Borghesi-Mellon Workshops

The Borghesi-Mellon Workshops, held by the Center for Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are a series of collaborative, interdisciplinary events designed to bring together students and faculty in service of exploring a variety of topics. The 2015-2016 series of Workshops specifically aim to bring focus to new directions in disability work in the humanities, with an eye to disability justice and transnational work in disability.

Upcoming Workshops:

Mia Mingus Keynote Address

WHEN: 4:00PM, October 23, 2015

WHERE: 1310 Sterling Hall

This event free and open to the public, is wheelchair accessible, and will feature American Sign Language interpretation and Real-Time Captioning. The talk will be followed by a reception.

In her talk, Mingus will share some of her visions and lessons from her work on transformative justice and life-long activism and organizing. More people than ever are hungry for responses to violence that don’t rely on police, prisons or the criminal legal system; and are recognizing the intersectional nature of these responses as both a great challenge and great opportunity in liberation and social justice work. Transformative Justice and community accountability (TJCA) offer compelling analysis and visions, but the gulf between this and the practice of TJCA seems impassable. How do we begin to engage in this work, especially when we know that addressing intimate and state violence continue to be integral to ending gender oppression and giving us any shot at the world we long for.


About Mia Mingus

An Evening With R.J. Mitte

WHEN: 7:30-9:00PM on September 30, 2015

WHERE: Shannon Hall, Memorial Union

R.J. Mitte co-stared in AMC’s highly successful, Emmy-winning drama “Breaking Bad”; as Walter White Jr., son of the cancer-stricken science-teacher-turned-drug-manufacture, Walter White. Mitte, just like his character, has cerebral palsy. Mitte spent much of his childhood in both Austin, TX and Lafayette, LA where he learned to deal with and overcome many of the challenges presented by his cerebral palsy. In 2005, he arrived in Hollywood, where his acting career began with background roles on such TV series as “Hannah Montana” and “Everybody Hates Chris.” His big break came in 2008 with “Breaking Bad” which he viewed as the “perfect role” to enlighten a broader audience about people with disabilities.Beyond his acting, R.J. Mitte is involved with several organizations that raise awareness of equality and diversity. He is the Youth Spokesperson for the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour, which works to improve the financial situation of low-income persons with disabilities. He is also a spokesperson for “I AM PWD” the tri-union campaign (SAG, AFTRA, Actors’ Equity) that advocates for actors with disabilities. In 2011, Mitte became a Celebrity Youth Ambassador for United Cerebral Palsy. Doors open at Shannon Hall at 7PM. Reception will follow from 9–10PM in the Sunset Lounge.

Disability Pride Madison 2015

The 2015 Disability Pride Festival took place Saturday, July 25th at Brittingham Park. People of all ages came together to enjoy good food, healthy living exhibitions including yoga and mindfulness instruction, and a variety of live performances from Ricardo Vasquez, Elaine Kolb, Tani Diakite & Afrofunkstars, Jonny T-Bird and the MPs, and more.

Disability Aesthetics: Reframing Disability in Artistic, Curatorial, Material, and Visual Practice

Disability Aesthetics: Reframing Disability in Artistic, Curatorial, Material, and Visual Practice is a two-day symposium at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, January 28 – 29, 2015, featuring Ann M. Fox (Professor of English at Davidson College), Katherine Ott (Curator at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History), and selected readings from Tobin SiebersDisability Aesthetics (The V.L. Parrington Collegiate Professor of Literary and Cultural Criticism at the University of Michigan). This symposium is made possible through the generous support of the Anonymous Fund, The Jay & Ruth Halls Visiting Scholar Fund, and as a part of the Disability Activism Workshop through the A.W. Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities, sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Disability Aesthetics is sponsored by UW-Madison’s Art History Department and the Departments of English, History, Communication Arts, Gender & Women’s Studies, The Center for Visual Culture, The Material Culture Program and with community support from the Madison Disability Pride organization.

