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The Pulse is a podcast discussing issues impacting the disability community across Canada on AMI-audio. Host Joeita Gupta, who is blind, also works full-time at a nonprofit in Toronto, specializing in housing/tenant rights.




The Pulse is a podcast discussing issues impacting the disability community across Canada on AMI-audio. Host Joeita Gupta, who is blind, also works full-time at a nonprofit in Toronto, specializing in housing/tenant rights.






What is Ablenationalism? Anastasia Todd

Joeita speaks about "Affective Ablenationalism" with Anastasia Todd from the University of Kentucky. SUMMARY An in-depth conversation about disability and ablenationalism, exploring how disabled individuals are often coded as able-bodied in the imagined community of the nation. Using the story of Trevor Maroshek, a former Navy SEAL, and his service dog, Chopper as a case study, we examine the concept of service dogs as a technology of rehabilitation, allowing disabled individuals to fit into the able-bodied norm and the white American nuclear family, the veneration of Chopper as a national hero and the role of military dogs in securing the nation state. Looking at the real-world implications such as confusion about the rights of people with service dogs and the discrimination they face. Guest Bio: Anastasia Todd is an Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Kentucky. Broadly, her research investigates the intersections of disability and girlhood from a feminist disability studies perspective. Her forthcoming book, Cripping Girlhood (winner of the 2022 Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities), is interested in what happens and what it means when certain disabled girl subjects gain cultural recognition and visibility as “American girls, too,” to use the words of Melissa Shang, who in 2014 created a viral petition imploring American Girl to create a disabled doll of the year. The book explores the promise and peril of this newfound cultural visibility for select disabled girls. In examining representations and self-representations of disabled girls and girlhoods across the mediascape at the beginning of the twenty-first century, spanning HBO documentaries to TikTok, Cripping Girlhood uncovers the variegated ways the figure of the disabled girl is imbued with meaning and mobilized as a spectacular representational symbol. Cripping Girlhood also explores how disabled girls, more than symbolic figures to be used in others’ narratives, circulate their own capacious re-envisioning of what it means to be a disabled girl. The book uncovers the cultural and political work that disabled girls’ self-representational practices perform, from cultivating disability community through generating intimacy online, to affirming the value of care labor and interdependence across the species barrier. Highlights: Links: Pre-order Cripping Girlhood (University of Michigan Press, 2024) Her new research project, in collaboration with Heather Switzer (WGS, Arizona State University) explores the intersection of invisible disability and young womanhood through creating and analyzing an archive of invisible disability narratives. As a cripistemological intervention, the project seeks to expand disability studies by taking seriously bodyminds that experience ableism yet have an uneasy and tenuous relationship with disability as it has been conventionally defined—that is, as physical, unchanging, and visible. Anastasia Todd. 2023. “Cripping Visibility: Re-presenting Disabled Girls and Girlhoods.” NEOS. 15(1). Anastasia Todd. 2023. “Affective Ablenationalisms and Interspecies Entanglements.” Disability Studies Quarterly. 42(3). About The Pulse: On The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta brings us closer to issues impacting the disability community across Canada. Joeita Gupta has nurtured a life-long dream to work in radio! She's blind, moved to Toronto in 2004 and got her start in radio at CKLN, 88.1 FM in Toronto. A former co-host of AMI-audio's Live from Studio 5, Joeita also works full-time at a nonprofit in Toronto, specializing in housing/tenant rights. Find Joeita on Twitter: @JoeitaGupta The Pulse airs weekly on AMI-audio. For more information, visit Learn more at Connect on Twitter @AccessibleMedia On Instagram @accessiblemediainc On Facebook at @AccessibleMediaInc On TikTok @accessiblemediainc Email


