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Christopher Newell Tributes

27/06/2008

I recently heard the sad news that Australian academic Christopher Newell has died at the age of 44.  Many tributes are being paid through the Society for Disability Studies lists and elsewhere, and Beth Haller has pulled together obituaries and a full collection of references to Newell’s work at her Media-dis-n-dat blog at http://media-dis-n-dat.blogspot.com/2008/06/australia-loses-top-bioethicist.html.

I knew very little about Christopher Newell, having only read his publications in the field of disability and communication technologies. I now discover this was only a fraction of the important work that Newell constributed to Disability Studies and wider academe. 

For me, his book 2003 book Digital Disability: The Social Construction of Disability in New Media, written with Gerard Goggin, is still the seminal text for those examining this digital divide and was the first concrete text I could find that distinguished disabled experience against more generic socio-cultural critiques of embodiment in virtual spaces.  It is still a landmark in understanding regarding the intersection between disability and new media.

One Comment leave one →
  1. 10/10/2008 11:32 pm

    Hello
    I am one of Christopher’s first cousins – the eldest actually – and I already deeply miss Christopher even though our paths did not cross often
    I was able to fly from Melbourne to Hobart for his funeral – but I had to return to Melbourne on the same day and therefore did not get to speak to very many people about anything
    My love and thoughts and prayers are with Christopher’s parents. Through many years they have been a great support to me and I hate it that they have to go through the untimely death of their first child as I did 22 years ago when my son died.
    At the moment I am working with some people in the United
    States trying to find a way to obtain and maintain proper care and medication for people with Chronic Pain. Christopher knew I was doing this and I have an on-line ministry that takes up a lot of my time and I feel honoured to be doing it
    I feel honoured that Christopher is my cousin – Christopher’s ill health and my own and living in different States meant we did not see each other much at all – but I have read some of Christopher’s writing. He sent me some a couple of years back
    So I am sad that my cousin has died – yet glad that his work will continue

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