Thursday, April 4

2:30 – 3:45 p.m.
Misfitting—Setting the Symposium Stage with Stories of Our Lives

4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Douglas Bayton (History) and Patricia Zebrowski (Communication Sciences and Disorders), Faculty Symposium Organizers


Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (English)
Family Misfits in the Frankenstein Ballet

The balletic adaptation of Mary Shelley’s novel presents a drama of a parent’s refusal to accord full moral personhood to an unexpected and unfamiliar child who enters a family in an unorthodox way. 

5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Friday, April 5

9:00– 10:15 a.m.
Interactive Session
Teaching Critical Disability Studies

Jennifer Janechek (Rhetoric) will share an assignment she designed for two diversity-focused literature and rhetoric courses that introduce students to disability studies as a lens through which to analyze arguments and literary texts; the assignment encourages students to understand the importance of using inclusive language.

John Manak (Biology and Pediatrics) will discuss his practice of bringing into his classroom individuals with genetic disorders in order to generate discussions about living with such a disorder and ultimately teach understanding and acceptance.

Naomi Greyser (GWSS, American Studies, English) will share an assignment from her sex and popular culture course that asks students to consider just and unjust distributions of sexual agency and analyze the strategic work of disability activists who respond to objectification, disenfranchisement, and excision from publics, public spaces, and categories of the human. 

10:15-10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Teresa Mangum, Director, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies


Margaret Price (Rhetoric)
Working in Intolerable Space(Times): An Empirical Study of Academic Ableism

Margaret Price describes findings from her 10 years of research in academic settings, and argues for a new understanding of access based upon the concept of “crip spacetime.”

12:00-2:00 pm

2:00 – 3:15 p.m.

Michele Friedner (Anthropology)
Love and Disability Alterworlds in Urban India

In urban India, “love” is mobilized to imagine and create secular and religious worlds. Michele Friedner asks how the concept of “the social” in disability studies and the ways that it is bound up within liberal and secular framings foreclose on the existence of disability otherworlds (or alterworlds).

3:15 – 3:30 p.m.

3:30 – 4:45 p.m.
Early Career Scholars Roundtable
The Future of Critical Disability Studies
Hope Gerlach and Corey Hickner-Johnson, Graduate Symposium Organizers

Panel Participants:

Dr. Lauren Bruno
Kristen Chmielewski
Kaydee Ecker
Hope Gerlach
Corey Hickner-Johnson
Dr. Jennifer Janechek
Lydia Maunz-Breese
Andrew Tubbs
Joy Melody Woods

8:00 p.m. (Details coming on time, place, and partners)
Feature Performance
Comedian Nina G.

Saturday, April 6

9:45 – 11:00 a.m.

Susan Schweik (English)
Unfixed: How the Women of the Glenwood Institution Overturned Ideas About IQ–and Why We Don’t Know About It

Susan Schweik explores the history of a now infamous “Iowa Idea”–the designation of women deemed “feebleminded.” What, she asks, can we can learn when these women leave the margins and become the center of this story about unfixing, misfitting, and the long undoing of eugenics?

11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

11:15 – 12:30

Sami Schalk (Gender and Women Studies)
504 and Beyond: Disability Politics and the Black Panther Party

How did the Black Panther Party engage with disability politics in their activism and revolutionary agenda? Sami Schalk explores their involvement in the 1977 504 sit-in and uses their work to make larger arguments about how black activists articulate and enact disability politics differently than the mainstream, white disability rights movement.

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Technology + Arts + Design: Retrofitting Worlds and Bodies

2:45-3:00 p.m.


Joseph Straus (Music)
Cultural Representations of Idiocy in a Modernist (Eugenic) Era

Modernist literature and music construct the figure of the Eugenic Idiot—a feared source of violence—but also find in idiocy a crucial artistic resource, one that enables the sorts of artistic innovations that centrally define artistic modernism.

4:15 – 5:00 p.m.
Closing Roundtable Reflections