Gold Medal Paraskiier Natalie Wilkie, Canada's Disability Hall of Fame

Joeita speaks to Paralympic Cross-Country Skiier and gold medalist Natalie Wilkie. This is the third of a three part series profiling the 2023 inductees to the Canada Disability Hall of Fame. Synopsis This episode of The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta and guest, King Clancy Award winner and Paralympic cross-country skier, Natalie Wilkie discuss parasport and determination, highlighting the achievements of Paralympic athletes. The perception of people with disabilities as objects of pity has been shattered by the competitiveness and sportsmanship displayed in Paralympic games. Despite facing a life-altering accident, Wilkie returned to skiing just two weeks later and went on to win gold, silver, and bronze medals at the 2018 Paralympic Games. The interview explores Wilkie's journey, including her introduction to the parasport and the challenges and strategies involved in cross-country skiing. Additionally, Wilkie shares her passion for painting, photography, and training horses. Episode Highlights: About Natalie Wilkie burst onto the international scene at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. At age 17, she was the youngest member of the Canadian team. In South Korea, Wilkie prevailed over her more experienced rivals to take a much-celebrated gold in the women’s middle distance standing. She followed that up with bronze in the sprint and silver in the mixed relay. As a result, she received the Canadian Paralympic Sport Award for Best Paralympic Debut by a Female Athlete. Wilkie lost four fingers on her left hand in an accident during woodwork class at school in 2016. Team Canada Profile Link About The Pulse On The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta brings us closer to issues impacting the disability community across Canada. Joeita Gupta has nurtured a life-long dream to work in radio! She's blind, moved to Toronto in 2004 and got her start in radio at CKLN, 88.1 FM in Toronto. A former co-host of AMI-audio's Live from Studio 5, Joeita also works full-time at a nonprofit in Toronto, specializing in housing/tenant rights. Find Joeita on Twitter: @JoeitaGupta The Pulse airs weekly on AMI-audio. For more information, visit About AMI AMI is a not-for-profit media company that entertains, informs and empowers Canadians who are blind or partially sighted. Operating three broadcast services, AMI-tv and AMI-audio in English and AMI-télé in French, AMI’s vision is to establish and support a voice for Canadians with disabilities, representing their interests, concerns and values through inclusion, representation, accessible media, reflection, representation and portrayal. Learn more at Connect on Twitter @AccessibleMedia On Instagram @accessiblemediainc On Facebook at @AccessibleMediaInc On TikTok @accessiblemediainc Email


Michelle Stilwell, Parlympian, Politician and 2023 Canadian Disability Hall of Fame inductee

Synopsis This episode of The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta is joined by Canada Disability Hall of Fame Inductee, Michelle Stilwell. Together they discuss the intersection of sports, politics, and disability. The role of sports in social inclusion for people with disabilities is highlighted. Michelle also discusses her transition to wheelchair racing and her involvement in politics as a member of the Legislative Assembly in British Columbia. She emphasizes the importance of representation and policy influence for people with disabilities. The interview concludes with a discussion on the need for increased employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. Link: Episode Highlights: Introducing Canada Disability Hall of Fame Inductee, Michelle Stilwell (1:57) Significance of Being Inducted to the Canada Disability Hall of Fame (2:56) Getting Started in Wheelchair Basketball (4:00) Representing Canada Internationally (6:40) Medals in Other Sports (9:19) Training for Wheelchair Racing (10:46) Financial Barriers to Parasport (12:10) Career Highlights (13:07) How Can Sport Prepare you for Politics? (17:02) Proudest Accomplishments in the Legislature (18:10) Another Run for Office? (21:12) Feelings on Evolution of Disability Rights and Inclusion in Canada (21:50) Hopes for Disability Inclusion in the Future (24:40) Advice for Others Facing Significant Injuries (25:56) About Michelle Stilwell Michelle Stilwell is the only Canadian woman to win gold medals in two sports at the Paralympic Games. She and the Canadian team won gold in women’s wheelchair basketball at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney. Stilwell also won gold in women’s wheelchair racing at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games. From 2006 to 2016, she was the fastest wheelchair racer in the world in the T52-class; she currently holds world records in the women’s 100 m and 200 m. She also served as a BC MLA for Parksville-Qualicum from 2013 to 2020. Reference:


Meet Wheelchair Basketball Athlete Chantal Benoit, 2023 Canadian Disability Hall of Fame Inductee

