The first feature of 2020 is “Toward a More Accessible Conference Presentation” by Jason S. Farr and Travis Chi Wing Lau. The online essay is published in MLA‘s Profession and can be accessed by clicking here.
Jason S. Farr (Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 2013) researches and teaches courses in British literature and culture of the long eighteenth century, disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, D/deaf studies, and the medical humanities. His forthcoming book from Bucknell University Press, Novel Bodies: Disability and Sexuality in Eighteenth-Century British Literature (Spring, 2019), examines how fictional representations of physical disability, deafness, and chronic illness shape the literary history of sexuality. Novel Bodies shows that Enlightenment authors employ variably embodied characters in their fiction to intervene in debates ranging from courtship to education, from feminism to medicine, and from kinship to plantation life. At the same time, these novelists, some of whom were themselves disabled, offer keen insight into the lived experiences of disability and non-normative genders and sexualities in the eighteenth century. Dr. Farr’s research has appeared in venues such as Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation, and the edited collection, The Idea of Disability in the Eighteenth Century (Bucknell UP, 2014).
Before arriving to the Department of English at Marquette University, Dr. Farr served as Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi in South Texas (2014-18), and prior to that, he taught in the Literature Department at the University of California, San Diego. His courses routinely challenge students to think more expansively about disability, sexuality, gender, race, and variable bodies. Attuned to ongoing conversations about accessibility, he is constantly seeking innovative ways to establish more inclusive classrooms and communities. He has been hard of hearing for more than ten years, and his atypical experience of sound and speech directly informs his research and teaching practices.
Travis Chi Wing Lau completed his Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania and is a postdoctoral teaching fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include 18th- and 19th-century British literature, the history of medicine, medical humanities, and disability studies. His academic writing has been published in Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Romantic Circles, Digital Defoe, Disability Studies Quarterly, and English Language Notes. His creative writing has appeared in Wordgathering, Glass, The New Engagement, Nat. Brut, Matador Review, Impossible Archetype, Hematopoiesis Press, and Rogue Agent. His chapbook, The Bone Setter, is forthcoming in 2019 with Damaged Goods Press. He currently serves as an editor for The Deaf Poets Society and a poetry reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly and Tupelo Quarterly.