This Disabled Life: Academic Conferencing in COVID times by Sam Winn

In recent years, I’ve spoken (or tweeted) in passing about some of the ways I’ve been disabled by traditional academic conference models. I am intentionally using the verb tense “disabled.” Where the medical model of disability argues that I am rendered incapable by my own broken and deficient body, the social model of disability emphasizes that we are disabled by the hostility and inflexibility of our environment. The social model reminds me that pain and discomfort is not the inevitable price of my conference participation, but a predictable outcome of the facilities, schedule, and amenities chosen by the planning committee. Similarly, my exclusion is perpetuated and sustained by the unspoken demands of academic professionalism.  

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