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Concepts, Models, and Experiments

Disability

Melanie Yergeau

1 Leave a comment on paragraph 1 0 University of Michigan | http://kuiama.net

2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 The official reviewing period for this keyword has ended, and commenting is closed. You may also wish to read the description of the anthology, guidelines on how to comment, and the list of keywords.

CURATORIAL STATEMENT

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 Many institutional statements on disability fixate on numbers. Numbers can be particularly alarmist artifacts. They call upon imagery of burden, worry, and distant hopes of rehabilitation. Numbers tell us that disabled students increasingly enroll in college every year. Numbers also tell us that disabled students face higher attrition rates than their nondisabled peers, and, even among those who graduate, disabled students face fewer employment prospects (Belch; Getzel and Thoma).

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 Of course, as with any terministic screen, numbers hide things. Numbers do not reveal how many disabled faculty and staff work at colleges and universities, at least not reliably still (Kerschbaum and Price). Numbers also suggest that upward of 90% of Internet spaces remain inaccessible to users of adaptive technologies, and yet the very framing of certain technology as “adaptive” obscures the extent and reaches of accessibility as a rhetorical and socio-technological problem (Oswal and Hewett). Even more, numbers indicate the dearth of resources available to disabled people on college campuses, wherein student services, digital media centers, libraries, and counseling services struggle to meet student demand. Yet, these numbers are partial and often encourage still more labor from those who are already most over-extended.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 If it weren’t already clear, this curation holds some ambivalence toward numbers, central as they are to disability and curricula. This isn’t to say that the numbers aren’t true, or that the problems they intimate aren’t real or widely felt. But to rely on numbers as an exigency suggests that disability is only important to consider when it impacts the nondisabled (i.e., disability could happen to any of us at any time). These are, of course, the struggles of many minoritarian discourses: How to make others care?

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 2 This particular curation examines disability’s exigences by means of topics that bristle against numbers, that locate their exigences not by means of disability’s burden but disability’s representation. Students who have taken disability studies courses frequently relate that it is hard to unsee disability, in the world writ large, after they’ve taken such a class. Attention to disability, whether in a class exercise or major assignment, has tremendous potential to reshape the ways in which students come to understand themselves and the world around them. In this regard, representation often holds a dual meaning in disability-oriented pedagogy. First, if we return to dreaded numbers, we might direct our thinking from “how many people have disabilities and how do we help them?” to “how, where, and to what extent are disabled voices being amplified”? With the latter question, there’s a move from assisting and curing toward organizing and agency. We can ask this question in terms of self-representation, or how disabled people are given space and opportunity to narrate their own experiences. We can also ask this question in terms of other-representation, or how nondisabled people effect representations of disability.

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 These questions concerning representation have significantly evolved over the past twenty years. In 1998, Simi Linton famously claimed that humanistic fields were perhaps the most hospitable spaces for teaching disability studies. Her argument, in effect, concerned the ways in which allied health fields—in particular, medicine, psychology, and special education—conceived disability purely as a phenomenon in need of fixing, as numbers that should inspire fear in us all. In short, such classes tend to imagine cohorts of nondisabled students who will, in their future careers, serve as helpers and fixers—this, as opposed to a pedagogical focus on systems change, culture, or identity. Over the past decade, disability studies has expanded well beyond Linton’s earlier framework. As Elizabeth Brewer and Brenda Brueggemann note in their survey of articles published in Disability Studies Quarterly between 2000–2012, the field has grown considerably more interdisciplinary, and considerably more mediated.

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 The mediation of disability studies has largely to do with conflicting affordances and drawbacks of digital spaces for disability activism. But it also has to do with other questions about representation, not only about nondisabled people and ideologies of ability, but the ways in which disability studies and activism has represented itself. As many of the artifacts below contend, disability studies has been a concertedly white and classed project (Schalk). As a white disabled academic, I write this sentence with no small irony. Disabled people of color are routinely erased from the narratives we tell about the field and its histories. As well, academic spaces are spaces of distinct class and educational privilege. As teachers, we need to consider the ways in which our classrooms, and our own positions and privilege, recreate the dynamics that disability studies has long sought to dismantle: that of the distal researcher studying marginal subjects, without their consent in the subjects that concern them most.

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 In laying out the above, my hope is that those who are new to disability studies will not come to these artifacts with yet more trepidation. Rather, I hope that these dynamics, many of them painful, might inspire questions, hopes, ideas, and, as Jay Dolmage says, “places to start.” Whose voices are we amplifying in the texts that we assign or analyze?

