What are the shifting material and immaterial conditions that determine whether persons are perceived to be able or competent, or alternatively, disabled or incompetent? Designed and natural environments and cultural and aesthetic forms have profound effects on our perceptions and experiences of ability. Contexts for, and consequences of, judgments about ability may be social, cultural, economic, educational, historical, and/or political. Alert to President Joseph Aoun’s call, in Robot Proof, to think about how human productivity and flourishing are defined in a technologically networked era, the Humanities Center aims to create an interdisciplinary group of scholars whose projects consider how the category of “ability” (as well as its cognates, such as competence, aptitude, and health; its antonyms, such as disability, incompetence, and sickness; and the terms with which it often travels, such as commitment, will, and effort) shapes identities, cultures, representations, and lived experience.
This upcoming talk features WGSS Executive Committee Member, Laura Frader, Professor in the Department of History. Find out more about the event here!