Elisabeth Woronzoff-Dashkoff

Elisabeth Woronzoff-Dashkoff is currently a doctoral candidate in the American Culture Studies program at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She studies and researches the ways women in music, both contemporary and historically, shape the gender, disability, political, and cultural boundaries of the independent and mainstream music industry.



"A Minor Representation as a Major Identity: Interviews with Musicians with Disabilities"

When cityscapes and musicscapes provide more barriers than opportunities, disabled musicians must create their own spaces that facilitate an empowered disabled and cultural identity. In this paper, I argue that geographic spaces and public culture do not consider the disabled musician as a cultural contributor and cityscapes hinder a disabled musicians access to public performances. However, there is a public presence of musicians with disabilities and their work disrupts the dominant understanding of ability, accessibility, and the capacities for cultural production.

With the help of the Ability Center Toledo (ACT), an organization that facilitates independent living for people with disabilities, I interviewed musicians with disabilities asking: Are cities constructed for the able-bodied rendering the disabled as secondary considerations? Is this reflected in musical contexts? Is musical production and performance a realm for the able-bodied only? Are there interplays between the challenges associated with navigating cityscapes and producing musicscapes? Does living in a city help or hinder how a person with disabilities participates in musical culture? Are music venues, stages, and public performance spaces equipped to facilitate a disabled musician? These interviews indicate that the musicians’ work disavows the able-body as the dominant body while imbuing the representations of disability with meaning and demonstrating the multitudes of the human form. I conclude that the work of the musicians with disabilities presents discursive potentiality that positions the disabled-body as a signifier of cultural, social, and political meaning.

My Speakers Sessions

Friday, March 23

4:00pm EDT