2016 Spring Semester Theme: Disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act, having just celebrated its 25th anniversary, profoundly changed the United States, prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities and requiring levels of accommodations and accessibility unknown to previous generations. At this important historic moment, the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues will take as its spring 2016 theme the concept of DISABILITY, exploring the scientific, cultural and representational landscape surrounding understandings of both ability and disability. The Americans with Disabilities Act will serve as a particular springboard for our events, as we consider its social and political history, its limitations, and its future. Approaching disability from interdisciplinary perspectives in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, this semester’s events will bring together medical, legal, activist, and artistic approaches to a reconsideration of what constitutes a (dis)ability; the social and cultural ramifications of how we define and respond to disability; and the ways that disability and ability intersect with other forms of identities and oppressions.

Events Related to Theme:


Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Morgan Lecture
The Americans with Disabilities Act: Civil Rights Then, Now, and in the Future

Lennard Davis, Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, professor of English, Disability and Human Development, and Medical Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago


Thursday, March 3, 2016
Holland Union Building, Social Hall West, 7 p.m.
Universal Design and Diverse Learners

Manju Banerjee, vice president and director of Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) and associate professor at Landmark College


Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.
Disability Studies and Contemporary Bioethics for HIV-Positive Persons
Lance Wahlert, assistant professor of medical ethics & health policy, University of Pennsylvania


Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.
Disability Rights in Global Perspective

Karen Nakamura,  Haas Distinguished Chair in Disability Studies and Professor of Anthropology, University of California Berkeley


For information on submitting proposals for future themes /faculty seminars, click here.