© 2024 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

CoastLine: Understanding Disability Through Performance Ethnography

Dr. Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock and her three sons

People who have disabilities, particularly physical ones, face what some social justice activists call “ableism”.  Disability Research Scholar Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock defines the term as “a cultural discourse that stigmatizes and marginalizes bodies deemed not normal through medical diagnosis”. 

Not only has she studied the perceptions of people around disabled bodies – which includes bodies that are aging – she’s grown up experiencing them through a body that lives with cerebral palsy. 

Today, she’s challenging concepts that support ableism – through what she calls performance ethnography.  The goal:  to embody the person we think of as “the other” and develop empathy – which might also lead to the disintegration of assumptions and power structures. 


Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of  Communications Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is Director of The UNCW Storytellers, Hawk Tale Players, and Just Us: Performance Troupe for Social Justice, and the co-director of UNCW Performance Ethnography.

She has published articles on autoethnography, narrative performance research, and pedagogy.  This year, Palgrave MacMillan published her book Embodied Performance as Applied Research, Art and Pedagogy.

Rachel hosts and produces CoastLine, an award-winning hourlong conversation featuring artists, humanitarians, scholars, and innovators in North Carolina. The show airs Wednesdays at noon and Sundays at 2 pm on 91.3 FM WHQR Public Media. It's also available as a podcast; just search CoastLine WHQR. You can reach her at rachellh@whqr.org.
Rachel is a graduate of UNCW's Master of Public Administration program, specializing in Urban and Regional Policy and Planning. She also received a Master of Education and two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and French Language & Literature from NC State University. She served as WHQR's News Fellow from 2017-2019. Contact her by email: rkeith@whqr.org or on Twitter @RachelKWHQR