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Monday, February 25, 2008

RDS Forums

Note from Alex Lubet on RDS Forums

Greetings from Minnesota! As one of the more senior members of the RDS editorial team, I'm excited to be making my blog debut.

2008 begins with a two-issue forum entitled To Dance Beneath the Diamond Sky with One Hand… devoted to disability and music. Some of the highlights are a study of a remarkable inclusive music program in Scotland by Peggy Duesenberry and Raymond MacDonald, a discussion of professional musicians dealing with breast cancer and recovery by Sarah Schmalenberger, Isaac Stein's touching, personal essay on Neil Young, a person with disabilities, father of sons with disabilities, and prominent disability activist, and Ray Pence's remarkable chronicle of soul-funk legend Curtis Mayfield's years as an artist with quadriplegia. For this forum, I was joined as co-editor by my dear friend Na'ama Sheffi, Chair of the School of Communication, Sapir Academic College, Israel.

Prior to assuming my current position as Associate Editor for Forums, where I recruit and assist guest editors to work on theme issues of RDS, I served as guest co-editor (with my U of M colleague Christopher Johnstone) of the forum Parting the Waters: Disability and Deliverance in the Wake of Disaster. Inspired by Hurricane Katrina and the great Asian/African tsunami, contributions also included essays on such topics as the Montreal ice storm, the Israel-Palestine conflict, 9/11, and the AIDS in Africa. Contributors' fields included English literature, landscape architecture, social work, international education, and music. This was a particularly timely, provocative, and popular forum.
We've got several more forums in press or in progress that we think will be similarly interesting.

I'd just as soon not spoil the surprise of what's to come in the way of RDS forums, except to say that the sky's the limit. Please consider submitting a proposal for a cfp yourself. All topics will be considered, with preference given to editorial teams with at least one partner from beyond the US. We are, after all, An International Journal.

Finally, I want to share a news flash not (yet!) related to RDS. One of my all-time favorite music students at the U of M, Monthian Buntan, recently head of his native Thailand's Association of the Blind, has just been elected a Senator in that country. How cool is that?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

About the RDS Blogspot

The Review of Disability Studies an International Journal: Blogspot

Welcome to our new RDS Blogspot! It's an opportunity to talk about the latest international Disability Studies topics and get feedback from our readers about articles and hot topics in DS.

The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) was founded in 2003 by the late David Pfeiffer and the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawaii. Our purpose was to address the need for an internationally-focused academic journal in the field of Disability Studies. The journal contains research articles, essays, and bibliographies relating to the culture of disability and people with disabilities. It also publishes forums on disability topics brought together by forum editors of international stature. Poetry, short stories, creative essays, photographs, and art work related to disability are also welcome. The journal is published four times a year, and each issue runs approximately 50 pages.

We would like to invite you and people from around the world to participate in our new BLOG, subscribe to the journal, advertise with us, serve as anonymous peer reviewers, and contribute manuscripts. The Journal is open to all perspectives, approaches, views, and paradigms relevant to the study and experience of disability.

Special Stuff

My co-editor, Steve Brown, gets pretty riled up when anyone uses the word "special." It doesn't matter that the word "special" has been around far longer than "special education" or the media's love of "special features" about "special people." Don't you dare propose a "special forum" or talk about how you have "special feelings" or order the "weekly special." Unfortunately, for people with disabilities, special things have lost their meaning because of over-use by the special people specialists. A couple of years ago we published a, yes, special forum on, yes, Special Education Meets Disability Studies. To view the issue click here . Check out the two articles by Johnson and Kellner in another issue as well. These are preliminary explorations of how disability studies might inform special education research and practice. Since the issue was published, I 've done a lot more scholarly reading in this area and am convinced that disability studies scholars have much to contribute to improving educational practices for kids with disabilities. What we need now is to conduct more empirical research about how to turn disability studies theory into classroom practice.