Go Figure! Public Pedagogies, Invisible Impairments and the Performative Paradoxes of Visibility as Veracity

Social Justice @ UBC Noted Scholars Lecture Series
The Intimate Public Sphere: Thinking Through the Skin


Dr. Leslie Roman

Professor, Educational Studies, Faculty of Education
University of British Columbia


In this talk Dr. Leslie Roman asks, how do public pedagogical texts mobilize particular meanings about whose bodies/minds matter or figure? How do they articulate particular affective investments, desires, and values related to our everyday understanding of invisible and visible impairments, and the ways in which discourses of ‘normalcy’ are taught? Dr. Roman examines three examples of public pedagogy or media campaigns to educate the public about particular invisible impairments experienced predominantly by women. She theorizes how women with invisible impairments are seen to lack veracity in Western visual cultures that both equate and privilege the visible with truthfulness and authenticity. Dr. Roman considers, after Agamben, the ‘zones of exception’ created by the in/visible hierarchy for disability rights claims and human rights struggles for women with invisible impairments.

Dr. Leslie G. Roman is Professor of Educational Studies, GRSJ Affiliate, former Killam Fellow at the University of British Columbia and a painter in her spare time.  As a sociologist of education, she publishes widely in and bridges disability studies, cultural studies, and postcolonial feminism. She co-created with Geoff McMurchy the groundbreaking disability arts, culture and scholarship series, The Unruly Salon  and co-produced the film, The Making of the Perfect Storm, an excerpt of which YouTube features. She recently completed a SSHRC-funded project, exploring the interconnections among eugenics, asylum-making, residential schools for people with disabilities and medicalized colonialism in the Woodlands School in B.C.  Her work appears in Educational Theory, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, The International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, The International Journal of Inclusive Education, among others. She co-edited Dangerous Territories: Struggles for Difference and Equality (Routledge),Views Beyond the ‘Border Country’: Raymond Williams and Cultural Politics (Routledge) and the award-winning, Becoming Feminine: The Politics of Popular Culture (The Flamer Press/Taylor & Francis). Her book, Contested Knowledge will appear shortly (Rowman & Littlefield).


Date:           Wednesday, February 11, 12-1pm*

Location:   2080 West Mall, Jack Bell Bldg. Room 028, University of British Columbia

Directions to GRSJ on UBC Campus: http://bit.ly/R5WyjE

*Lunch included with RSVP 

RSVP here