Synopsis On this episode of The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta sits down with renowned wheelchair basketball player and inductee to the Canada Disability Hall of Fame, Chantal Benoit. Together, they discuss the Paralympic Games and the impact of parasport in challenging misperceptions about people with disabilities. It highlights the achievements of para-athletes and their advocacy for disability rights.. Benoit shares her experiences in the sport and the evolution of support for parasport in Canada. She emphasizes the importance of creating a strong foundation at the grassroots level and the need for continued growth and opportunities. The episode concludes with a reflection on the transformative power of sports in breaking down barriers and changing societal perspectives. Link to Chantal Benoit: Episode Highlights: Chantal’s Upcoming Induction into Canada’s Disability Hall of Fame. (3:10) Differences Between Coaching Able-Bodied & Wheelchair Basketball? (6:42) Training for an International Competition (8:25) How has the Support for Parasport Evolved Over the Last 30 Years? (10:12) Getting Started in Wheelchair Basketball (12:23) Chantal’s Career Highlight (15:06) Advice for Young People Interested in Parasports (17:28) Chantal’s Legacy and Impact Beyond the Sporting World? (19:02) The Michael Jordan of Women’s Basketball? (22:45) About Chantal Benoit Chantal Benoit is an icon of women’s wheelchair basketball. A member of Team Canada for 27 years, she has won three Paralympic gold medals and four world championship titles. Often called the “Michael Jordan” of her sport, she is considered the greatest woman to have ever played the game. A role model for many athletes, she inspires her teammates, opponents, and the next generation of female players to excel. Off the court, she is a tireless advocate for inclusive sport. Reference:


Disability & Job Accessibility

Synopsis: On this episode of The Pulse, host Joeita Gupta and her guest, Max Brault, Vice President of People in Change Accessibility Consulting at BDO Canada, discuss the organization's initiatives to promote accessibility and workplace inclusion, disability and workplace inclusion, focusing on the need for employers to examine their structures, practices, policies, and processes to root out ableism. The episode highlights the high unemployment and underemployment rates faced by people with disabilities in Canada, with the employment rate for adults with disabilities lagging behind the general population. BDO’s initiatives include developing an auditing tool to assess organizations' disability inclusion efforts and conducting research on the federal government's procurement process to ensure accessibility. Here, Max emphasizes the importance of engaging the disability community and addressing fears and misconceptions surrounding hiring individuals with disabilities. Episode Highlights: Introduction (0:00) Mission & Mandate of BDO Canada (2:57) Workplace inclusion and addressing unemployment and underemployment faced by people with disabilities. (4:02) The fear people with disabilities have in terms of dealing with the employment process. (6:44) Which nonprofit organizations has BDO chosen to work with and how were they chosen? (7:53) BDO’s partnership with the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion in Society to develop an accessibility audit. (9:45) A description of the auditing process. (12:10) What aspects of an employer’s processes or practices or structures will be taken into account for this auditing tool. (13:37) Will this auditing tool be versatile enough to be used for both small- and large-scale employers? 16:21 What is BDO’s plan for developing this audit engagement tool? (17:36) When will this audit tool be ready? (18:06) Max’s project in collaboration with the CNIB about the federal procurement process. (18:20) Where does the CNIB come into this research? (20:32) When looking at the federal procurement process, what are some of the considerations from an accessibility point of view that need to be considered? (22:47) What precisely will the research look at? (24:17) What is a KPI? (25:38) When will this research be complete? (25:57) What do you think the most immediate impact of the research on procurement is likely to be? (26:26) Conclusion (27:06) About Max Brault: Max accepted a leadership role with BDO Canada, guiding consulting projects focused on accessibility issues. Previously, Max guided the federal government toward historic legislation for persons with disabilities, the Accessible Canada Act. Unafraid to challenge convention to make positive change for the disability community, as a vice president with BDO Consulting (Strategy & Operations), Max aims to identify accessibility issues for corporations, governments, and non-governmental agencies, and to provide strategic solutions to address them. Reference:


