Deinstitutionalization, anti-prison activism topic of Nov. 18 talk

November 14, 2013 | Events, UToday, — Languages, Literature and Social Sciences
By Kevin Bucher

Dr. Liat Ben-Moshe, UT assistant professor of disability studies, will give a talk discussing the activism behind abolishing the prison system in the Unites States as well as institutions for people labeled intellectually disabled.



The free, public event will take place Monday, Nov. 18, at 3:30 p.m. in the Canaday Center in Carlson Library.

Her talk is titled “Abolition Politics: Deinstitutionalization and Anti-Prison Activism in the U.S.” She will connect the activism behind closing down institutions for people known as intellectually disabled, as well as psychiatric hospitals and prisons.

Ben-Moshe believes attempting to reform prisons and institutions does not work and that a new approach is needed.

“We don’t need to reform these places; we don’t need to make them prettier or have more education programs; we need to close them down,” Ben-Moshe said. “More radical approaches need to be taken as opposed to specific narrow approaches to issues of crime and disability.”

The talk is targeted to people who don’t really know anything about these fields, she added. One goal is to let people know what is happening in this country in terms of incarceration and institutionalization and also to educate them about the resilience of the activism around it.

Ben-Moshe began teaching at UT in August. Previously, she taught at the University of Illinois in Chicago. She obtained her doctorate from Syracuse University.

She said she came to UT because it is one of the few universities in the nation that has a disability studies program.

“Disability studies looks at disability from a non-medical perspective,” Ben-Moshe said. “It looks at disability as a culture, an identity, and the history of disability, like women and gender studies but for people with disabilities.

“I think it’s really important for people at The University of Toledo to understand how unique it is to have an opportunity to study with people who do this work because it doesn’t exist at all on most college campuses,” Ben-Moshe said.

For more information, contact the Disability Studies Program at 419.530.7244.

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