Avoidance and / in the Academy: The International Conference on Disability, Culture and Education

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Blind Spots: The (In)visibility of Blindness in French Culture

French thought, literature and film have been fascinated by depictions of blindness and sight loss since Diderot’s eighteenth-century philosophical essays, yet the emerging discipline of Disability Studies, whilst recently becoming more visible in the Anglo-American discipline of French Studies, barely exists in France itself. This paper will begin by asking why Disability Studies is struggling to find a voice in France before using examples from nineteenth-century French literature and twentieth-century French film to demonstrate how the academy’s avoidance of Disability Studies might be countered - or indeed resisted. Discussions of the tension between actual and metaphorical blindness, of blindness’s relationship with beauty, perfection and normality, of the functions of perspective and narrative and of the hierarchy of the senses all enable Disability Studies scholars to place disability at the heart of their teaching, research and pedagogy. In so doing, the avoidance of Disability Studies becomes impossible because it is shown to be central to thinking in the humanities.

Avoidance and / in the Academy The International Conference on Disability, Culture and Education
Period11 Sept 201312 Sept 2013
Event typeConference
LocationLIverpool, United KingdomShow on map