Blind on the Runway

Synopsis On this episode of the Pulse, Joeita and her guest Angela Harris, discuss the intersection of disability and fashion. Joeita shares her personal experience of how fashion has allowed her to take control of the narrative surrounding her blindness. Angela Harris, the founder of the IMperfeKtly Made Foundation, discusses her motivation for starting the organization and her upcoming fashion show celebrating disability pride. She talks about the challenges and considerations involved in organizing the fashion show, such as finding a venue, selecting designers, and making modifications to the clothing for comfort and ease of use. Angela also mentions the importance of sponsorship and the business side of organizing such an event. They also discuss Angela's upcoming book, "Life As I See It," which chronicles her journey from meeting her husband to losing her vision. Link to Angela Harris: Episode Highlights: How the IMperfeKtly Made Foundation Started (2:05) Reactions to the Disability Pride Fashion Show (7:59) Why Were Models Nervous to be in this Fashion Show? (8:24) Accommodating Blind and Low Vision Models in the Fashion Show (10:10) Modifying Clothes for People who are Blind or Low Vision (15:36) Advice for Young Blind and Low Vision Women Wanting to Establish their Fashion Sense (23:06) Angela’s Upcoming Book “Life As I See It” (23:53) About Angela Harris: In 2019, just five months after getting married, Angela started experiencing severe headaches and blurred vision. Alarmed by these symptoms, she went to the doctor, where she underwent a series of tests. The results were devastating. Angela had a tumor in her brain that needed immediate surgical intervention. The surgery was risky, but they remained hopeful and trusted the skilled medical team. Finally, the day of the operation arrived. Angela bid a tearful farewell to her husband, not knowing if she would ever see his face again. The surgery was a success, and the tumor was partially removed. However, the cost was incredibly high. Angela awoke from the procedure to find she had completely lost her vision. The world she had once known was now a dark, unfamiliar place. She felt a mix of emotions—fear, anger, and sadness engulfed her. But Angela was not one to be trounced. She had always been a fighter, and losing her sight only ignited a new flame within her. As she adjusted to her new reality, she discovered a newfound empathy for those who had been visually impaired all their lives. She yearned to support and give them hope and resources to navigate the challenges she now faces. Her journey inspired Angela to create a non-profit organization supporting the visually impaired; she is finalizing her mini-memoir sharing her journey and has a patent pending on an invention that will assist visually impaired individuals when identifying apparel and accessories. Reference:


Against Technoableism

Synopsis: On this episode of the Pulse, Joeita and her guest Ashley Shew discuss the concept of Techno-Ableism, which refers to the idea that technology is often seen as the solution for disability. They explore how disabled individuals are often pressured to use the latest technology and are criticized for choosing alternative options. The conversation also touches on the importance of including disabled individuals in the design and development of technology, as well as the limitations and failures of certain technologies. They emphasize the need for a shift in the narrative around disability and technology, allowing disabled individuals to take control of their own stories and challenge the able savior narrative. Link to Ashley Shew: Episode Highlights: About Ashley Shew: Ashley Shew is an associate professor of science, technology, and society at Virginia Tech and specializes in disability studies and technology ethics. With support from the Mellon Foundation, she is developing a Disability Community Technology (DisCoTec) Center in collaboration with UNC-Charlotte and Virginia Tech. Her previous books include Animal Constructions and Technological Knowledge and Spaces for the Future. She lives in Blacksburg, Virginia. Reference:


