Disability in Cinema

In this Tavaana webinar series, Professor Jay Dolmage examines the representation of disability in popular culture with an emphasis on the portrayal of disabled characters in film. Discussing the problems with how contemporary cinema depicts disability, Professor Dolmage addresses the serious underrepresentation of disabled characters in film and the fact that disabled characters are usually played by able-bodied actors, resulting in a serious misrepresentation of the reality of disability. These lectures address the need to acknowledge the structural disempowerment of people with disabilities, learn more about their experiences, and move beyond pity toward true understanding and advocacy for disability rights.

Professor Dolmage received his B.A. from the University of British Columbia and his Ph.D. from the Miami University of Ohio. He is currently an associate professor of English at the University of Waterloo and teaches graduate courses in rhetoric and composition pedagogy. He has published widely on rhetorical theory and accessible teaching. His first book, Disability Rhetoric, was published by Syracuse University Press in 2014 and won a PROSE Award in the language and linguistics category from the Association of American Publishers in 2015. Professor Dolmage is also the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.