French, Humanities Division
IAS Faculty Fellow, Spring 2021
Disability and Joy
Empathic joy and its potential as a catalyst for social change have been overlooked—both generally and in relation to disability. I am spending this semester drafting a literature review that will serve as the foundation for a series of qualitative interviews with disabled people about their experiences of joy. What can disability and joy contribute to the futures we long for? Taking as my point of departure the work of Alexandre Jollien, self-proclaimed ‘philosopher of joy,’ I use philosophy, memoir, social psychology, and disability studies to explore how 20th-c. francophone disability studies theorists and activists formulate their experiences as the foundation for personal and social renewal. For Jollien, Kristeva, and so many others, it is through profound acceptance of vulnerability and the interaction it entails that we can renew the social contract and embrace the full measure of our humanity.
This series features an IAS Residential Fellow—a Faculty Fellow, Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellow, or Community of Scholars Fellow. Each profile is written by the participant as a way to share their projects, goals, and experiences as part of their time at the IAS.