From Disney villains, blind superheroes, and YA romances with cancer storylines, to sports injuries and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for disabled students, we see social dynamics of disability. According to the philosopher Susan Wendell, “the oppression of disabled people is the oppression of everyone’s real bodies” — and, we should add, our minds and emotions. If you care about social justice, this class will interest you, even if you have never thought much about disability before. What do disability perspectives reveal about what is considered normal and why “normalcy” seems to matter so much? What do they reveal about the effects of labeling and stigmatizing people’s identities? How does disability intersect with race, sexual identity, socioeconomic class, and gender?
And what do the words “out and proud” mean to you? For some disabled activists identifying as “crip,” these words convey resistance to demands for conformity. Some “crip” activists, writers, and artists are LGBTQAI+ activists identifying as “queer,” or inspired by queer activism and culture. Together we’ll explore how the language we use to talk about disability and the stories we tell might shift perspectives. For the major research project, students collaborate, interviewing people you know and composing narratives, then putting these stories in conversation with published scholarship in order to highlight, understand, and critique social dynamics of disability.