Correspondence From a Cyborg about the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities Conference

BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY received the correspondence below over the weekend. The ongoing inaccessibility of the ASBH conferences reproduces the exclusion of disabled philosophers from the profession, the marginalization of critical philosophical work on disability, and the eugenic impetus of bioethics more generally.


Hi Shelley:

Please consider this for publication on BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. This is something that happened at the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities Conference this past weekend.

In advance of what happened, I had a phone conversation with ASBH. After the call, I documented it in this video & made it public through social media:

When the conference did not provide access, I pulled out of the conference. I was supposed to be on a panel called “Cyborg Bioethics.”

Here is the statement I released:

“Do we have an agent in our midst? Or maybe there is something we have been too polite to talk about?” – Audre Lorde, The Edge of Each Other’s Battles, a film by Jennifer Abod

Dr. Jillian Weise (pronounced VICE-uh) admires the work of her co-panelists very much. She appreciates that the American Society for Bioethics & Humanities Conference accommodated her disability, as per the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, by providing registration to her Assistant. However, the ASBH Conference declined to make this panel, Cyborg Bioethics, accessible to cyborgs, disabled and Deaf people in the general public during a pandemic. Therefore Dr. Weise has a fundamental disagreement with ASBH about what constitutes not just cyborg bioethics, but bioethics as a field.

Who speaks for those of us disabled and deaf people who are not present at this conference? How do we know what disabled and deaf people practice, in regards to bioethics, when the cost of this conference prohibits our attendance? And the medical model of this conference disincentivizes our participation? How wealthy does one need to be in order to attend ASBH and join conversations about disability & COVID, disability & justice, disability & medical ethics, disability & art?

Dr. Weise declines to present at ASBH and will not present again at this conference until cyborg, disabled and deaf people in the general public have access to it.

Thank you for considering this.

Jillian Weise

1 Response

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