Luther hosts ‘Building a World that includes Disability”

Luther College will host "Building a World that Includes Disability," a lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Rosemarie Garland-Thompson. The event will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in the Jenson-Noble Recital Hall. 

Luther College will host “Building a World that Includes Disability,” a lecture by Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Rosemarie Garland-Thompson. The event will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 13, in the Jenson-Noble Recital Hall.

The lecture is open to the public with no charge for admission.

“Dr. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is one of the most important disability studies scholars in the world. What’s so exciting about having her at Luther is that her expertise has really developed from a place of liberal arts engagement: she’s a professor emerita of English and bioethics, but her work is informed by so many other fields, including identity studies, the health sciences, religion and philosophy,” said Marie Drews, president of the Luther College Phi Beta Kappa chapter.

During her presentation, Garland-Thompson will take a look back in time to demonstrate the resourcefulness, resilience and accomplishments of those with disabilities.

She poses the questions: What would our world be like if it fully welcomed and included people with disabilities? How could we build that world to share and live in together? and Why would that be a better world for us all?

In her 2016 editorial “Becoming Disabled” Garland-Thompson points out that disabled people can often be overlooked. The current infrastructure of society is not built for, and in most cases not remotely accessible to people with disabilities. This lecture will highlight the prevalence and presence of disability and will explore ways in which the world can shift in order to better accommodate every person.

“Disability is everywhere once you start noticing it. A simple awareness of who we are sharing our public spaces with can be revelatory. Wheelchair users or people with walkers, hearing aids, canes, service animals, prosthetic limbs or breathing devices may seem to appear out of nowhere, when they were in fact there all the time,” wrote Garland-Thompson.Garland-Thompson is a bioethicist, author, educator, humanities scholar and thought leader in disability justice and culture.

Her work develops the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities to bring forward issues regarding disability access, inclusion and identity to a broad range of institutions and communities. Her “Becoming Disabled” editorial was published in the New York Times and became the inaugural essay in their ongoing weekly series written by and about people with disabilities. Additionally, Garland-Thompson co-edited, “About Us: Essays from the New York Times about Disability by People with Disabilities,” and authored “Staring: How We Look,” and  “Embracing Our Humanity: A Bioethics of Disability and Health.”

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is one of the select higher education institutions in the United States with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, a scholastic organization that recognizes students who have achieved distinction in the liberal arts and sciences. With a mission of contributing to the academic life of institutions and facilitating the exchange of ideas between scholars and students, the Phi Beta Kappa Society has offered the Visiting Scholar Program since 1956. Hosted by Phi Beta Kappa chapters, participating scholars travel around the country to participate in discussions with students and to present lectures to the public.

For questions and accommodation requests contact Drews at Visit to explore other viewing options. 

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