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Exploring the Fault Lines in Disability Studies

Year of Funding: 
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" poster with groups of people in wheelchairs

Disability Studies sits at the intersection of the humanities, social sciences, health sciences, and the professions by critiquing past and present societal responses towards people with disabilities and promoting the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in everyday life through emancipatory policies, practices, and discourses. A Disability Studies perspective cannot limit itself to the traditional arts and sciences, but must be included in all academic disciplines and professions, including law, public policy, education, social work, international studies, medicine, public health, engineering, computer science, architecture, the performing arts, and so forth. This conversation across disciplines and professions is not without challenges. Disability is understood in different ways and what “counts” as Disability Studies varies upon perspectives. Conversations that address issues of privilege, discrimination, bias, identity, and core beliefs in professional and academic disciplines can be challenging to manage. There are many “faultlines” that can result in miscommunication.

This research cluster brings diverse disciplinary and professional studies voices into conversation with each other to engage critical questions about the nature of Disability Studies as a core discipline and the location of its disciplinary boundaries. It engages questions about how disability identity and intersectionality play out both local and global contexts, challenges to implicit bias and patriarchal approaches to disability, and questions about who has the right to participate in disability emancipation activities and the role of advocates and allies. In doing so, it will:

  1. Cultivate a Disability Studies perspective across campus by inviting new faculty and graduate students into meaningful dialogue and research collaboration with the existing Disability Studies faculty.
  2. Support graduate students pursuing Disability Studies research by planning the creation of a Disability Studies Certificate.


Primary Contacts

Stephen Meyers (Law, Societies & Justice and International Studies)

Mark Harniss (Center for Technology and Disability Studies)

José Alaniz (Slavic Languages & Literature)

Clara Berridge (School of Social Work)

Sherrie Brown (College of Education)

Sara Goering (Philosophy)

Kurt Johnson (Rehabilitation Medicine)

Joanne Woiack (Disability Studies)