Catherine Frazee: Dispatches from Disabled Country

Synopsis On this episode of the Pulse, host Joeita Gupta discusses disability identity and the book 'Dispatches from Disabled Country' by Catherine Frazee. The book is a collection of Frazee's writing over the years, exploring themes such as disability rights, identity, human rights, and the relationship between disability and the medical world. Frazee discusses the evolution of the disability rights movement in Canada and the ongoing debates around medical assistance in dying. The program also includes a conversation with Frazee about finding joy and staying optimistic in disabled country. Overall, the program highlights the importance of embracing disability identity and advocating for the rights and dignity of disabled individuals. Link to Catherine Frazee’s book: “Dispatches from Disabled Country” Episode Highlights: Joeita introduces author and advocate Catherine Frazee (1:11) Joeita and Catherine discuss the meaning of the title of Catherine’s book “Dispatches from Disabled Country”. (1:48) How Catherine chose which of her writings to include in her book. (6:16) Catherine gives her thoughts on the evolution of the disability rights movement in Canda since the 1990s. (9:20) Catherine discusses the effects of the Traci Latimer case on disability rights. (11:56) Joeita and Catherine discuss medical assistance and dying in Canada. (14:04) What advice does Catherine have for someone who has recently realized their citizenship in disabled country? (23:27) About Catherine Frazee: Catherine Frazee is a Canadian educator, activist, researcher, poet and writer. She is currently professor emerita in the School of Disability Studies at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University).[1] Prior to her retirement from Ryerson in 2010, she served for a decade as professor of distinction and as co-director of the Ryerson/RBC Institute for Disability Studies Research and Education. She is known for her role as Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 1989 to 1992. Reference:


Disability Wisdom & Spirituality

In this episode Joeita is joined by Rabbi Julia Watts Belser. They discuss the ableism and misconceptions surrounding disabilities in religious communities. Julia, who is a rabbi and scholar, emphasizes the importance of loving and embracing oneself as a disabled person in a world that often devalues and stigmatizes disabilities. They also explore the need for religious communities to move away from treating disabled individuals as symbols of suffering or inspiration and instead recognize their complexity and full humanity. Julia examines biblical texts and traditions, highlighting the presence of disability and challenging the ableist narratives often associated with them. The conversation concludes with a call for disability justice and the dismantling of ableism in society. ### Link to Rabbi Belser's Book: "Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole" ### Episode Highlights The two discuss the new book "Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole.” (2:13) Rabbi Watts Belser explains the Bible and the imagery of disability. (5:03) Is there a way to do charitable work in a religious context without being paternalistic to people with disabilities?(6:42) Interpretations of certain religious texts that are central to our cultural beliefs? (9:34) Where do disabled and non-disabled people go from here? (19:01) Rabbi Watts Belser reads an excerpt from her book "Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole.” (21:28) ### About Rabbi Julia Watts Belser Julia Watts Belser is a Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, as well as core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program and a Senior Research Fellow at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Her research centers on gender, sexuality, and disability in rabbinic literature, as well as queer feminist Jewish ethics and theology. She directs Disability and Climate Change: A Public Archive Project, an initiative that documents the wisdom and insights of disabled activists, artists, and first responders on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Her work brings ancient texts into conversation with disability studies, queer theory, feminist thought, and environmental ethics. She has held faculty fellowships at Harvard Divinity School and the Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Rabbinic Tales of Destruction: Gender, Sex, and Disability in the Ruins of Jerusalem (Oxford University Press, 2018) and Power, Ethics, and Ecology: Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Her most recent book is Loving Our Own Bones: Disability Wisdom and the Spiritual Subversiveness of Knowing Ourselves Whole (Beacon Press, 2023; published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton). A rabbi and a longtime advocate for disability and gender justice, Belser writes queer feminist Jewish theology and brings disability arts and culture into conversation with Jewish tradition. She co-authored an international Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities (Hesperian Foundation, 2007), developed in collaboration with disability activists from 42 countries and translated into 14 languages, designed to help challenge the root causes of poverty, gender violence, and disability discrimination. She’s an avid wheelchair hiker, a lover of wild places, and a passionate supporter of disability dance. Reference:


