Dialogues on Disability: Shelley Tremain Interviews Jane Dryden

Hello, I’m Shelley Tremain and I’d like to welcome you to the eighty-fourth installment of Dialogues on Disability, the series of interviews that I am conducting with disabled philosophers and post to BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY on the third Wednesday of each month. The series is designed to provide a public venue for discussion with disabled philosophers about a range of topics, including their philosophical work on disability; the place of philosophy of disability vis-à-vis the discipline and profession; their experiences of institutional discrimination and exclusion, as well as personal and structural gaslighting in philosophy in particular and in academia more generally; resistance to ableism, racism, sexism, and other apparatuses of power; accessibility; and anti-oppressive pedagogy.

The land on which I sit to conduct these interviews is the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee and Anishnaabeg, covered by the Upper Canada Treaties and directly adjacent to Haldimand Treaty Territory. As a settler, I offer these interviews with respect for and in solidarity with Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and other colonized settler states.

My guest today is Jane Dryden. Jane is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, which is in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaw people. Her research has two main branches: embodiment, disability, and freedom within German idealism; and the interconnection of vulnerability and autonomy, particularly focusing on the gut and gut microbiome. She also enjoys singing, acquiring obscure facts, and taking up various crafts and subsequently abandoning them. 

Welcome to Dialogues on Disability, Jane! You chose to attend your undergraduate alma mater for an unusual reason. Please describe your background, including your educational background, and how it led you to a career in philosophy.

Thanks for inviting me to do this interview, Shelley, and thanks for all the work you’ve done on this series so far. I’m really honoured to be included.

My parents split up when I was young and my mother didn’t attend university past her first year; so, I didn’t really know much about university. I was (and still am) very bookish, often more comfortable with books than people. In high school, I spent a lot of time reading philosophy books at the library, as well as the novels of Robertson Davies, many of which concern the lives of academics (The Rebel Angels is my favourite). I also read Sartre in drama class and in French class. I have a memory of one March break, when most of the kids in my grade were on a ski-trip, reading La Nausée alone in my room. The result of these habits is that I became very interested in philosophy and had an idealized notion of what it might mean to work as a professor at a university.

One of my other interests in high school was social justice. I was involved in forming a group called the Social Justice Youth Collective, along with some folks at my school and other schools in Ottawa. Among the activities of this group was contact with organizations like the Canadian Friends of Burma and the East Timor Alert Network. I learned a lot as part of that group; through it, I became aware of some of the depths of injustice around the world, as well as Canada’s complicity in them.

When it came time to apply to university, I applied to the Comparative Development program at Trent University and Philosophy at University of Toronto. I visited both schools. While I really liked the cozy feel of Trent, as well as its location on the Otonabee River, I fell in love with the architecture of the University of Toronto; in particular, University College’s asymmetrical tower and its gryphon staircase. These architectural features sparked all my romantic instincts. I chose Toronto–and philosophy–on that basis.

I initially planned to do a major in Philosophy and a minor in German (because I loved German classical music). I dropped the German minor in third year when the language classes suddenly became much more difficult; I got the sense, at the time, that they expected students to have done a semester or summer abroad at some point, in order to have had some sort of immersion experience. I worked full-time hours during the summers and part-time during the school year in order to pay for my tuition and living expenses; so, I didn’t have the financial flexibility to take time away from paid work. Still, I took enough German language and literature courses to be able to complement my developing interest in German philosophy.

I stumbled into continental philosophy largely by taking courses that sounded interesting and taking repeat courses from professors that I liked. Early loves: Lévinas and Kierkegaard. These courses mostly introduced me to the idea of Hegel as a grand villain of totality and sameness. In my third year, though, I took a course on Hegel’s Phenomenology which was taught by a professor I’d loved in first year, Graeme Nicholson, who sadly passed away last year. I realized that much of what I loved in other, later philosophers was already present in Hegel. I enjoyed wrestling with his work, trying to draw out what I thought was fruitful and true from what seemed obviously false—such as, for instance, the line from the Philosophy of Right about women being like plants. My final paper for that course was on how Hegel’s account of women would work with Aeschylus’s Oresteia. It ended up as my writing sample for graduate school.  

