February 26, 2016
In 2009, Beth Jörgensen, a professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultures, was preparing to teach a class on "coming of age" stories in Spanish America. She wanted to include a collaborative autobiography of Gabriela Brimmer, a Mexican woman who was profoundly disabled since birth with cerebral palsy, yet learned to communicate by manipulating an alphabet board with the toe of her left foot. Eventually Brimmer became a leading activist for the rights of disabled people in that nation. "I did not know that much about disability studies," Jörgensen confides. "So, in order to teach this in an informed way, I got busy reading as much background as I could about disability life writing." It was a revelation for her.