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 The artifacts below are not exhaustive introductions to disability studies, but they provide entry points for considering the many valences of the field—its erasures, its emerging conversations, and its complicated relationships with digital pedagogy. Thematically, these artifacts might be conceptualized as resources that highlight human rights issues, theorize intersectionality and identity, relate the potentialities as well as the incommensurabilities of multimodal texts, and/or provide archival and information clearinghouses for teachers, activists, and researchers. As well, these artifacts complicate and “crip” what we might term academic texts. Such conversations about power and the academy are important in disability studies, and they can spark robust discussions in the classroom about norms, genre, identity, and composing.

CURATED ARTIFACTS

Developing and Reflecting on a Black Disability Studies Pedagogy

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13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 This comprehensive article troubles disability studies and its elisions of Black disability, as well as African American and African diaspora studies. The article explores the contours of what Black Disability Studies (BDS) might mean both as a curricular agent and a discipline unto itself, while also resisting a definition or singular construction of BDS. The authors pose a series of meditations on their experiences as faculty, students, and activists in disability studies classes and the field writ large. The article concludes with an outline of a course themed on Black Disabled Experience, which includes learning objectives, core competencies, and a list of course readings. The authors note that these resources could be used in service of a stand-alone BDS course, but they could also be used in service of radically reimagining other courses. For example, while this article will strike instructors as being incredibly generative and paradigm-changing for graduate courses or teacher training, it can also be a powerful read in undergraduate courses. Students, for example, might consider how and where to re/narrate intersections of blackness, identity, and/or disability in courses they have taken, and to think critically about their own positionalities and the paucity of such conversations or texts in their classes. As well, students might be encouraged to design their own BDS resources and to make their work accessible to broader publics online.

Disability in KidLit

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16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 Disability in KidLit is a multi-authored site that examines representations of disability in young adult and children’s literature. Importantly, as the editors note, the articles in Disability and KidLit privilege the perspectives of disabled people, and the call for submissions emphasizes that only disabled people can submit contributions to the site. The editorial call here diverges radically from most scholarship on disability and literature, emphasizing, in particular, that the site works to dispel the “problematic portrayals of disability” that tend to permeate young adult literature and other media representations. The website is vast, accessibly designed, and meticulously organized. Users can search for content according to grade level, genre, disability type, or assistive tool type. The website serves as a welcome resource to instructors in K12 and in college, as well as librarians. To begin, instructors might encourage students to read the many interviews hosted on the site, most of which feature disabled writers. These interviews can be illuminating for creative writers or digital storytellers, especially those who are thinking through the ethics of writing (and representing) disabled characters.

Disability Rhetoric

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19 Leave a comment on paragraph 19 0 Created by Amy Vidali in 2009, Disability Rhetoric is a project of the Disability Standing Group at the Conference of College Composition and Communication (CCCC). Currently maintained by Dev Bose, Disability Rhetoric hosts a number of resources related to teaching and research in disability studies, including syllabi, bibliographies, job postings, and calls for papers. While the website’s exigence emerges from the field of rhetoric and composition, the bibliographies and syllabi traverse remarkable breadth, moving across topics and fields such as phenomenology, queer studies, affect theory, design and digital studies, and feminism. Relatedly, the standing group also runs a (co)mentoring program for interested scholars at different stages in their careers, and visitors to the website can find blog posts written by emerging DS scholars on the DisRhet blog. To begin, instructors might consult the site’s resource guides that suggest best practices for accessible pedagogy and design, such as “Resources on Writing Image Descriptions” or the many lesson plans on universal design and creating accessible (virtual and physical) spaces.

Disability Studies, Temple U.

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22 Leave a comment on paragraph 22 0 The Disability Studies at Temple blog might be better termed a blog hub or blog conglomerate than a singular blog. For those wishing to delve into the digital world of disability activism, blogging spaces represent an important place to start, both historically and contemporarily. Boasting over a decade of work, the DS at Temple blog curates and hosts links to dozens of current and archived disability blogs, most of which are locatable on the seemingly never-ending sidebar. These blogs range considerably, both in terms of types of disability identities as well as in bloggers’ relationships to disability (e.g., disabled person, parent, sibling, researcher). Of course, Disability Studies, Temple U. is a blog in its own right, and its contributors regularly weigh in on disability issues and participate in disability blog carnivals, such as the long-running Blogging Against Disablism Day. In my classes, the blog has served a generative starting point for students’ work on their own blog carnival projects, in which they synthesize 10–12 blog posts on a topic of interest (e.g., disability and sports, disability and immigration, disability and digital access).

