Disability Studies Scholar Ralph Savarese to Give Reading at Syracuse University

November 9, 2018

The Burton Blatt Institute, the SU Disability Cultural Center, the Disability Studies Program, Bird Library, and the Disability Law & Policy Program welcome Disability Studies scholar Ralph Savarese to campus on Thursday, November 15.

See It Feelingly, book cover

Professor Savarese will read from his new book “See It Feelingly: Classic Novels, Autistic Readers, and the Schooling of a No Good English Professor.” He will be joined by Syracuse University graduate Jamie Burke who will discuss his participation in the book project which paired autistic readers with Dr. Savarese who teaches American Literature at Grinnell College. 

Since the 1940s researchers have been repeating claims about autistic people's limited ability to understand language, to partake in imaginative play, and to generate the complex theory of mind necessary to appreciate literature. In See It Feelingly Ralph James Savarese, an English professor whose son is one of the first nonspeaking autistics to graduate from college, challenges this view. Discussing fictional works over a period of years with readers from across the autism spectrum, Savarese was stunned by the readers' ability to expand his understanding of texts he knew intimately. Their startling insights emerged not only from the way their different bodies and brains lined up with a story but also from their experiences of stigma and exclusion.

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About the Burton Blatt Institute
BBI reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities, with offices in Syracuse, NY, New York City, Washington, D.C., Lexington, KY, and Atlanta, GA. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. For more information about BBI, visit: http://bbi.syr.edu