Rosemarie Garland-Thomson: "Disability Bioethics: A Path to Realizing Equality"
Join us for our new series! Stories for Survivability: How we Talk about Disability Ethics and Why it Matters. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson presents as the first of four speakers in this series, supported by the Chancellor's Diversity Challenge Fund.
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is a disability justice and culture thought leader, bioethicist, teacher, and humanities scholar. Her 2016 editorial, “Becoming Disabled,” was the inaugural article in the ongoing weekly series in the New York Times about disability by people living with disabilities. She is a professor of English and bioethics at Emory University, where she teaches disability studies, bioethics, American literature and culture, and feminist theory. Her work develops the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities to bring forward disability access, inclusion, and identity to a broad range of institutions and communities. She is co-editor of About Us: Essays from the New York Times about Disability by People with Disabilities (forthcoming) and the author of Staring: How We Look and several other books. Her current project is Embracing Our Humanity: A Bioethics of Disability and Health.
"Critical disability studies can enlarge our shared understanding of what it means to live with disabilities and be counted as disabled. To do this, the insights and knowledge of critical disability studies need to be applied—to be brought into—medical science as a knowledge base and to its practitioners. This talk proposes that the field of bioethics is an appropriate arena of knowledge building and practice into which critical disability studies can be brought to bear. I offer a speculative proposal for developing a practice I call disability cultural competencethat can be developed as a component of the emergent field of disability bioethics. The proposal is intended as a first step in considering what I understand as a knowledge translation project through which the interpretive knowledge-making tools of critical disability studies — hermeneutics, rhetoric, representational analysis, narrative analysis, historical narrative and recuperation, critical theory, meaning-making structures, sociocultural practices and products across time and geographies, and moral questions — can serve as an opportunity to actually shape policy and practice through the field of bioethics."