I also learned a lot from courses like “Feminist Legal Theory” with Jennifer Nedelsky, “Advanced Topics in Epistemology” with Ian Hacking (which was cross-listed between the undergraduate and graduate programs), and an independent study with Nicholson on the connection between the individual and property in Fichte, Hegel, and Max Stirner. At some point, a graduate student who marked one of my papers suggested in his comments that I consider graduate school. I was already interested in teaching, and teaching at the university level appealed to me since I wouldn’t have to deal with parents. I think that I was still pretty idealistic about university!

My guidance for applying to graduate school was mostly from other students, especially graduate students who were in the Hacking class with me. It was 2001, and a lot of the advice now available on the internet wasn’t there yet. I applied to universities that seemed to have strength in contemporary continental philosophy as well as the history of philosophy. I chose Fordham because it had the best mix of continental and history of philosophy and I would have the chance to teach my own courses as of my third year rather than merely be a TA. 

I had encountered the idea of “relational autonomy” in my undergraduate course with Jennifer Nedelsky, and the more I learned about Fichte and Hegel’s conceptions of freedom, the more I saw structural similarities between them. My dissertation connected feminist work on relational autonomy to this German idealist work.

[Description of image below: photo of Jane, a white woman with cat eye glasses and pink hair, who is standing in front of a very full bookcase. On top of some of the books is a small plush toy version of a gut.]

I had two enormous pieces of luck moving from the Ph.D. to my job at Mount Allison. The first was that I was on the job market the year before the 2008 financial crisis—almost everyone in my cohort landed something that year, whereas the following year almost no one did. The second was that my choice to write a dissertation that straddled two areas—feminist philosophy and German idealism—made me attractive to small departments that wanted someone who could cover a range of topics. Mount Allison’s ad asked for a specialization in Kant or Hegel and the flexibility to teach other areas, including feminist philosophy.

One thing that has also shaped my career and my choice to go into philosophy is that I’m an intellectual magpie. I get really excited by new ideas and areas of inquiry, tending to dive voraciously into them to pick up everything I can before I go on to pick up another shiny thing. (Since finding out that I have ADHD, I have been gratified in seeing how common this experience can be—magpies unite!). In addition to making me really good on trivia nights, this characteristic has been a real benefit in a small department in a small undergraduate university. I have been able to teach a wide range of courses, helping to give some variety to our students. It is perhaps less good for developing a consistent and focused research trajectory, but there’s no point trying to force myself into a kind of mold that doesn’t work for me. Having all these different shiny ideas in my intellectual repertoire, however, makes it natural for me to spend time trying to figure out how they can be connected to each other; and indeed, most of my writing has been connecting dots between things.

One of your early research interests, relational autonomy, led to your current specialization in philosophy of disability because you believed that disability theorists would have the most insightful views on the subject. Please elaborate on this research trajectory.

Yes! As I mentioned, in the Fall of my last year of undergrad (Fall 2001), I took an independent study on the interrelationship of the individual and property within German idealism. One of the texts I read was Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s 1796 Foundations of Natural Right. Fichte argues that our freedom involves interdependence: it means nothing for me to have a right to do something unless the infrastructure and circumstances around me allow me to exercise that right. My favourite Fichte line is this: “in a nation where everyone goes naked, the right to work as a tailor would be no right”. He also describes our body as our site of freedom in the world.

In an early lecture series (“Some Lectures Concerning the Scholar’s Vocation”), Fichte states that nature has differentiated human beings by giving them different strengths and weaknesses, which reason then uses as a way of binding humans even more tightly in community. These strengths and weaknesses offer opportunities to help and be helped, and thus are means by which we become improved as a species. I found the connection of freedom, interdependence, and community compelling. I have a pretty deep romantic/idealist streak in me, but also enough self-awareness to be self-critical about this streak, and so I got excited about this, but knew Fichte wasn’t the final answer: first, because no single philosopher is ever ‘the final answer’; and second, because Fichte also says some nonsense things about women in the Foundations of Natural Right, because of course he does.

The following semester (Winter 2002), I signed up to take a course on Philosophy of Math but realized after it started that it was over my head. So, I switched over to a course on Feminist Legal Theory with Jennifer Nedelsky. The class was a seminar, cross-listed between political science and law. It was taught in the one of the Faculty of Law buildings (Falconer Hall) and most of the students were law students. Unlike my philosophy classes, all the students in the class were women. We were introduced to the idea of relational autonomy and read her 1989 article “Reconceiving autonomy: Sources, thoughts and possibilities.” Our discussion of this article was very practically and legally oriented—how does this affect our understanding of what the law is trying to do? When I give brief overviews of relational autonomy in writing or in class, I still cite this Nedelsky article.

