Bioethics Blogs

Zombethics 2016: (in)visible disabilities and troubling normality

By Shweta Sahu
Zombethics Case Graphic 

With Halloween just around the corner, zombies and other atypical creatures are much on our minds, but such constructs are rarely thought of from an ethical perspective. This year, on October 26th at 5:30 pm at the Center for Ethics, 1531 Dickey Drive, Ethics Commons Room 102, Emory Center for Ethics is collaborating with Emory Integrity Project (EIP) to boggle your mind with ethical considerations and encourage you to consider how students should engage across (in)visible differences at Emory. The discussion will be based around three interesting case studies which can be found here. These scenarios will lead to questions such as, ‘should people ask others what gender pronouns they prefer to be associated with, even if the answer may seem “obvious” at first glance.’ On the other hand, what are the implications of assuming non-visible disability based on a person’s behaviors or appearance? The goal of the symposium will be to help participants handle controversial issues like these and to guide them to effectively deal with such situations.

To find out more about the event, I spoke with coordinator Dr. Paul Wolpe from the Emory Center for Ethics as well as Ms. Emily Lorino and Dr. Rebecca Taylor from the Emory Integrity Project, and Dr. Karen Rommelfanger, chair of the Zombethics®conference series. Here’s what I asked:

In your own words, what do you think ZombethicsTM is/ what does it represent?
According to Dr. Wolpe, “through history there have been portrayals of people with deformities and grotesque faces that are cast as alien and “other”, and against whom we measure our own humanity… we use either real or imagined monsters to try to understand the nature of what it means to be human and contrast ourselves by and against.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.