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a kairotic moment

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A kairotic moment for access

Some of us had a rare opportunity to pay attention in a careful way, a disability studies way, during the session entitled “Disability and Kairotic Space” convened in May of 2011 at the Computers and Writing Conference at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. During that session, Melanie Yergeau, Margaret Price, Elizabeth Brewer, Stephanie Kerschbaum, and Sushil K. Oswal explored the valuable perspectives disability studies could contribute to composition. In particular, their discussions related to the issue of kairotic space, which Price (2011) defined as “the less formal, often unnoticed, areas of academe where knowledge is produced and power is exchanged” (p. 21).

Cynthia Selfe and Michael Salvo offered an introduction and conclusion for this session, respectively; and Franny Howes was in the packed audience that responded to the presentations of these insightful panelists. For many of us, the words of the speakers in this session were powerful reminders of what our profession needs to consider as we continually design and re-design composition studies into being.

This webtext is a gift from eight extraordinarily generous colleagues who are willing to help us re-encounter composition studies through the rich perspectives of disability studies. It also enacts the ethics of accessibility that it discusses. Physical presence is typically required for scholars to access most of the material presented at conferences in our field: This requirement is an underacknowledged accessibility issue, considering many mental and physical disabilities make such presence difficult or impossible. The modality of this webtext invites yet more of us to experience this game-changing series of presentations.