We also read another, less well-known Nedelsky article that made a deep impact on me: her 1995 article, “Meditations on Embodied Autonomy,” in which she reflects on ways in which our bodies and their capacities are not under our control, although we play a role in shaping them. In the article, she reflects on her own experience with chronic illness and the ways in which she could respond to the needs of her body but could not control it; extrapolating from this dynamic out to autonomy more broadly, she calls for “a stance of receptivity, acceptance, attentiveness, and creative responsiveness” (168). She describes the body as “a path into the puzzle of autonomy in connection” in which we are autonomous but also bound up with larger forces and then suggests a solution to the puzzle: “we are not subject to these forces, but part of an interplay with them in which we have a genuine, autonomous capacity to shape and create—a capacity which should not be mistaken for control” (167). Insistence on independence and control fosters fear of sickness, she argues, stating that “we must find ways of helping people accept—and see the joy and beauty in—our interdependence” (169). 

This attention to interdependence and the idea of an interplay between our own creative agency and what is beyond our control shaped my conception of autonomy going forward. That Nedelsky learned from her experience of being chronically ill was not lost on me, especially since (if I recall correctly) the reading was paired with an excerpt from Susan Wendell’s 1996 book The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability.

The ideas explored in that class complemented what I had been pulling from German idealism, particularly since, for both Fichte and Hegel, we become a self through our relations with other selves. In my dissertation, I tried to pull all of this together in a discussion of different approaches to relational autonomy. My understanding of autonomy focused on self-determination and our ability to pursue our own values, goals, and commitments, which I take to be a highly social and relational process: our values, goals, and commitments are in part shaped by our social and relational context.

It took me a couple of years into my job at Mount Allison to return to relational autonomy. I first played around with German romanticism and connections between its interest in organicism and its attraction to medievalism (hey, intellectual magpie!). I then tried writing about relational autonomy just on its own, within the context of contemporary feminist philosophy, but it didn’t go anywhere; it was too abstract, and I lost track of the stakes of the issue. Meanwhile, the work on German romanticism and organicism kept leading me back to metaphors of illness and disability in its conception of the “health” of the state. It kept nagging at me: why should illness and disability be moralized in this way?

There followed a few years of exploring how disability was functioning within the history of philosophy. During this time, I wrote the paper for “Improving Feminist Philosophy and Theory By Taking Account of Disability,” the special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly that you guest edited. I did not want to fall into the familiar philosophical pattern of using a naturalized and unexamined concept of disability as merely a handy counterexample; so, I took care to immerse myself in disability studies and philosophy of disability. I started sharing my work in disability studies contexts and with disability studies scholars, who were enormously kind and helpful to me in their feedback.

When I returned to thinking about relational autonomy more fully a few years later, it thus seemed obvious to me that I should put the perspectives, experience, and knowledge of disabled people front and center. The history of disability activism has much to teach about the connection of interdependence and self-determination, which I connect to relational autonomy. I started to frame my focus around what kinds of structures and supports enable autonomy. For me, autonomy is not synonymous with control or the achievement of a certain bar of rationality and internal order; rather, autonomy is an ongoing process of creative navigation of the world in which we can own our choices. Supporting someone’s autonomy may thus mean things like providing the means to communicate their preferences and desires, such as assistive technologies; it may mean ensuring that they have economic and material support that expands their choices; it may mean acting as a sounding board for thinking through something. 

Meanwhile, I became interested in the developing philosophical conversation about vulnerability. While I found the exhortation to accept one’s ontological or inherent vulnerability appealing, acquaintance with the concerns of disability activists and writers motivated me to ask who such exhortations addressed. As Carol Gill has pointed out, “Because people with disabilities have had to fight tenaciously to counter stereotypes of weakness and incompetence, discussions of our vulnerability feel risky from the outset” (Gill 2006, 183).

Autonomy and vulnerability work together. As I argued in a 2013 conference paper, a focus purely on vulnerability that loses sight of autonomy can risk becoming paternalistic. My concern with autonomy also connects with epistemological imperatives to trust disabled people about their own experiences and needs, recognizing the expertise and knowledge that comes from disabled people navigating the world; some disability scholars talk about “cripistemologies,” a term coined by Merri Lisa Johnson. 

How has this work on autonomy and vulnerability led to your most recent research program?

