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Book Talk: Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back, with Harilyn Rousso

Come hear Ms. Harilyn Rousso read from and discuss her new memoir, Don't Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back (Temple University Press, 2013). "Rousso, who has cerebral palsy, describes overcoming the prejudice against disability - not overcoming disability. She addresses the often absurd and ignorant attitudes of strangers, friends, and family. She also examines her own prejudice toward her disabled body, and portrays the healing effects of intimacy and creativity, as well as her involvement with the disability rights community. She intimately reveals herself with honesty and humour and measures her personal growth as she goes from ""passing" to embracing and claiming her disability as a source of pride, positive identity, and rebellion. A collage of images about her life, rather than a formal portrait, Don't Call Me Inspirational celebrates Rousso's wise, witty, productive, outrageous life, disability and all."

Harilyn Rousso is a writer, painter, educator, social worker, psychotherapist and activist who has worked in the disability rights field, with a particular emphasis on issues of women and girls with disabilities, for more than twenty-five years. She is the founder of the Networking Project for Disabled Women and Girls of the YWCA/NYC, a unique mentoring program that has been replicated widely, and the President of Disabilities Unlimited Consulting Services, which provides education and training on disability equity issues. She is also coeditor of Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity in Special Education and author of Disabled, Female and Proud!.

Comments from reviewers:

"I've known Harilyn Rousso as a powerful activist and gifted artist, but with this revelatory book, she becomes something even more rare: a storyteller who conveys her uniqueness, and so helps us to discover our own. This book is irresistible to read, honest, insightful and universal."
-- Gloria Steinem

"From early childhood, Rousso struggled to find her place in the world...When she writes of the psychotherapy institute where she was training asking her to leave...she, and her reader,recognize the prejudice she has faced. ...its painful honesty is affecting."
--Publishers' Weekly, December 24, 2012

"An inspirational affirmation of the unique worth of every individual."
--Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2012

"Rousso is an activist, artist, educator, social worker, psychotherapist, writer, painter and advocate who has worked in the disability rights field. The book follows her journey from 'passing' - pretending that she didn''t have cerebral palsy - to embracing her disability. In the late '70s, she began exploring her disability identity, and she writes with honesty and power."
--Jewish Woman, Winter 2012

This book talk is sponsored by the Office of Access and Services for Students with Disabilities and Gottesman Libraries.

Interested persons may rsvp by Monday, February 18th.

Where: 306 Russell

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  (Voice/tty), (646)755-3144 (VP)




  • Jennifer Govan
  • 212-678-3022
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