The body is a social and material entity that carries diverse meanings and makes social life possible. Charting flows across the boundaries between material and immaterial, we explore how the body comes to be in its location, historically and geographically. We ask where and how the body signifies normality or abnormality, self or other, abled or disabled. We trace these binaries as they animate both affinities and differences in species, kind, gender, race, class, and ontology. We explore the intermingled origins of these binaries and their effects on the organization of our social and biological worlds. In dialogues prompted by literary and philosophical texts about animal and artificial life forms, we read the past through the present — and ponder speculative futures. We engage in theories of disability and intersectionality in an attempt to complicate differences and ask how the past illuminates our present and enables or limits our imaginings for the future.
Wit López is a Brooklyn-born Philly-made performer, visual artist, and independent curator of African American and Boricua heritage. Their work uses absurdity, Black Existentialism, and conjure to communicate how they engage with the world as a nonbinary trans, intersex, queer Black Latinx person with multiple disabilities and chronic illnesses, while also challenging oppression and colonization. They are the founder and director of Till Arts Project, a grassroots arts-services organization for LGBTQ artists in the Greater Philadelphia Area.
Jules is an advocate for the physically disabled, for children and education, and a health and wellness enthusiast. She is an entrepreneur at heart with over 20 years-experience working with start-ups and new initiatives in both the for-profit and non-profit worlds. She founded a woman’s apparel company and grew it into a national brand with distribution in Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Marshall Fields and many specialty stores across the US. She is a graduate of Cornell University, an active community member, wife, mother, and friend.
Acting Without Boundaries
Jennifer Huth is a veteran theatre actor and theatre artist. She holds a Master of Arts in theatre from Villanova University and a certificate in acting from the Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre in New York City. Her skills as an arts administrator were honed at Prudential Securities, where she was an Associate Vice President; Music Management in Belmont, MA; and most recently as the General Manager of Main Line Lawn & Garden in Bryn Mawr, PA.
Founder and Executive Director
Acting Without Boundaries
Christine Rouse created Acting Without Boundaries in 2004 because of her personal experiences growing up with Cerebral Palsy. Since 1991, Christine has been a source of inspiration and motivation for thousands of children through her disabled awareness educational workshop, Kids are Kids. Following her graduation from Saint Joseph’s University in 2002, Christine began to further develop her interest in theater and the performing arts. She has received extensive training at various acting programs across the country and is the recipient of a number of awards including the 1994 Presidential Award from the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. Christine was recently featured on The Today Show’s “Everyone Has a Story” segment.Through AWB Christine is successfully paving the way to acceptance and inclusion for young people with disabilities by encouraging them to not let their disabilities stand in the way of achieving their goals and dreams.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Shelly Ronen received her B.A. in Psychology and Feminist Studies from Stanford University and her Ph.D. in Sociology from New York University. Dr. Ronen teaches courses on gender, sexuality, feminism, culture, and science and technology studies. Previously she taught at Temple University, West Chester University and New York University.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics
When I first embarked upon my undergraduate degree — at none other than Haverford College — I intended to major in some combination of English, History, and Fine Arts. It was only a matter of time before my love of myth and literary history took me to the study of Latin, and later, Greek. I spent my junior year abroad studying Classics and English at Oxford, where reading James Joyce, Ezra Pound, and Thomas Pynchon helped me think more vividly about Homer, Ovid, and Virgil. The enthusiastic interdisciplinarity of my Classics professors at Haverford also helped me realize that I could nurture my interests in music, art, history, literature, and philosophy all within the Classics department.
I found myself attracted to a life of long hours of reading, writing, and discussing literature. I became interested in the way ancient myth circulates through popular culture: film, music, television, and popular discourse. I have always been interested in the power of the voice, so I became very curious about the myth of the Sirens. Over the years I’ve explored their reception in ancient myth, in Joyce’s Ulysses, in the music videos of Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, and Madonna, and in Western opera. I love talking about voices and their power over the human body and mind. I love thinking about the way myths influence the world around us and shape our ideas of what it means to be human. But more than “what it means to be human,” I’m fascinated by how distinctions between humanity and other categories of being are drawn and subsequently blurred. I’m very interested in the state of Classics as a discipline and its connection to big issues of social justice and identity politics.
Acting Without Boundaries Non-Profit Partners
750 E. Haverford Road, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Acting Without Boundaries (AWB) was established in 2004 to provide extraordinary, one-of-a-kind acting and theatrical opportunities for children, teens and young adults with physical disabilities. At its core, AWB is a unique year-round theater program that provides an open forum for the creative and artistic expression of young people with physical disabilities, over the age of four. The primary goal of AWB is to provide young people from the disabled community with the rare opportunity to pursue their love of acting and performing while building their self-confidence and developing an enhanced belief in themselves and their abilities.
Christine Rouse, Founder and Executive Director of AWB, created Acting Without Boundaries in 2004 because of her personal experiences growing up with Cerebral Palsy. In high school, Christine tried to fuel her passion for acting by auditioning time and again for school and community plays but disappointingly, she was never cast in a lead role. It was extremely difficult for her to fit in and to feel a part of the “in-crowd” because of her physical disability. What’s more, there were very few outlets and opportunities for Christine to engage in activities with other physically challenged teenagers. Christine’s personal experience with Cerebral Palsy coupled with the lack of resources for children and teenagers with physical disabilities provided the impetus for Christine to launch a life-changing acting program for young people in similar situations. Christine has said of her decision to establish Acting Without Boundaries, “I love to act, but I always had a difficult time. I wanted to create a place where kids could get involved in theater, form friendships and gain confidence.”
AWB is much more than a theater program – it is a place where actors feel like they belong. Through their theatrical work and social outings and opportunities, AWB actors build lasting friendships. An AWB parent described the organization and its participants as being like a “family” and she is right. AWB actors and staff have developed a strong bond with each other that lasts for years. New actors are welcomed with open arms and made to quickly feel like they belong. Everyone finds a place at AWB where they are supported and encouraged.
Acting Without Boundaries is a non-profit organization that relies on support from kindhearted individuals, foundations and corporations. The organization does not receive any public support nor does it have any permanent funding streams. What AWB does is unique. There is no other organization in the Philadelphia region that provides theater arts opportunities to young people with physical disabilities.Read less