My brain makes idiosyncratic connections. In response to the CSWIP CFP for the 2013 conference on feminism and food, I gave a paper that originated from a few words that Hegel includes in his Philosophy of Nature about how asparagus imparts a distinctive smell to our urine. This paper led to an interest in the philosophical implications of digestion: how does digestion work as a means of relating to the external world? What does it imply about the boundaries of our selfhood, particularly when we recognize the amount of work contributed by our gut microbes? I published an article on these matters with respect to Hegel in 2016.

Continuing to mull over our guts, I became really interested in them as a site of embodied vulnerability. So many people have the experience of having their actions constrained by how their gut is behaving at any given time, which seems a deeply private matter—and yet these constraints are also the product of social decisions made about the availability of bathrooms, of safe foods, the ability to take work breaks, and so forth. Articles by Cindy LaCom and Amy Vidali encouraged me to probe further what a disability theory and philosophy perspective could bring to our understanding of our experiences with our guts.

To avoid making universal-ish claims about how people ought to relate to their gut (which seemed epistemically and ethically risky), I embarked on a pilot project to interview other people about their experiences with gut issues; doing so involved learning a whole new methodology. I did 24 interviews in the summers of 2019 and 2020 whose data analysis, because of pandemic workload, I have not yet completed. In the interviews, I asked questions about my interviewees about their experiences, followed by questions about how they conceptualized vulnerability and autonomy in their own lives. This portion of the interviews felt like a collaborative philosophical exploration, which I am interested in doing more of in the future.

Jane, through you union and your pedagogy, you have made concerted efforts to improve the accessibility of the university at which you work. Tell us about some of these efforts.

As I began to think more critically about disability in my research, I likewise began to be more aware of the inaccessibility of academia. Working on the assumptions that nineteenth-century philosophers made about humans led me likewise to critically examine my assumptions about what I ought to encourage and practice in the classroom. Reading Margaret Price’s Mad At School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life was especially helpful; so was attending talks put on by our university’s accessibility services office. The most significant push, however, was talking to disabled students about their experiences and the barriers that they’d encountered.

I won a teaching award in 2012, for which the prize was a small grant to pursue a teaching-related project. I hired a student to do a literature review of work on universal design in education and ran a couple of student focus groups on their experiences. I learned that there was a lot of work to do right in my own backyard.

As someone teaching in a small department in a small, primarily undergraduate university in a small Canadian province, I usually feel fairly disconnected from larger conversations that take place in the discipline and academia at large. Much of the discipline seems pretty remote to me. If I work to make things better in my own circles, then that helps my own students—some of whom may then carry things they’ve learned in my classes on to graduate school—as well as helps my current and future colleagues.

For about a decade, I have attempted to incorporate universal design principles into my courses by paying attention to flexibility in the structure of the course, flexibility in assessments and due dates, and so forth. Students have the option of earning participation marks by sharing their course notes, which I then make available to everyone.

There are constraints posed by my teaching conditions and by my own limitations. My first-year course is usually about 100 students, and I usually have one T.A., who is a 3rd or 4th-year undergraduate. I’ve experimented with offering different options for assignments in that class—including choices between a paper or a test, the option to do an oral vs. a written test, as well as options for more creative activities—but these options run up against my own limits with respect to grading and keeping track of everyone. In the semester in which I offered the most flexibility in assessment, I lost every weekend to grading; so, I have pulled back somewhat. Moving the whole course to be asynchronous and online during Fall 2020 was a great opportunity to rework the entire structure around greater flexibility, since it made it possible for students to work through the course at their own pace and gave them more choice over which assignments to complete. I am looking forward to the challenge of creatively trying to preserve much of that in the classroom when I return from sabbatical.

In upper-year courses, which are smaller, it is much easier to make different options available for students to communicate what they’ve learned and researched. I have had students do pre-recorded presentations, blog posts, podcasts, make syllabi for imagined courses, etc.

Most of all, I try to explain to students, as transparently and clearly as I can, why I make the decisions that I do in all my courses. I ask students to let me know if something doesn’t work for them—both by encouraging them to approach me directly and by providing anonymous feedback options online.

Meanwhile, the students themselves have done a lot at my university! In 2014, they formed a group on campus, ACID—Association for Chronically Ill and Disabled Students—which has worked on accessibility audits, advocacy, and education. They’ve organized panel discussions, and have run movie nights in which they critiqued the bad disability representation in the films viewed. I think very highly of this group.

At the faculty end of things, I was a member of a short-lived committee on accessibility on campus where I advocated for attention to faculty and librarian needs. I have also tried to provide resources and suggestions in an ad hoc way when asked by the faculty union or by disabled faculty members. In the lead-up to the union’s most recent round of collective bargaining, I assembled research about accessibility and accommodations for faculty in addition to information about what other universities in Canada had secured on this front.

The provision of a clear and fair policy for faculty accommodations became a major bargaining issue in our last strike. The resulting collective agreement included a Memorandum of Agreement to form a Joint Committee to help develop such a policy. This committee includes faculty and administration. I served on this committee until partway through my sabbatical. Some of the issues at stake involved: greater autonomy for the disabled employee; the recognition that academic labour involves more than just teaching; pushing back against a binary that a faculty member is wholly able to work or needs to stop working and go on long term disability; ensuring that the accommodation process can be initiated even if someone does not yet have a medical diagnosis. 

It’s imperative to try to reduce the extra labour of seeking accommodations. So, one of the things that I stressed while serving on this committee is the importance of having a clear pathway for a faculty member or librarian seeking accommodation, including making it explicit exactly who they should talk to. I suggested, for instance, having a designated email address that would always go to the correct person within Human Resources who could get the accommodation process started. I also suggested that we could list a number of sample accommodations within the policy, in order to help make it more transparent what kinds of measures could be made available (as well as to help expand people’s imaginations around what is possible).

These probably sound like incredibly basic things. They are. I also recognize that the focus on accommodations themselves can seem overly connected to a medical model of disability. It is very difficult to push back against the assumption that epistemic authority over disability rests with health-care professionals. I see work on faculty accommodation as something that must be done alongside more long-term advocacy for accessibility on campus.

I was also involved in a research project called “Accessibility as Collaborative Practice” with colleagues from three other universities in which we tried to take stock of the work that was to be done. It is likely no surprise that there is indeed a lot to do, particularly around making sure that accessibility gets sufficient priority. One thing that I would really like, going forward, is greater solidarity and collaboration between work on accessibility for students, staff, and faculty.

Jane, please tell us how your recent diagnosis as neurodivergent has led you to reflect upon your position in the university and your position vis-à-vis critical work on disability and the disability studies community.

My reflection on this is still very much in progress, partly since the formal diagnosis is itself quite recent. I was formally diagnosed with autism and ADHD in Fall 2021. By coincidence, your interview with Amandine Catala came out the same week as my diagnosis. I’ve had various bodily issues for some time, including gut issues (of course), and eczema, which makes it hard to type and write. During sabbatical, I’ve had the opportunity to explore how I experience the world, and the kinds of limitations that I’ve encountered.

Reading about neurodiversity, as part of my general academic interest in philosophy of disability, had led me to read more about masked autism, that is, autism that has been underdiagnosed because the people are part of groups that weren’t included in autism research. This discussion frequently focuses on women; but as Devon Price and others have usefully pointed out, it includes a range of marginalized groups. In a tweet from 2021, Price argues that “The narrative of ‘female autism’ is really about centering the experiences of white, cisgender women who found out they were neurodivergent later in life, at the expense of everyone else who was similarly excluded due to transphobia, racism, etc.”

So, yes, I am one of those white, cisgender women. I am only at the early stages of learning which of my experiences have been shaped by my neurotype, particularly the ADHD aspect, which surprised me, but has made more and more sense as I reflect further and learn more about it. Learning about my neurodivergence has been useful in trying to better understand myself and what I need, but I recognize that it continues to be important for me to listen and learn from others, and to not centre myself.

At the 2014 Society for Disability Studies conference, I presented a paper on teaching Philosophy of Disability as a nondisabled person, which, at the time, was how I understood myself and identified. In the paper, I emphasized the importance of epistemic humility; that while as the instructor I might know more than the students about the theory that I’m teaching, I don’t know more than them about their experience with disability. It is important to encourage students—particularly disabled and chronically ill students—to raise questions and share their own knowledge. While I now know that I am neurodivergent, that doesn’t change my ethical commitment to epistemic humility.

