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People Made Assumptions About Her Body, Now She Studies Embodiment: Meet Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock with her three sons.
Courtesy of Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock studies what it is like to live in the body of another person. She looks specifically at bodies that may make others uncomfortable, like those of people with memory loss or people who have bulimia. She transforms first-person interviews into performance pieces that explore perspectives on embodiment.

Scott-Pollock’s interest in understanding what it is like to live in another person’s body stems from the many incorrect assumptions other people have made about her own body throughout her life. Scott-Pollock has cerebral palsy, which gives her an atypical gait. She remembers people wrongly assuming that her condition was degenerative or that she would end up in a wheelchair.

Host Frank Stasio talks to Scott-Pollock about her work in performance ethnography and how her experience as a disabled woman* informs her research. She is an associate professor in communication studies at UNC-Wilmington and the director of UNCW Performance Studies.

*Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock rejects person-first language. She wants to use “disabled” as any other adjective to help remove the stigma commonly associated with disability that leads to people feeling that it must be treated differently than other identity markers.


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Amanda Magnus is the executive producer of Embodied, a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships and health. She has also worked on other WUNC shows including Tested and CREEP.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.