Gate-Keeping Bodies and Minds: What's Happening at Canadian Borders?
Monday, August 19, 2013
Immigration has always served as a site where bodies are divided into includable and excludable on account of race, gender, age, class and physical or mental states. In the last several years, some of the more visible cases were Abdelkader Belaouni, a blind cis-man who sought sanctuary for over three years in a Montreal church in order to evade his deportation orders before finally being granted a legalized status in 2006; the Chapman family, who were denied visitation visas to Canada because their daughter had an intellectual disability in 2005; Laibar Singh, a man who became a wheelchair user due to a spinal infection incurred within Canada was forcefully deported to India in 2007; and finally Chris Mason, a man who became paraplegic due to workplace injuries and was deported to the UK on the basis that he would become an “undue economic burden.”
In each of these stories, Canada’s stance towards medically recognizable difference is one of intolerance. The marking of mental and physical disabilities as inadmissible and excessively costly in relation to able-bodied norms paints a picture that people with disabilities are not welcome in Canadian society, whether they come from inside or outside of national territory. Discussing migration and disability as separate issues seems strange when it’s through an intersection of both identities that this system dictates which bodies can move freely in and out within of Canadian societies and territory.
This workshop invites participants to collectively reflect, learn, discuss and challenge the ways in which disability, race, and class identities are divided, emphasized, molded, and/or rejected at the borders thus maintaining an able-bodied and minded sense of nationalism.
Facilitated by Fiona Ning Cheuk
University Centre Room 441
Part of the Summer Institute Guelph 2013 series of workshops