Can we talk? The question (a favorite prompt of the late comedian Joan Rivers) evokes a feeling of being intimately and sometimes uncomfortably open, frank, and honest, both with others and ourselves. This event, a conversation between Prof. Elizabeth Ellcessor (Indiana University) and Prof. Meryl Alper (Northeastern University, Berkman Klein Center), points the question at the topic of disability, technology, and inclusion in public and private, and in digital and digitally-mediated spaces. Ryan Budish (Berkman Klein Center) and Dylan Mulvin (Microsoft Research) will serve as discussants.
Can we talk?, with respect to different degrees of potential access (in its social, cultural, and political forms) that new media constrains and affords for individuals with disabilities. Can we talk?, with respect to who does and does not take part in the ongoing research, development, and critique of accessible communication technologies. Can we talk?, with respect to whether or not talking, or its corollary "voice," is an adequate metaphor for conversation, participation, and agency?
Alper and Ellcessor and draw upon their recent respective books, Giving Voice: Mobile Communication, Disability, and Inequality (MIT Press, 2017) and Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation (NYU Press, 2016).
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