On this week's episode, Derek chats with Dr. Jeff Preston, Assistant Professor of disability studies at King's University College, to discuss his work on representations of disability in popular culture. From Jimmy Brooks (a.k.a. Drake) in Degrassi to Artie Abrams (Kevin McHale) in Glee, mass media tends to paint a relatively simple and uniform picture of what it means to be disabled in the world. Jeff's research aims to challenge these simplistic representations by flipping the script and investigating how images of disability in pop culture reveal just as much about nondisabled producers as they do of disabled bodies. His work highlights how such representations illustrate the perpetual anxiety of the nondisabled about an imagined world of disability, and challenges us to think about the ways in which our cultural understandings of disability might be not only inaccurate, but also part of a broader fantasy of disability.
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