Featuring 2 grad student recipients of Harlan Hahn DS grants: Will McKeithen (GEOG) & Kai Kohlsdorf (GWSS)

Join us for these research presentations!

Thurs, May 18th, 4:00-5:00pm

MGH 024 (UW Seattle D Center)

4:00pm Will McKeithen, "Captive Bodies: How to Think About Ecology, Health, and Disability in a Women’s Prison?"

4:30pm Kai Kohlsdorf, "Communicating Disability: Disciplinary Absences"

Accessibility info:

We have requested CART & ASL. The D Center is a scent-free space, please do not wear any strong fragrances. For other questions, please contact Joanne jwoiak@uw.edu

Abstracts & Bios:

Will McKeithen is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography. He is also excited to be teaching in the Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy at UW Bothell for 2017-2018. Past research projects have examined alternative health movements for therapeutic parasitism and the sexual and species politics of ‘crazy cat ladies,’ about which he recently published an article in Gender, Place, and Culture available at http://willmckeithen.wixsite.com/scholar.  

"Captive Bodies: How to Think About Ecology, Health, and Disability in a Women’s Prison?" The ecological intimacies of bodily human life become all the more severe under the pressures of prison. Yet, prisons rarely come up in popular discussions of environmental activism, justice, or health. The same exercises of control, neglect, and rationality that make up the modern prison not only make invisible its human internees but also obscure its ecological complexities. Yet, prisons are deeply more-than-human places, comprised of food service, heating and cooling, water supply, hazardous waste disposal, asbestos management, pesticide use, and communicable and chronic health issues. Moreover, prisons are socially and epistemologically unequal spaces. Different professional and lay forms of knowledge proliferate amongst prison staff and inmates. And these different forms of knowledge – about one’s body, one’s environment, one’s health – are themselves unevenly created, circulated, and controlled. In this talk, I ask what these realities mean for thinking about ecology, health, disability, and debility within carceral spaces, specifically a single United States women’s state prison. I examine the history of disability in the American prison system, whose bodily experiences are deemed il/legitimate and un/deserving and why. I outline the ways we might think about prisons as environments with their own risks and responsibilities. Finally, I consider the field of environmental health and ask how it might reframe the ways that health and dis/ability are imagined and enacted in prison. This talk draws on my preliminary research into the ecological and epistemological politics of women’s incarceration in the United States, on which I hope to present a fuller report of findings in Fall 2017. While my research focuses on this particular space, however, I hope we can have a larger conversation about when and where bodily experiences are made in/visible and why. 

Kai Kohlsdorf is a PhD candidate in the Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies Department. He has taught several DS classes at UW as well as having wide teaching experience in gender and sexuality studies. He has previously presented research from his dissertation that encompasses trans studies, crip theory, and disability studies, examining trans and disabled erotic performance. 

 "Communicating Disability: Disciplinary Absences." Within the field of Communication Studies there is a lack of not only disability access considered in both classrooms and research, but a lack of inclusion of disability studies and disability justice within the curriculum. Following a variety of analysis of texts and research, as well as cultural studies "diversity" studies classroom syllabi, I developed a set of suggestions and frameworks for engagement to move Communication Studies into conversation with these areas. This talk will encompass brief themes and suggestions for movement and allow space to audience participants for further experiences and suggestions I will then incorporate into my work.