‘Lost Limbs’ to educate about disabilities

Luis Martinez, Entertainment Editor

The Doudna Fine Arts Center will host a film lecture called “Lost Limbs: Digital Amputation and Disable Moves at the Movies” and will be the 25th annual Phi Beta Kappa fall lecture.

This year’s speaker is Angela Smith, an associate professor of English and gender studies at the University of Utah.

“I’m going to be talking about representations of disability in movies, mainly American movies,” Smith said. “(It will also get people) thinking about how movies, both in the past and in the present, use disable bodies to generate certain kinds of emotion responses for viewers.”

Smith said she decided to focus on this topic for the presentation because this has been her area of focus for years.

“Disabilities representation has been my area of focus since I was a Ph.D. student,” Smith said. “My Ph.D. dissertation was about classic horror movies and the ways they represented disable bodies.”

Smith also said this topic lead to her first book, “Hideous Progeny: Disability, Eugenic and Classic Horror Cinema,” which was released in 2012.

“It’s just been a long time interest of mine to figure how it is that so many of our movies use disabled bodies,” Smith said. “We don’t talk about kind of what that means or how we think about disability in real life.”

This is not the first time Smith has discussed this topic about disability representation in films.

“I’ve done a number of conference papers and been invited to give lectures about this topic,” Smith said. “I know a couple of members of the English department, Charles Wharram and Suzie Park, and they’re aware of me and my work.”

Smith also said she has been in contact with both members, and they were excited to have her visit Eastern to present her work.

“Hopefully it will be kind of fun and interesting. I’ll be showing movie clips and we’ll be looking at images,” Smith said. “The aim is to ask people to think critically about the kinds of things they might be seeing all the time in our movies, but they’ve not really give much thought to.”

Smith said some recent examples of films using able bodied actors in disabled roles include “Iron Man 3,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Snowpiercer” and “Mad Max: Fury Road.”

The “Lost Limbs: Digital Amputation and Disabled Moves at the Movies” lecture will be Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Doudna Fine Arts Center.


Luis Martinez can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].