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Accessible Humanities: Representation as Enablement

Venue: Birkbeck Main Building, Malet Street

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This task-based workshop examines how unequal power relations shape cultures of disability and the way they are represented and materialised in academic institutions, educational practices, and society.  In an attempt to make higher education inclusive, democratized and decolonized, the seminar examines the absence of disability from the curriculum and teaching practices by exploring the influence of colonialism on perceptions of the body.

Medical, historical, social, cultural, and political discourses have defined the human body and disability differently over time. What this suggests is that various conceptualisations of disability disclose the broader systems of power, authority and ableism. In this context, colonialism as a major historical force produced specific perceptions of the (labouring) body. This seminar will investigate the links between colonial violence and disability, which affected and prevented full participation of ‘different’ bodies in social and national context. 

This workshop, therefore, explores: What is the process of ‘enabling’? How can literary representations be enabling? What do we mean by decolonizing a ‘disabled’ body? To what extent is our understanding of mind and body a product of imperialist ideology?

Discussions such as these will help us engage with disability, incorporate it into teaching and education system and transform our spatial, educational and cultural landscape.

This is the second of the two workshops sponsored by the Experimental Humanities Collaborative Network.

Refreshments will be provided.

Contact name:

  • Coralie Consigny -

    Co-organizer: Coralie Consigny is a research analyst, whose principal work focuses on exploring societal risks stemming from AI, which include privacy concerns, biases as well as larger systemic threats.

  • Dr Soody Gholami -

    Dr Soody Gholami is a Research Fellow at Birkbeck. Her project titled ‘Decolonizing the English Curriculum in post-Brexit Britain’ focuses on integrating inclusive pedagogy in English and Humanities.