Announcement: Kyoto Asian Studies Group Meeting on September 17, 2019 – “Inspiration Porn and Representations of Deaf People in Japan”

Announcement from H-Japan, September9, 2019:

The speaker for the September meeting of the Kyoto Asian Studies Group is Steven C. Fedorowicz, who will present “Inspiration Porn and Representations of Deaf People in Japan” (see abstract below).

The talk will be held on Tuesday, September 17th, 18:00-20:00 in Room 212 of the Fusokan on the Doshisha University Campus (see link below for access information).

Abstract

Inspiration Porn and Representations of Deaf People in Japan

This presentation examines so-called “inspiration porn” — the idealization of disabled people doing everyday tasks (e.g. riding a train, having a job) or for achievements having nothing to do with their particular disability (e.g. deaf athletes) — and its relationship to disability identities with a focus on deaf people in Japan. Cross-cultural examples, observations and perspectives will be discussed to set up an exploration of how disabled and deaf people are portrayed in various media. Japanese deaf people are often critical of the representations of deaf protagonists and characters in popular television dramas and movies. Such representations create strong but inaccurate images of deafness and sign language that ultimately serve to perpetuate deficit models of disability. On the other hand, representations of disabled/deaf people themselves challenge and add to a social welfare discourse leading to (re)evaluations of societal norms and attitudes towards disability with the ultimate goal of a barrier-free environment. This presentation will also discuss how the Law to Eliminate Discrimination against People with Disabilities (April 2016), Sagamihara Care Home Massacre (July 26, 2016) and upcoming Tokyo 2020 Paralympics have changed and influenced disability discourses and representations.

Steven C. Fedorowicz is an Associate Professor of Anthropology in the Asian Studies Program, Kansai Gaidai University.

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