Eyeing the Pedagogy of Trouble: The Cultural Documentation of the Problem-Subject


  • Devon Healey PhD candidate, Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto




Blindness, Emotion, Discomfort, Medicine, Imagination, Pedagogy, Identity, Trouble


Blindness lives in a world, one both organized and defined by the eye that sees itself as sighted. Seeing is believing, and this belief, eyes believe, is learning. But, what if the eyes that are “seeing” are “blind”? Do we believe these eyes as we do those that see? Do we learn from blind eyes as we do from sighted ones?

This paper seeks to question not only what sighted eyes see, but also what they imagine - what do they imagine they are seeing when they look? And, when sighted eyes look at blind eyes, what do they imagine they are seeing? Certainly, not sight. But what? If sight believes not only what it sees, but that it sees, then seeing blindness must be imagined as seeing “no sight”. Thus, blind eyes see nothing and cannot be believed, let alone learned from.

This paper will explore this conventional view of the blind/sight dichotomy and will do so through autobiography. This exploration is one that serves to provoke sighted imagination to go beyond what its conventional version of itself is - to go beyond what sight imagines blindness to be. Blindness can disrupt sight and such disruption often leads to discomfort, and this marks a critical site for re-imagining what we ordinarily see when we look at blindness. In this sense, blindness is teacher; but, like anything else, we must let blindness teach us. Thus, this paper seeks to develop a pedagogy that embraces the disruptive power of blindness. 

Author Biography

Devon Healey, PhD candidate, Social Justice Education, OISE, University of Toronto

Devon Healey is a PhD student in the department of Social Justice Education, OISE /U of T. Her work explores the performance and appearance of  blindness in everyday life. She is the 2016 winner of the Canadian Disability Studies Association 'Student Paper Competition' titled: "Eyeing the Pedagogy of Trouble: The Cultural Documentation of the Problem Subject".


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How to Cite

Healey, D. (2017). Eyeing the Pedagogy of Trouble: The Cultural Documentation of the Problem-Subject. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 6(1), 85–104. https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v6i1.334