabilities resulted from Geraldo Rivera’s award-winning TV series in 1972. The conditions that children, adolescents, and adults were subject to was nothing short of inhumane. Former residents and family members tell their stories of heartbreak and despair.


Tuesday, February 8th, 3.30pm

Venue: Meany 267

Course: Dance 266, Composition 2

Students from the Composition 2 course respond to the exhibition in the context of a performance integrating, movement, text and sound. The students are asked to experience the exhibition, research Willard and identify shared and universal concepts it addresses, which they develop into movement concepts. Pushing their personal perspective they are ultimately asked to come up with a joint staging for this public event.
The event consists of a short performance followed by a discussion.
The event is hosted in the Dance Program, Meany Hall, studio 267.

Contact information:

Jurg Koch
Assistant Professor UW Dance Program

Eli Clare

05Jan11

Writer, speaker and activist Eli Clare will be visiting the University of Washington for two public presentations and a lunch discussion with students and faculty. All events are free and open to the public. Sponsored and organized by ASUW Student Disability Commission, Women’s Action Commission, and Gay Bisexual Lesbian Transgender Commission; Disability Advocacy Student Alliance; and UW Disability Studies Program.

Resisting Shame, Making Our Bodies Home

Thursday January 27, 2011
2:30-4:30p.m.
University of Washington
Parrington Hall 309 (map)

Shame is an altogether too familiar feeling in marginalized communities, and its impact is huge, ranging from low self-esteem to addiction, from ignoring our health care needs to suicide. Using critical analysis, storytelling, and poetry, writer and activist Eli Clare explores how we in our communities, particularly in LGBTQ and disability communities, resist shame and make our bodies home.

After Eli’s talk, everyone is invited to the Opening Reception for the Willard Suitcases Exhibit in Odegaard Library, Room 220, January 27, 6:00-8:00pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Yearning Towards Carrie Buck

Friday January 28, 2011
6:00-8:00p.m.
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

The infamous Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, which declared involuntary sterilization laws constitutional in 1927, was built upon the body of Carrie Buck, a poor white woman from Virginia. Using history, poetry, images, and imagination, Eli Clare explores how disability, class, gender, and whiteness often collide and asks questions about the relationship between bodies on one hand and law, history, and metaphor on the other.

Presented in conjunction with the screening of the documentary film The Lynchburg Story: Eugenic Sterilization in America, Tuesday January 25, 5:30-7:30p.m. in Odegaard 220. Refreshments provided.

Biography

White, disabled, and gender-queer, Eli Clare happily lives in the Green Mountains of Vermont where he writes and proudly claims a penchant for rabble-rousing. He has written a book of essays Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press, 1999, 2009) and a collection of poetry The Marrow’s Telling: Words in Motion (Homofactus Press, 2007) and has been published in many periodicals and anthologies. Eli speaks, teaches, and facilitates all over the United States and Canada at conferences, community events, and colleges about disability, queer and trans identities, and social justice. Among other pursuits, he has walked across the United States for peace, coordinated a rape prevention program, and helped organize the first ever Queerness and Disability Conference.

Download flyer for Eli Clare events Flyer_week1_EliClare (pdf)

Resisting Shame, Making Our Bodies Home 

Thursday January 27th, 2011
2:30-4:30pm
University of Washington
Parrington Hall 309

Shame is an altogether too familiar feeling in marginalized communities, and
its impact is huge, ranging from low self-esteem to addiction, from ignoring
our health care needs to suicide. Using critical analysis, storytelling, and
poetry, writer and activist Eli Clare explores how we in our communities,
particularly in LGBTQ and disability communities, resist shame and make our
bodies home.

All are invited to the opening reception for the Willard Suitcases Exhibit
in Odegaard Library, 2nd floor, January 27th 6-8pm.

Yearning Towards Carrie Buck

Friday January 28th, 2011
6:00-8:00pm
University of Washington
Odegaard Library 220

The infamous Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell, which declared involuntary
sterilization laws constitutional in 1927, was built upon the body of Carrie
Buck, a poor white woman from Virginia. Using history, poetry, images, and
imagination, Eli Clare explores how disability, class, gender, and whiteness
often collide and asks questions about the relationship between bodies on
one hand and law, history, and metaphor on the other.

Presented in conjunction with the screening of “The Lynchburg Story: Eugenic
Sterilization in America”, January 25th 5:30-7:30pm in Odegaard 220.

All events are free and open to the public.
More information at http://uwdisability.wordpress.com/

Sponsored by ASUW Student Disability Commission, Women’s Action Commission
and Gay Bisexual Lesbian Transgender Commission




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