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Meditating on Disability

When Mar 31, 2003
from 10:00 PM to 11:00 PM
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Brill Professor of Women's Studies and English, Penn State University

Susan Squier received her education at Princeton University and Stanford University. She is now Brill Professor of Women's Studies and English at The Pennsylvania State University. Research Interests: cultural studies of science and medicine; feminist theory; modernism. Major Publications:Virginia Woolf and London: The Sexual Politics of the City (1985); Babies in Bottles: Twentieth Century Visions of Reproductive Technology (1994); Women Writers and the City: Essays in Feminist Literary Criticism (1984); Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation (1989); Playing Dolly: Technocultural Formations, Fantasies, and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction(1999); Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture (forthcoming). She was scholar in residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Center (February-March 2001), Visiting Distinguished Fellow, LaTrobe University, Melbourne Australia (1992) and Fulbright Senior Research Scholar, Melbourne, Australia (1990-1991). She is Editorial Board member of the Journal of Medical Humanities, and Executive Board member and past President of the Society for Literature and Science. In Summer 2002, she co-directed (with Anne Hunsaker Hawkins) the NEH Summer Institute, "Medicine, Literature, and Culture," held at the Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey Medical Center.

Meditating on Disability

In this talk, I am going to explore a particular aspect of disability studies that hasn't, to my knowledge, been remarked on yet: the fact that quite a number of people who are disabled, for a range of reasons, have taken up meditation. More than that, they have written about it: from Lorenzo Milam's Crip Zen: A Manual for Survival, and Joan Tollefsen's Bare-Bones Meditation to Jesse Daikan McKinney's A Mind on Wheels: The Inner Journey and Philip Martin's The Zen Path through Depression. I'm struck by the variety of memoirs by people disabled by a range of conditions, all of whom find comfort and help in meditation. I want to theorize why this might be, linking it to an understanding of identity that disability studies makes possible.

March 31, 2003