Disability Pride Madison 2014

July 26, 2014 saw Madison’s second annual Disability Pride Festival, held at Brittingham Park. As well as free adaptive yoga and mindful meditation classes and massage therapy, attendees enjoyed musical performances from a variety of solo and group acts (schedule of events listed below).

Main Stage – 12:00
Mayor’s Proclamation
Tara Ayres with Barb Cheron, Tom Heaney and Dana Belie

1:00 pm 
Lewis Elder
Celebrating the ADA
The EDS Singers

2:00 pm 
The Figureheads
Amy Bleile, Ms. Wheelchair Wisconsin 2012
VSA Choir of Madison

3:00 pm 
Tani Diakite & Afrofunkstars
Garner and Beth Moss

4:00 pm 
The Figureheads

Morton Gernsbacher talk April 26, 4 PM

Humans differ. Most read with their eyes, but some read with their fingertips. The majority communicates by speaking and listening, but a minority communi cates by signing. Humans are diverse, and so are our brains. When should neuroscientists accentuate these differences – and when shouldn’t they? Why should individuals, themselves, accept their brain differences? And how can we, as a society, accommodate those brain differences?

WHEN: THU APR 16, 4 pm WHERE: Room 107, Brogden


Flyer for Gernsbacher talk featuring an image of hands in the shape of a brain


Margaret Price visits Madison

Brownbag discussion with Professor Price Friday, Feb. 20th, 12:00-1:00pm The Bunge Room (formerly SLIS Commons) 4207 Helen C. White Hall

Our discussion will focus on the question of how to actualize access in spaces of higher education, including classrooms, and also meetings, conferences, etc. In particular, we’ll think about ways that mental disability and other less-recognized forms of disability might push our thinking about access in higher-ed spaces.

Please RSVP to Elisabeth Miller at to receive readings for this event.

Transient Spaces and the Traces They Leave: Practicing Access in Higher Education Friday, Feb. 20th, 3:30-5:00pm Red Gym, On Wisconsin Room

In this talk, Margaret Price advances a theory of “crip space/time,” drawing upon concepts from classical rhetoric, architecture, and design. Arguing that access is a practice, not an event, Price offers findings from her new research on mental disability in higher education, and suggests ways that the practice of access can be implemented more democratically in the everyday spaces of academic life.

The organizers ask that you please refrain from wearing scented products to these events.

If you need an accommodation to attend this event, please contact Elisabeth Miller, Event Coordinator, at 507-884-6634 or Requests for sign language interpreters, real time captioning, Braille or electronic documents should be made by February 13th. We will attempt to fulfill requests made after this date but cannot guarantee they will be met.

Professor Price’s visit is generously sponsored by the UW Madison Anonymous Fund and as a part of the Disability Activism Workshop sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

“Overcoming the Overcome”

Manuel (photo)

Manuel Herrero-Puertas

Manuel Herrero-Puertas, a PhD candidate in English, has written an essay on disability and disability studies for UW’s Center for the Humanities. Manuel’s research examines the intersections between nineteenth-century discourses of disability in the Americas and the corporeal allegories of nation and empire that crop up in the literature of that period. Read it here.

Disability Pride Madison 2013

On July 27, 2013, Madison held its first ever Disability Pride celebration at Brittingham Park. Attendees were treated to entertainment by renowned poet and performer Jim Ferris, marimba artist Ricardo Vasquez (Beautiful Music, Beautiful Mind), Eileen Rosensteel (The Amazing Fat Lady Show!), The Sweetness of Gone (Transformational Folk Trio), Tani Diakite and the Afrofunkstars (Malian Blues-Funk Band), and J. Ware (poet and activist). Thanks to everyone for their hard work — we can’t wait for next year!

Listen to WORT’s interview with featured artists Eileen Rosenteel, Jim Ferris, Sarita Karon, and members the Disability Pride planning committee here.


DSI faculty Ellen Samuels and Jenell Johnson holding their volunteer badges at Disability Pride.