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Colloquium- Prof. Elizabeth Barnes (University of Virginia)

Thursday, October 15, 2020, 03:00pm - 05:00pm

Contact Ezra Rubenstein: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Disability and Health:

The ‘It’s Complicated’ Relationship 


Prof. Elizabeth Barnes (Univ. of Virginia)


Disability rights communities often object to the ‘over medicalization’ of disability. Standard views of disability construe it in biomedical terms, according to which having a disability is simply a way of having reduced health, and disabled people are strictly less healthy than non-disabled people. This medicalized understanding is rightly objected to, as it’s far too simple. But at the same time, there’s an undeniably close connection between disability and reduction in health. And this close connections presents a challenge to disability-positive views (views which say that disability does not make a person inherently worse off, or that disability is by itself not something that is intrinsically bad for people), because similar claims about loss of health are implausible. My talk focuses on this connection between disability and loss of health, exploring whether there are ways of treating disability as a mere-difference that don’t have unacceptable implications for how we view health.


Here are the links for Prof. Barnes upcoming Department Colloquium and her post-Colloquium Hangout:



Password: 086982

Post-Colloquium Hangout

Password: 022111

Location via zoom