Two-Day Workshop on Disability and Cross-Sensory Translation:
Susan Schweik Lecture: "Twice-Described Description: Notes Toward an Ekphrastic Culture"
This workshop will explore relations between literary ekphrasis (traditionally understood as the textual description of a visual work of art) and the kinds of description that disability is thought to occasion. To think of ekphrasis as visual description is to trouble the difference between art and assistance. To think of visual description as ekphrasis is to encourage a visual description that is aware of its ethical responsibilities and its imaginative and persuasive force. The workshop
will be both critical and creative: we will look at some classic and contemporary examples of poetic ekphrasis through a disability studies lens, and we will try our own hands at a critical ekphrastic practice.
Susan Schweik is a professor of English and disability studies and associate dean of arts and humanities at U.C. Berkeley. Her book The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public came out from NYU press in 2009. She is currently at work on projects on eugenics and on disability, representation, and Agent Orange.