Wed 6/16, 2021, 7:30pm
M. Leona Godin with Keith Rosson (livestream)
A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness



Headshots of M. Leona Godin and Keith Rosson

From Homer to Helen Keller, from Dune to Stevie Wonder, from the invention of Braille to the science of echolocation. What is the common thread between them?

In this stunningly personal and informative presentation, writer and educator M. Leona Godin explores the fascinating history of blindness, interweaving it with her own story of gradually losing her sight. In conversation with blind author and illustrator Keith Rosson, and based on her book There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness, Godin probes the ways in which blindness has shaped our ocularcentric culture, challenging deeply ingrained ideas about what it means to be “blind.” They explore the history of blindness being used to signify such things as thoughtlessness, irrationality, and unconsciousness, while at the same time blind people have been othered as the recipients of special powers as compensation for lost sight. With insight from her own life as a person who began losing her vision at age 10, Godin illuminates the often surprising history of both the condition of blindness and the myths and ideas that have grown up around it. Don’t miss this important and enlightening discussion that reveals just how essential blindness and vision are to humanity’s understanding of itself and the world.

ASL and CART will be provided for this program.

M. Leona Godin is a writer, performer, and educator who is blind. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times; Playboy; O, The Oprah Magazine; and Catapult, where she writes the column, “A Blind Writer’s Notebook.” She was a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow and has written and produced two theatrical productions: The Star of Happiness and The Spectator & the Blind Man. She founded the online magazine Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste; not specifically for, but welcoming to, blind readers and writers. She has lectured on art, accessibility, disability, and technology at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Rice University, and the American Printing House for the Blind, among other venues.

Keith Rosson is the author of the novels The Mercy of the Tide, Smoke City, and Road Seven, and the story collection, Folk Songs for Trauma Surgeons. His short fiction has appeared in Cream City Review, PANK, December, Grasslimb Journal, and more. He’s also a legally blind illustrator and graphic designer, which offers its own unique challenges and rewards.

Presented by Town Hall Seattle.

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