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Disability Research Forum session

Date: Thursday 28 September 2017

Time: 15:30 to 17:30
Location: Arundel Building, room 10111

Hannah Ebben will host two papers. Our first speaker will be Dr Erin Pritchard who is a member of staff at Liverpool Hope University. 

“He’s Adorable”: Representations of Dwarfs in Family Guy

This paper examines how dwarfs* are represented in the American animated sitcom Family Guy. Whilst the show has been criticised for its controversial humour, this paper argues that the show actually exposes negative social attitudes that dwarfs encounter from other members of the public, whilst refraining from encouraging stereotypes of dwarfs. This paper shows how Family Guy presents dwarfs as ordinary members of society, whilst still being humorous. In this paper it is suggested that Family Guy has the potential to challenge social attitudes towards dwarfs, and the way they are perceived in society, through directing the humour towards those who mock them as opposed to the dwarfs themselves.

Keywords: dwarfs, humour, Family Guy, social attitudes.

* Terms used to refer to people with dwarfism differ from person to person. The term dwarf was chosen as it describes a person who is of short stature (<125cm) and has a medical condition.

Our next speaker is Antonios Ktenidis who is a PhD student at the University of Sheffield. 

Height As “The Elephant In The Room”: (Un)Learning The ‘Growing’ Body

While the ‘ideal’ body and/or the ‘corporeal standard’ (Kumari-Campbell, 2008) has/have been discussed in relation to dis/ability (ism) (Goodley, 2017; Slater, 2015), health (ism) (Shilling 1993; 2010), weight (ism) (Lebesco, 2004; Bordo, 2003), sex (uality) (ism) and race (ism) (Rice et. al., 2016; Slater, 2015) and beauty (ism) (Garland-Thomson, 2009), an unacknowledged feature of it/them is height (ism) (Feldman, 1975). Usually implied in terms such as body size and shape and .utilized in various measurements, such as the Body Mass Index (BMI) (Fletcher, 2014), height is still treated as ‘the elephant in the room’ -there, but not there.

With this presentation, I aim to explore the identification of height with ‘growth’, as materialized in arborescent structures of knowledge(s) (Deleuze&Guattari, 1987), such as the World Health Organizations’s normative growth charts (de Onis et al., 2012), and performed through constant height measurements from infancy to adulthood (National Health System Digital, 2016). I further consider the biopolitical technologies of surveillance (Foucault, 1984) e.g. the Red Book, which serve to secure the normative ways of ‘growing up’ and (re)produce ‘hierarchies of shortness’. Finally, I argue that such technologies act as affectivebiopedagogies (Wright, 2009; Harwood, 2009), teaching one how to live and feel their own body as well as how to perceive other bodies (Rice et al., 2016; Ahmed, 2004; Shilling, 1991).

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