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Event Details: C&T Colloquium: Beyond Norms, Presuming Competence, with Douglas Biklen


Disability Studies rewrites how to think about disability/ability.  Much of late 19th century and early 20thcentury education manufactured the ideas of normal, normalizing, and even normalization. Disability Studies treats the notion of normal as a flawed idea, naming so-called normals “normates,” a not so subtle reference to the objectifying epithet “retardate.”  But what does this transformative language, and the theory and ideology behind it, mean for the day-to-day world of education, for teaching, learning, and curricula? This talk focuses on that question, exploring constructs to abandon and new ones to adopt, moving toward a democratic vision of education and disability/ability represented in the principle of presuming competence.

Douglas Biklen is the Dean of the School of Education and founder of the Inclusion Institutes at Syracuse University. He is author of Autism and the Myth of the Person Alone (2005); Communication Unbound (1993); Contested Words, Contested Science (1997); Schooling Without Labels (1992); and Achieving the Complete School (1985), as well as more than 100 research articles in addition to other books. His articles have appeared in such journals as the American Education Research Journal; Teachers College Record; Mental Retardation; the International Journal of Inclusive Education; Harvard Educational Review; Journal of Social Issues; Disability and Society; and Topics in Language Disorders. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the International Journal of Inclusive Education. He has lectured worldwide, in Japan, Australia, Germany, Kuwait, England, Finland, Italy, Costa Rica, China, Oman and many other countries.

Biklen was the co-producer of the Academy Award nominated documentary, Autism is a World (2004), and served as an advisor on the HBO films Educating Peter and Graduating Peter. He was the Executive Producer of Regular Lives, and the Producer/Director with Zach Rozetti of My Classic Life as an Artist: A Portrait of Larry Bissonnette. He is producer, with Gerardine Wurzburg, of the film Wretches and Jabberers (2010).

News accounts of his work have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post Magazine, People magazine, El Pais, and on the CBS Evening News, NOW, Frontline, CNN News, ABC's Primetime Live, and NPR's Talk of the Nation.

He has won numerous awards including most recently the UNESCO/Emir Jaber al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah Prize to promote Quality Education for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities.

Persons interested in attending may rsvp by Thursday, February 14th.

The next C&T Colloquium will be held on Tuesday, March 26th, from 7-9pm.


Where: 305 Russell


Initiated in the Fall 2012, the Curriculum and Teaching Colloquium Series serves as a privileged space for students to gain a broader awareness of curricular discussions with international and national scholars.

Individuals with disabilities are invited to request reasonable accommodations including, but not limited to sign language interpretation, Braille or large print materials, and a campus map of accessible features. Address these requests to the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities at (212) 678-3689,, or Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services at (212) 678-3853 V/TTY.


Type: Lectures & Talks

Location: 305 Russell

Date & Time: 2/19/2013, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM


Contact: Jennifer Govan


Contact Phone: 678-3022

Contact's Affiliation: Gottesman Libraries


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