Apr. 16: Listening With the Whole Body in Mind Feminist Oral History Project

Thursday, April 16, 2015

6-8 PM

Knox Hall, 606 W 122nd St., Room 509

Watch this workshop on YouTube!

“Listening With the Whole Body in Mind” uses oral history to document the experiences of women living with disabilities to significantly broaden the historical record, particularly in the context of two full decades of presumed progress under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In this workshop, we will look at portions of interviews and discuss questions and issues that arise ethically, practically and politically in engaging in a practice of deeply embodied interviewing. For the field of oral history, this project makes a contribution to the development of a new framework, beyond the politics of integration and accommodation, for thinking about the body, difference, vulnerability, interdependency, and democratic participation in all aspects of life. Women’s disability narratives are central to feminist theory and politics, including politics of the body, sexuality, reproduction and artistic representation. Narratives in which disabled women tell our own stories are integral to the formation of socially just public policies. Yet there are relatively few recorded narratives of the lives of women with disabilities, and even fewer of the lives of poor women who represent the overwhelming majority of women with disabilities. People with disabilities, particularly women and the poor, are often denied full participation in public and work life. Accessible oral history interviews tell the fascinating stories of each woman we interview.

Ynestra King is the Co-Director and Interviewer for the Women and Disability Documentary Project, a collaboration between the Barnard College Center for Research on Women and Columbia University Center for Oral History Research. She is a feminist teacher, writer and oral historian. Her current work is on disability narratives and body politics. She has written extensively on feminism, and helped to create ecofeminism, a movement that advocates for the deep connection between the sustainability of individual, embodied lives and the sustainability of life on earth. Ynestra King holds graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts and Columbia University, and has taught at the New School for Social Research, Columbia University and the Institute for Social Ecology. Ynestra is working on a memoir about her southern childhood as a polio survivor and she is writing about feminism and climate change.

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). Support from the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) is provided for programming that embodies late Professor Paul Lazarsfeld’s commitment to improving methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.

INFORMATION: For more information, please email Amy Starecheski at aas39(at)columbia.edu