Reinventing the Atypical Body through Art, Literature and Technology

By:
Dr. Stephen Gilson,
Dr. Elizabeth DePoy
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Over the course of history, the human body has been both object and subject of diversity, legitimacy, worth and response. In early western civilizations, bodies that exceeded the limits of what was socially and culturally acceptable were pronounced as non-human and left to die. While this response may seem extreme, the variability of bodies, what meanings are attributed to diverse appearances, and legitimate responses to human variation remain embedded within the fabric of our cultures. The role of the body in determining legitimate worth and membership in diverse human categories such as disability, ethnicity, race, gender, social group and so forth has been central to human experience and a major area for human inquiry. Perspectives about what constitutes a body, what is an atypical body, and what meanings are ascribed to the diversity of human bodies have shifted and changed, as reciprocally depicted in and shaped by the arts, literature, and more contemporarily technology. In this presentation we examine artistic and literary renderings of bodies, from ancient Greece through contemporary DNA portraiture and description. We then analyze the critical role that technology now occupies in influencing our notions of the nature and meaning of actual and virtual bodies and in expanding the boundaries of bodies beyond the organic.


Keywords: Diversity, Embodiment, Arts, Literature, Technology
Stream: Cyberspace, Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Reinventing the Atypical Body through Art, Literature and Technology


Dr. Stephen Gilson

Professor, Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies Social Work, University of Maine
USA

After Dr Gilson completed his Ph.D. in medical sciences, he was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Drug Abuse in Baltimore Maryland, where he studied the neurophysiology of substance use and abuse. He now teaches in disability studies and social work at the University of Maine. His research interests and publications have focused disability identity, experiences of domestic violence and women with disabilities, disability theory, disability as diversity, universal access, social justice, and health and disability policy and advocacy. Dr Gilson has authored and/or co-authored 5 books, has contributed many chapters to edited collections, and has over 40 articles published in peer reviewed journals. He is currently pursuing a collaborative research agenda to develop and test software that will provide universal access to web and electronic information. Dr Gilson presents his work locally, regionally, nationally and internationally and has collaborative relationships with international scholars. In the service arena, Dr Gilson is extremely active on university, local, national and international committees, organizations, and concerns. His commitment to universal ideology as a means to promote social justice and equal opportunity guides his service work.

Dr. Elizabeth DePoy

Professor, Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies Social Work, University of Maine
USA

Dr DePoy is jointly appointed as professor in the School of Social Work and Coordinator for Interdisciplinary Disability Education at the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies. She is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar in research and evaluation methods, theory development focusing on disability as human diversity, and received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2003. Dr DePoy has authored and/or co-authored seven books, has contributed chapters to numerous edited collections, and has published over 50 peer reviewed articles. She teaches courses in social work research, evaluation, grant writing and disability studies. Her research interests and journal publications embrace health, universal access, disability as human diversity, research methodology, and evaluation. Dr DePoy's recent publications include co-authored books on evaluation, disability, and most recently the, third edition of her book, Introduction to Research. Over the past several years, Dr DePoy has raised over two million dollars in federally funded research dollars and is currently working collaboratively on a research agenda to development and test an intelligent web interface to provide universal access to web-based and electronic information. She is a member of more than a dozen professional associations, societies and task forces at state, national, and international levels and presents her work throughout the world. edepoy@maine.edu

Ref: H05P0136