Prior to receiving an official diagnosis—even prior to beginning to suspect that I was autistic—I had begun to think about autism in the context of gut microbiome research. Having gut issues seems to be frequent for autistic people, but the focus of microbiome researchers has tended to be on “curing autistic behaviours” (sigh) rather than on helping autistic people to manage gastrointestinal symptoms and be more comfortable. This is a classic example of the focus on cure that many disability writers have criticized. Realizing that I am autistic hasn’t changed my research commitments here, even if it has changed some of the lived experience of reading the scientific literature, which generally perceives neurodivergent traits through a lens of disorder. 

With respect to my position in the university, I plan to continue the work that I have been doing, but more so. I have tenure and have been at my institution for almost 14 years, and so there is very little risk for me in letting people know that I am an autistic ADHDer. I hope that I can advocate even more effectively when I return after sabbatical, particularly by reaching out to other neurodivergent faculty.

Jane, how would you like to end this interview? Would you like to say anything more about something that we’ve discussed? Is there anything that you would like to talk about that we haven’t touched upon? Do you want to recommend any articles or other materials related to something you’ve mentioned in this interview?

Thanks again for all your work on this series, Shelley. I have learned so much from the previous interviews. I want to send all my best wishes out to other intellectual magpies and others trying to advocate on their own campuses. My Twitter handle is @janedryden in case anyone wants to connect.

Here are links to articles that I mentioned in the interview, more or less in the order in which they were mentioned or relevant:

Jennifer Nedelsky, “Reconceiving Autonomy: Sources, Thoughts, and Possibilities”: https://openyls.law.yale.edu/bitstream/handle/20.500.13051/6827/06_1YaleJL_Feminism7_1989_.pdf?sequence=2;  and a link to the opening page of Nedelsky’s “Meditations on Embodied Autonomy” (I don’t have a good link to the full article, which I had to get via Interlibrary Loan.): https://heinonline.org/HOL/LandingPage?handle=hein.journals/gravim2&div=21&id=&page=

Merri Lisa Johnson and Robert McRuer, introduction to special issue of the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies on “Cripistemologies”: https://doi.org/10.3828/jlcds.2014.12

Cindy LaCom, “Filthy Bodies, Porous Boundaries: The Politics of Shit in Disability Studies”: https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/11/11

Amy Vidali, “Out of Control: The Rhetoric of Gastrointestinal Disorders”: https://dsq-sds.org/article/view/1287/1313

Margaret Price, Mad At School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life – I owe so much to this book for helping me rethink my assumptions about what I was doing in the classroom and what I should try to do in it: https://www.press.umich.edu/1612837/mad_at_school

Devon Price on “masked autism”: https://devonprice.medium.com/wentworth-miller-mental-health-stigma-and-masked-autism-fc6642513fbc and also this Twitter thread: https://twitter.com/drdevonprice/status/1420417130047156226

Two articles which were helpful in work on faculty accommodations: Bea Waterfield, Brenda B. Beagan, and Merlinda Weinberg, “Disabled Academics: A Case Study in Canadian Universities”: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2017.1411251 and Margaret Price, “Time Harms: Disabled Faculty Negotiating the Accommodations Loop”: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-8915966

If anyone is interested in reading the full versions of any of the conference papers I mentioned, or articles on Hegel and disability and digestion, they’re mostly all up on my website: https://janedryden.weebly.com/research.html

[Description of image below: photo of Jane, who has pink and blue hair and is wearing blue plastic framed glasses and a sweatshirt on which skulls are depicted, stands in front of a field of snow and trees.]

Jane, thank you so much for a wonderfully instructive interview. In addition to your insightful remarks about autonomy and German idealism, you have offered a great deal of advice to faculty, students, and staff who want to urge systemic changes with respect to accessibility in their own institutions.

Readers/listeners are invited to use the Comments section below to respond to Jane Dryden’s remarks, ask questions, and so on. Comments will be moderated. As always, although signed comments are preferred, anonymous comments may be permitted.

The entire Dialogues o Disability series is archived on BIOPOLITICAL PHILOSOPHY here. You can support Dialogues on Disability by subscribing to the Patreon for the series here.


Please join me here again on Wednesday, April 20th for the seventh anniversary installment of the Dialogues on Disability series and, indeed, on every third Wednesday of the months ahead. I have a fabulous line-up of interviews planned. If you would like to nominate someone to be interviewed (self-nominations are welcomed), please feel free to write me at s.tremain@yahoo.ca. I prioritize diversity with respect to disability, class, race, gender, institutional status, nationality, culture, age, and sexuality in my selection of interviewees and my scheduling of interviews.

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