Eastern Washington University’s Disability Studies program is hosting a two-day symposium to inform participants about disability-studies principles and to provide students, faculty, staff and the Spokane community with a better understanding of disability-rights practices.

Scheduled for May 17-18 at the EWU Spokane Campus, the 2019 Pacific & Western Disability Studies Symposium will present work that addresses and informs individuals on a topic that, at times, goes undiscussed. 

Different Voices

“EWU is the best in encouraging diversity,” said Elles Starke, an EWU graduate in Addiction Studies and Disability Studies who is helping to organize the event. “As a university, we are in a great position to promote inclusion within the community.”

Attending the symposium will be various guest speakers who will discuss a range of societal factors that create obstacles for diverse communities. Visiting from the University of Texas at Austin, Associate Professor Alison Kafer will talk about the intersection of feminism, queerness and disability. Kafer holds the Embrey Professorship in Women’s and Gender Studies at UT and is the author of Feminist, Queer, Crip. Her work has appeared in multiple anthologies.

Speaking about social oppression and racial, socioeconomic and physiological diversity will be Nirmala Erevelles, professor of social and cultural studies at the University of Alabama. Also in attendance will be Dave Reynolds, accessibility ambassador with Access 4 All, an organization that supports inclusion and encourages disability-friendly services and events throughout the Spokane community.  

“These symposiums give an opportunity to open people’s minds,” said Starke. “When we understand what people need, we are better able to work together to solve the issues that people with disabilities face.”

EWU is currently accepting proposals from those interested in sharing their work on Disability Studies with the community.

To submit work, register for a spot, or learn more about the event, visit the 2019 Pacific & Western Disability Studies Symposium website.