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HAVC and F&DM Spring Colloquium - Faye Ginsburg "Screening Disabilities: Visual Fields, Public Culture and the Atypical Mind in the 21st Century"

Faye Ginsburg
Mon May 16, 2011, 6:00pm to Wed May 16, 2012, 8:00pm
Porter 245

This free public talk analyses the visual fields that place, circulate, and reposition young people with a range of diagnoses involving atypical cognition. Drawing on current multi-sited fieldwork in NYC, this work examines the "transference of meanings" across several critical visual and discursive fields: the use of fMRI scans in neuroscientific labs studying cognition; the creation of targeted media in the educational world to represent the needs of non-normative learners; the emergence of independent film and activist documentary projects that generate models for a new social landscape on and off-screen via advocacy campaigns for inclusion; and D.I.Y./social media that use irreverent humor and parody to upend social hierarchies and suggest alternative regimes of value. Children and young adults labeled with cognitive diagnoses are becoming increasingly visible through proliferation and circulation of media representations - from laboratories to the internet - that embrace a cultural model valorizing "all kinds of minds." Yet, this process is inherently ambiguous, creating "looking relations" that reflect the doubled trajectories of modernity as the expansion of democratizing visual representations of neurodiversity are entangled with forms that inevitably categorize, stratify and regulate cognitive difference.  

Faye Ginsburg is  Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University, where she is also David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology, and Co-Director of the NYU Council for the Study of Disability. Recipient of numerous honors/awards, including MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships, she is author/editor of four books, including the multiple award-winning Contested Lives: The Abortion Debate in an American Community, and (as co-editor), Media Worlds: Anthropology on New Terrain. She is completing a book entitled Mediating Culture: Indigenous Identity in a Digital Age, and is currently engaged in research on cultural innovation and learning disabilities.
For more information about this event or the series generally, contact Derek Murray or Irene Gustafson