January 8, 2012

Two Events Examine Disability and Human Rights

The Center for Persons with Disabilities at Utah State University continues its 40th Anniversary Celebration with a look at disability and human rights. Two events will examine the place of disability and advocacy in history.

The Exhibit, January 9-27

An exhibit on the history of disability and advocacy in the western world will be available in Special Collections at the Merrill-Cazier Library.
It includes panels that outline the history of disability and advocacy. This walk through 3000 years of the human condition is remarkably detailed. It’s sometimes shocking, sometimes poignant, and always informative.

For example, it reveals a dark side to the Greek tradition that revered perfection in the human body: Aristotle also recommended that there should be a law “to prevent the rearing of deformed children.” In his Politics, Aristotle wrote, “As to the exposure and rearing of children, let there be a law that no deformed child shall live.”

Here’s another excerpt, from two thousand years farther down the timeline: The medical model emerged around the 18th century, defining disability as any one of a series of biological deficiencies located in the body. … A gradual understanding of science led to new and often painful treatments for persons with disabilities. People became objects of study, were used in experiments, and assumed the role of “patients.”

The exhibit will be in the Special Collections area of the Merrill-Cazier Library. Three cases will also display some of the CPD’s current, disability-related work.

The movie, January 20

The film Lives Worth Living will be screened at the Merrill-Cazier library in room 154 at  1 p.m., and a panel discussion will follow. This event is co-sponsored by the Disability Law Center. The 55-minute movie was produced by the PBS series Independent Lens, and it documents the history of America’s disability rights movement.

Space is limited for the screening of the film and panel presentation, and will be available on a first come, first served basis. Faculty member interested in arranging a separate showing of the film and related guest lecture for an individual class should contact Jeff Sheen.

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