In this roundtable, speakers will each present and discuss a unique object through the lens of disability. Ranging from a nineteenth-century wooden cane to a twenty-first-century “walking bag,” the close examination of these objects is meant to engage definitions of “modernity” as well as elicit new ways of “seeing” historical objects. These direct our attention to hidden “ableist” conventions and assumptions that can be embedded in object-oriented study. We will ask how disability has helped shaped the modernist project? How might a disability studies lens be useful for understanding issues of embodiment or an imagined mind of the user? What assumptions do scientific and technological artifacts make about what constitutes “skill,” “success” or “personal fulfillment” in STEM settings and beyond? What do these objects reveal about our assumptions of “skill,” “success,” and the process of knowledge production?

Speakers include Nicole Belolan (Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities, Rutgers University-Camden), Cara Fallon (Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale University), Elizabeth Guffey (State University of New York, Purchase College), Jaipreet Virdi (University of Delaware), and Bess Williamson (School of the Art Institute of Chicago).