"Becoming Disabled" Book Launch - Oklahoma Center for the Humanities
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“Becoming Disabled” Book Launch

UPDATE: This event has been postponed. Please check back for rescheduling information.

Prof. Jan Wilson, author of Becoming Disabled, will be in conversation with Sara Beam.

Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities published a video essay by TU Prof. Sara Beam. In it, Beam explores everyday spaces from the perspective of disability and accessibility. The essay demonstrates that a small shift in perspective can change entirely how we understand any given space. In a similar vein, TU Prof. Jan Doolittle Wilson’s new book asks the audience to perform a shift in perspective, one that explores disability as a concept and a state of mind.

In Becoming Disabled: Forging a Disability View of the World, Jan Doolittle Wilson describes how becoming disabled is to forge a new consciousness, one that challenges ableist discourses and systems. The work intends to create alternative meanings that understand disability as a valuable human variation. Using an autoethnographic approach (i.e. analyzing lived experience), as well as multiple first-person accounts from disabled writers, artists, and scholars, Wilson critiques the disabling impact of language, media, medical practices, educational systems, neoliberalism, mothering ideals, and other systemic barriers. From her own disability view of the world, she demonstrates the value of human interdependency and the necessity of social supports for individual flourishing and happiness. And she offers a powerful vision of a society in which all forms of human diversity are included and celebrated and one in which we are better able to care for ourselves and each other.

Some of the OCH’s central questions regarding freedom– “What does freedom mean? How can we account for both the needs of the community and individual freedoms?”– take on renewed urgency when considered from the perspective of disability. At once a diagnosis of a world that fails to accommodate fully disabilities and a look forward to a better, more inclusive world, Wilson’s book offers us new insights and new perspectives. Join us in celebrating Wilson’s most recent publication.

Dr. Jan Wilson is a professor of history at the University of Tulsa. Her research and teaching interests focus on the history and study of gender, disability, feminism, and sexuality. She recently finished the manuscript for her second book titled The Zoey Prism, which draws on historical analysis, theory, and her personal experiences to offer new perspectives on concepts such as mothering, identity, intersectionality, the gaze, and the meaning of disability. Dr. Wilson lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with her husband, Nathan, her children, Zoey and Connor, and dogs Linda and Marlin.