Disability in Animation

What is Crip Animation and how does it challenge ableist perceptions? On this episode of The Pulse with Joeita Gupta, Joeita welcomes Slava Greenberg. The two discuss how animation can subvert norms and challenge ableist perceptions, inviting audiences to rethink their understanding of disability. Slava Greenberg, the author of 'Animated Film and Disability: Cripping Spectatorship', explains that cripping spectatorship involves reimagining film theory and spectatorship to include all senses and perspectives, not just vision. They also explore the value of blinding and deafening the spectator in films to challenge the primacy of vision and create a more inclusive cinematic experience. The conversation touches on the intersections of trans and disabled experiences and the potential for animation to evoke transformative and imaginative futures. Overall, the discussion highlights the importance of crip animation in creating a disability-inclusive world. Link to Slava’s book: “Animated Film and Disability: Gripping Spectatorship” - Episode Highlights “Spectatorship” in Film Theory (2:28) What does “Cripping Spectatorship” mean? (5:00) How experience of being trans and disabled led Slava to animation (9:09) “Blinding and Deafening the Spectator” in cinema (11:17) Value of shifting the gaze away from able-bodied perspective in filmmaking (17:00) Slava reads excerpt from his book 'Animated Film and Disability: Cripping Spectatorship' (23:18) About Slava Greenberg Slava Greenberg is an Assistant Professor of Film in the Department of Media Studies at University of Amsterdam's Faculty of Humanities and Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. Previously, he served as a Casden Institute postdoctoral fellow at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and Department of Gender and Sexuality Studies. Greenberg's research and practice, grounded in disability studies (particularly Crip theory and Mad studies), transgender studies, and feminist film theory, concern the potential of emerging media forms to produce embodied transformative experiences for audiences. Greenberg is the author of Animated Film and Disability: Cripping Spectatorship (Indiana University Press, 2023). His articles have been published in journals such as Film Quarterly, Transgender Studies Quarterly, Animation, The Moving Image, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Review of Disability Studies, and Jewish Film and New Media. He regularly contributes to various field-defining anthologies, including those on disability and documentary, accent studies, queer television studies, and new media. Currently, he is writing his second book, Gender Dysphoria: An Unauthorized Biography, which examines the trans-crip histories and cultures of dysphoria from the Reed Erickson papers to contemporary pop representations. Reference:


Accessibility at the 2022 FIFA World Cup

This week, Joeita speaks to Ahmed Habib, an accessibility consultant based out of Doha, Qatar about the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the legacy of access left behind by the game. This is the September 16, 2023 edition


Designing Inclusive Post-Secondary Education

This week, Joeita speaks to Patty Douglas, inaugural Chair of Student Success at Queen's University about disability-inclusive approaches to higher education.This is the September 9, 2023 edition


Disability and Transnational Adoption

This week, Joeita speaks to Lydia XZ Brown about disability and transnational adoption. This is the August 31, 2023 edition


Annahid Dashtgard on "Bones of Belonging: Finding Wholeness in a White World"

This week, Joeita speaks to inclusivity coach and social justice activist Annahid Dashtgard about "Bones of Belonging" her collection of essays exploring being a woman of colour. This is the August 24, 2023 edition


Rena Katz: Exploring Intergenerational Trauma and the Holocaust

This week, Joeita speaks to author Rena Lipiner Katz about her new book "A Life Inherited: Unraveling the Trauma of a Second-Generation Holocaust Survivor".This is the August 17, 2023 edition


Blind Painter John Bramblitt: Painting in the Dark

This week, Joeita speaks to award-winning blind painter John Bramblitt about his artistic process, techniques, and sources of inspiration. This is the August 10, 2023 edition


Disability Representation Behind the Camera

This week, Joeita speaks to disabled filmmaker Nasreen Alkhateeb, about some of her ongoing projects and why disability representation behind the camera matters. This is the August 3, 2023 edition


Disability on Stage

This week, Joeita speaks to playwright, actor, and director Debbie Patterson, who is the first wheelchair-using performer at the Stratford Festival. This is the July 27, 2023 edition


Let's Rent a Train: A new documentary on the League for Socialist Action

This week, Joeita speaks to Doug Williams, producer, director, and writer of Let's Rent a Train, a new documentary exploring the history of the League for Socialist Action in Toronto. This is the July 20, 2023 edition


Making Braille Art

This week, Joeita speaks to blind visual artist Clarke Reynolds about his artistic journey and why he incorporates Braille as an artistic medium. This is the July 13, 2023 edition Explore Clarke Reynolds' art at his website: