Jan 20 2013


Disability at the Law and Society Association Conference - May 30-June 2 2013

2013 Annual Law and Society Assocation Conference

Disability Legal Studies Panels (CRN#40)


List of panels:


      I.         Roundtable: Disability Legal Studies

     II.         Access to Justice and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities

   III.         Law, Society, and Technologies: A Disability Perspective (Co-sponsored with CRN Law and Health)

   IV.         Back to the Future: disability rights and civil rights

    V.         Global and Local Responses to Disability Discrimination: Disability Law and Activism in Canada, Sweden, France, and the United States (Co-sponsored with CRN Law and Social Movements)

   VI.         Locating Mental and Physical Disability Within Dynamics of Racial Subordination (Co-sponsored with CRN Law and Health)

 VII.         Business Meeting – CRN40 Disability Legal Studies


  1. I.               Roundtable: Disability Legal Studies (#190111)


Panel description:

This roundtable highlights a variety of approaches to “Disability Legal Studies” as it emerges as a new collaborative research network (CRN) within the LSA community. Disability legal studies locates itself at the intersection of sociolegal studies and disability studies, which examines disability as a social and cultural phenomenon, identity, and metaphor. This perspective has opened disability as an important new site of analysis for sociolegal scholars, who have engaged in interdisciplinary and cross-national scholarship on the role of law in the social construction of disability. Scholars in this roundtable will discuss the history and application of this new site of analysis in their research.



Arlene Kanter, Syracuse University College of Law



Adrienne Ash, Adrienne Asch, Center for Ethics at Yeshiva University

Samuel Bagenstos, University of Michigan Law School

Katharina Heyer, Department of Political Science, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Sagit Mor, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa

Mark Weber, DePaul University College of Law


  1. II.              Access to Justice and the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (#190040)


Panel description:

People with disabilities are more likely to be engaged with the justice system than the general population, (whether as victims, perpetrators, defendants, witnesses or subjects of proceedings), and yet they are also more often deprived of access to justice, even in jurisdictions governed by the rule of law.  “Access to justice” is central to the notion of citizenship and personhood.  Because of the centrality of access to justice to other fundamental rights, such as the right to equality, the right to dignity and the right to inclusion and participation, a specific right to access to justice (Art 13) was included in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) when it was adopted in 2006. The CRPD also recognizes that to ensure effective access to justice for all people with disabilities, they must also be guaranteed the right to equality before the law and legal capacity (Art. 12); to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment (Art. 15); and more generally to reasonable accommodations (Art. 14). Together, these articles ensure equal access to justice for people with all types of disabilities.  This panel/roundtable will focus on selected aspects of the right of access to justice in the CRPD, including access to the civil and criminal justice systems, legal capacity and guardianship laws, and the unique challenges facing women seeking to access justice.


Chair and Discussant:
Lee Ann Basser, La Trobe University Law School




Taking Access to Justice Personally: Ensuring the Right of People with Disabilities to Make Decisions under the CRPD
Arlene Kanter, Syracuse University College of Law


Seen and Heard – A Question of Justice for People with Disabilities
Lee Ann Basser, La Trobe University Law School, Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies, York University, Visiting Scholar Buchman Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University


Disability Hate Crime, Access to Justice and the Right to Live in the Community: Traumas, Trials and Transformations?
Anna Lawson, School of Law, University of Leeds, Deputy Director, Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds, Mental Disability Advocacy Centre, Budapest (trustee)


Women with Disabilities and the Justice System
Stephanie Ortoleva, Esq. President, Women Enabled, Inc.


Organizers: Lee Ann Basser, Arlene Kanter, Anna Lawson and Stephanie Ortoleva


  1. III.            Law, Society, and Technologies: A Disability Perspective (#190037)
    Co-sponsored with CRN Law and Health (#9)


Panel description:

Access to and participation in scientific and technological progress are vital for human development and for the advancement of human rights. Due to a long history of discrimination, however, persons with disabilities have been consistently denied the benefits of such developments. Subgroups of persons with disabilities, such as women and girls with disabilities and persons with disabilities in rural areas commonly experience double and triple levels of discrimination. This is all the more concerning given that eighty percent (80%) of persons with disabilities worldwide reside in developing countries where access to scientific and technological developments, including communication technology, may be altogether limited or lacking.

The adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006 is the first international effort to fully grapple with the historical exclusion of persons with disabilities and to address the inequality. The CRPD’s provisions remark a shift in the perception of persons with disabilities and lays down obligations on states to ensure that the CRPD’s goal is materialized. In Article 32, the CRPD also requires for the first time in a human rights treaty that states cooperate to ensure the accessibility, availability, knowledge and use of existing and new technologies. Subsequently, various international organizations have adopted resolutions to promote this issue.

The panel will consider the barriers to access to and participation in science and technologies experienced by persons with disabilities in a variety of contexts and suggest the strategies to ensure equal access to science and technology of persons with disabilities.


Chair and Discussant:

Sagit Mor, Faculty of Law, University of Haifa




International Rights to Information and Inclusive Web Access: Reflections on Social Media, Technology, and Human Rights Activists with Disabilities
Hope Lewis, Northeastern University


User-Centric Design of Nano Tattoos
Michael Bennett, Northeastern University School of Law


Experimentation with Human Subjects with Disabilities
Maya Sabatello, New York University


WIPO Treaty for Blind People

Brook K. Baker, Health GAP (Global Access Project), Northeastern U. School of Law


Organizers: Hope Lewis & Maya Sabatello

  1. IV.            Back to the Future: disability rights and civil rights (#190167)


Panel Description:

The theme of this panel about the civil rights route to free disabled people from discrimination is inspired by three historical figures who strategized for Brown v. Board(1954): early disability civil rights theorists Jacobus ten Broek and Howard Jay Graham and future Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.  Post-Americans-with-Disabilities-Act advocacy has been ambivalent about the value of the civil rights model, a matter with which panelists engage.   Papers are meant to motivate reassessment of the civil rights model and will include the following topics: how the Brown  approach to the 14th Amendment involved scholarship from a blind legal scholar and deaf historian; “equal protection” emerging from Cleburne (1985); disability rights as affirmative action; deaf liberty; and respect, legal personhood and the problem of substituted judgment.

Chair and Discussant:

Michael Stein, Executive Director, Harvard Law School Project on Disability and Professor of Law, College of William & Mary School of Law



Deaf Liberty: Language, Disability, and Deaf Culture
Teresa Burke, Philosophy, Gallaudet University

Respect, Legal Personhood and the Problem of Substituted Judgment
Adam Cureton, Department of Philosophy, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Achieving the Promise of Cleburne

Leslie Pickering Francis, College of Law & Department of Philosophy, University of Utah

Abolitionist Originalism? Jacobus tenBroek, Howard Jay Graham, and Activist Constitutional History
Felicia Kornbluth, Department of History, University of Vermont

Civil Rights and Group Needs: Curing Chronic Challenges to Affirmative Remedies for Disability Discrimination
Anita Silvers, Department of Philosophy, San Francisco State University

Organizers: Leslie Francis, Felicia Kornbluth, and Anita Silvers



  1. V.             Global and Local Responses to Disability Discrimination: Disability Law and Activism in Canada, Sweden, France, and the United States(#189926)

Co-sponsored with CRN Law and Social Movements (#21)


Panel Abstract: This panel features theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of disability law and activism. It examines the generation of disability law and rights consciousness in local and global contexts, comparing the responses to disability discrimination by activists, state actors, and international legal instruments. Papers explore principles for adjudicating disability rights claims in an international context, the meaning of “intent” in disability discrimination law, the legal mobilization against employment discrimination, personal narratives and identities in the formation of disability rights consciousness, and the diffusion of a disability rights model in France, Sweden, and Canada. This panel will address disability discrimination from both a social movement perspective and within a disability legal studies framework.


Chair and Discussant:

Katharina Heyer, University of Hawai’i



“Pragmatic Realism and the Conceptualization of International Disability Rights”

Anne Bloom, University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law


“Intent in Disability Discrimination Law”

Mark Weber. DePaul University College of Law


“Social Rights, Civil Rights: Addressing Disability Discrimination in the United States and in Sweden”

Aude Lejeune. Faculty Research Fellow at CNRS/CERAPS, France


“Advocacy and beyond: the disability rights movement in France”

Anne Revillard. Sciences Po, OSC-LIEPP


“Narratives of Employment Experiences of Disabled People in Canada”

Ravi Malhotra, Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa and Morgan Rowe, JD, Independent Scholar




  1. VI.            Locating Mental and Physical Disability Within Dynamics of Racial Subordination

Co-sponsored with CRN Law and Health (#9)


Panel Abstract: The proposed session engages the subject of race and disability from two angles: The first explores the use of disability stigma or ideologies in furthering racial agendas or politics, particularly those which associate subordinated racial groups with physical or mental defect. The second engages the specific and complex vulnerabilities of racial subjects who experience mental or physical illness.


Chair: Maneesha Deckha, University of Victoria.

Discussant: Dorothy E. Roberts, University of Pennsylvania




Mentally Fit for Citizenship?

Rabia Belt, University of Michigan


Mentally Ill Women of Color and Immigration Law

Alexandra Oprea, University of California, Los Angeles


Disabling Torts

Elizabeth Ribet, Seton Hall University


Prioritizing a Postcolonial Feminist Ethic in Regulating Transnational ARTs: The Case of Gestational Commercial Surrogacy

Maneesha Deckha, University of Victoria


Organizer: Elizabeth Ribet




  1. VII.          Business Meeting – CRN40 Disability Legal Studies (#192052)



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