Sept. 1, 2009
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
Disability advocate Simi Linton lectures at SRU
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Simi Linton, an award-winning author and one of America's foremost experts on disability and the arts, will lecture at 1 p.m. Oct. 13 at Slippery Rock University's University Union. Linton is an advocate for increasing disability studies in curriculum and improving the way disability is represented and depicted in the arts.
Linton will also offer a workshop with SRU faculty members from 2-4 p.m. Oct. 13 and a campuswide presentation from 4-5:30 p.m. Oct. 14 in SRU's McKay Education Building. A reception will be staged at 6 p.m. Oct. 14 in SRU's Russell Wright Alumni House and Conference Center. All events are free.
"She is one of the most important figures in disability studies and women's studies - a true inspiration," said Susan Parsons, a faculty member in academic support services and director of SRU's Student Support Services Program. "We want people to have a greater awareness of the experiences of those with a disability, to see their struggles, but also to see that they are whole people."
Linton works with a diverse range of organizations, including theatre, film and television companies and non-profit arts organizations to advocate for the disabled. A Switzer Distinguished Fellow, she is the author of "My Body Politic" and "Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity," as well as numerous articles on disability studies. She is co-director of the University Seminar in Disability Studies at Columbia University.
While hitchhiking from Boston to Washington, D.C., in 1971 to protest the war in Vietnam, Linton was injured in a car accident that paralyzed her legs and took the lives of her young husband and her best friend.
Linton's 2006 memoir "My Body Politic" opens with her struggle to resume a life in the world after the accident. She then takes readers on the road she traveled to California, Paris and Havana. The book received critical acclaim and was later adapted for the theatre and as a television documentary. Kirkus Reviews, the influential book industry newsletter, described her book as a "firecracker of a narrative and wholly enjoyable."
Her first book "Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity" is widely used at universities, including SRU.
"We read her book in our disabilities studies teaching circle that included both students and faculty," Parsons said. "We established our teaching circle to educate ourselves about disability studies and the many issues facing people with disabilities. Our long-term goal is to see a disability studies minor at SRU."
Linton received her doctorate in counseling psychology from New York University, where she taught until 1998, when she left to found Disability/Arts, a consulting firm to arts organizations. Linton conducts seminars nationwide on diverse topics such as disability and the conventions of theatre, disability and gender and disability and the Holocaust. She has consulted on projects for the Smithsonian Institution and the National Endowment for the Arts.
SRU is bringing Linton to campus, coordinated by Parsons and Cindy LaCom, professor of English and director of the Women Studies Program.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.