[csaa-forum] 'disability, cinema & culture' seminar & bk launch/UNSW Thurs 9th Oct

Gerard Goggin g.goggin at unsw.edu.au
Wed Oct 1 16:02:47 CST 2008

ŒDisability, Film, and Culture¹ seminar
& launch of 'Disabling Diversity'
Thursday 9th October 2008, 2.30-5pm

Featuring Petra Kuppers (U. of Michigan) & Neil Marcus (Berkeley, CA)
& Kathleen Ellis (UWA)

Law seminar room
Second floor, Law Building, UNSW
(off University mall)

Presented by the ARC Cultural Research Network,
Journalism & Media Research Centre & Disability Studies Research Centre,
2.30-3.15pm Petra Kuppers (Michigan) & Neil Marcus (Berkeley)
ŒThe Olimpias Disability Culture Projects: Tiresias, and a
reading from Cripple Poetics¹
Abstract: In this short presentation, Petra Kuppers and Neil Marcus will
share examples of disability culture art, including an award-winning
videodance which interrogates attitudes to disabled bodies and
sensuality, and excerpts from their new poetry collection Cripple
Poetics: A Love Story.
About the presenters:
Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activst, a wheelchair dancer,
Artistic Director of The Olimpias (www.olimpias.org) and Associate
Professor of English at the University of Michigan. She has written a
number of books, including Disability and Contemporary Performance:
Bodies on Edge (Routledge 2003), The Scar of Visibility: Medical
Performances and Contemporary Arts (Minnesota 2007) and Community
Performance: An Introduction (Routledge, 2007). The Olimpias' most
recent shows include Tiresias, an exploration of sensuality, myth and
disability, and The Anarcha Project, an investigation of the
intersections of African-American culture and disability culture.
Neil Marcus is a poet and Butoh dancer, a film and TV actor (people
still recognise him on the street from his appearance in ER) and
playwright who lives in Berkeley, California. His philosophy is that
'disability is not a tragedy, but an art'. He performed his show Storm
Reading over 300 times around the world, and has been awarded a United
Nations Writer's Medal. Together with Petra Kuppers, he has just
released a book of poetry called Cripple Poetics: A Love Story
(Homofactus Press, 2008).
3.30pm-4.30pm Kathleen Ellis (UWA)
ŒDisabling Diversity: the Social Construction of Disability in 1990s
Australian National Cinema¹
Abstract: While social factors have been recognised in discussions of
minority groups in Australia 3Ž4 particularly race, gender and sexuality 3Ž4
disability has remained outside questions of discourse, culture,
communication and meaning. It has long been considered as suited only to a
specialty, or medical field of inquiry, not covered in the scope of the
humanities and social sciences (Goggin and Newell). The major in-built
assumption of the medical model is that disability is an individual
pathology. A cursory review of cinematic representation of disability in
Australian national cinema during the 1990s reveals a sense of uneasiness
about this human condition. Disabled characters are both invisible and
hypervisible. Existing within the landscape of diversity as it emerged
throughout the 1990¹s focus on multiculturalism and minority group
interests, they are most often used to rehabilitate a previously
marginalized other. In this seminar Dr. Katie Ellis critically examines
numerous Australian films made during the 1990s with reference to
socio-political contexts and influences to approach the question of
disability as a problem with society rather than as one within a damaged
About the presenter: Dr Kathleen is the author of Disabling Diversity
<http://www.katieellis.com/disabling-diversity> . She received a PhD in
communications ­ disability and media ­ from Murdoch University in 2005 and
currently works in disability support at the University of Western
Australia. Katie has mentored filmmakers with disability and published a
number of articles on inema and new media. Her research interests include
disability, cinema, new media, Australian identity and illness narratives.
Her publications have appeared in Media-Culture, Metro, Wagadu, Senses of
Cinema, Intersections and Australian Screen Education. She has also
presented her work at various conferences in the United States, New Zealand
and across Australia. Katie has participated in many film productions in
various capacities since the late 1990s and is now at work on a study of
disability and new media with Dr Mike Kent. For more details, see
At the conclusion of the seminar at 4.30pm, Kathleen Ellis¹s book Disability
Diversity will be launched by Professor Gerard Goggin ‹ refreshments will be
Details of the book: Kathleen Ellis, Disabling Diversity: the social
Construction of Disability in 1990s Australian National Cinema (VDM Verlag,
2008).  Copies for sale at launch at special discount price. For more
information, see 

Gerard Goggin
Professor of Digital Communication 
& Deputy Director
Journalism and Media Research Centre
University of New South Wales
Sydney 2052 NSW Australia
e: g.goggin at unsw.edu.au
w: +61 2 9385 8532 m: +61 428 66 88 24
f: +61 2 9385 8528

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