Judge Rotenberg Center Living Archive

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25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 The Judge Rotenberg Center (JRC) is an institution that uses aversive contingent electric shock on its disabled students, many of whom are children. Located in Canton, MA, the JRC has been recipient of increased scrutiny for its shock devices, which the Center forces students to wear via backpack. As Lydia Brown notes, these devices are “intentionally designed to be more powerful and painful than a police taser,” and the U.N. has declared JRC’s practices as tantamount to torture. The JRC Living Archive, created and maintained by Brown, is an expansive repository that hosts a number of documents, including survivor testimonies, trial coverage documents, media reports, governmental memoranda, op-eds, and posters and ephemera from disability rights protests, among other resources. While the reading is disturbing and covers extremely violent content, the Archive can serve as a tremendous resource for those who work or teach on activism and human rights issues.

Krip-Hop Nation

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28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Krip-Hop Nation, founded by Leroy Moore in 2007, actively promotes the work and representation of disabled Hip-Hop artists. In particular, Krip-Hop Nation works to educate teachers and those in the media industry about disabled artists and disability music history (from the distant past to the immediate present), with a concerted focus on what Moore has termed AfroKrip performance. The Krip-Hop website is home to a prolific blog, in which Moore conducts interviews and writes on topics spanning African American Studies, poetry, police brutality, Black Disability Studies, and lyric analysis. The site likewise hosts videos of Krip-Hop performances, lectures, and campaigns that showcase a number of disabled artists. With its highly mediated web presence, Krip-Hop Nation provides extensive resources for those learning or teaching about disability, race, representation, performance, and/or poetry. In class, the site can serve as a jumping-off point for many discussions or modes of analysis, ranging from conversations on multimodal/crip poetics and Black Lives Matter to accessible web design and disability cultures.

Modes of Embodiment: MULTI MODE ACCESS

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31 Leave a comment on paragraph 31 0 A collaboration between Hamraie and their students, this website is a collaboratively organized conference developed as part of Hamraie’s 2015 Bionic Bodies, Cyborg Cultures course. Organized across modes, the website provides material access through text, audio recordings, PowerPoint slides, and an active tweetstream. The conference site provides not only an example of an accessible website, but it likewise models robust collaborative pedagogy. Hamraie notes that Master’s students organize and moderate the panels, taking communal responsibility for advertising and running the conference. As well, the conference routinely extends beyond the contours of the class. Community members attend sessions, and people external to Vanderbilt participate in the conversation via Twitter.

NeuroQueer

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34 Leave a comment on paragraph 34 0 NeuroQueer (NQ) is a multi-authored blog that publishes cross-genre work that spans disability and queer studies. A mashup of the words neurologically queer, the term neuroqueer signals an emerging movement that seeks to build coalitions among people who may variously identify as mad, neurodivergent, disabled, and/or queer. The NQ blog, in particular, prizes and embodies hybridity, seeking to reach activist and academic audiences alike. Contributors include emerging activist voices as well as established authors (novelists, poets, dramaturgs, and scholars), each seeking to push the bounds of disability culture and activism. Given the complexity and discursive breadth (queering?) of the blog, instructors might find the introductory posts, linked from the sidebar, to be particularly generative starting points for class discussions.

SQUARE 8: Squawk About Disability and Society

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37 Leave a comment on paragraph 37 0 Even though it hasn’t been updated since 2015, SQUARE 8, as with Krip-Hop Nation, represents among the most mediated and resourced examples of disability activism blogs. Run by Bev Harp, SQUARE 8 has led a number of internet campaigns over the past decade, ranging from 2015’s Autism Acceptance Challenge to 2010’s Late Intervention Campaign, the latter of which wryly targeted the curative and often child-centric focus of autism research. Readers of SQUARE 8 may find its video posts useful in a variety of contexts, including conversations related to disability, gender, and professionalization more generally. Many of Harp’s videos, such as “Perseveration in the Workplace,” deconstruct ableist and sexist notions of what it means to be collegial, punctual, interested, and professional.

“Why I Mind”

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40 Leave a comment on paragraph 40 0 In this six-minute video, Brueggemann stories through the common refrain that deaf people face when asking others to repeat words and conversations: “never mind.” Using a combination of audio narration, subtitles, visuals, and ASL, Brueggemann leads viewers through the story of Carl Dupree, a Gallaudet student who was killed by police while trying to sign. The screenshot featured here depicts Brueggemann’s subtitled version of “Why I Mind,” whereas the second linked URL directs to the uncaptioned version. When leading workshops on captioning and disability, Brueggemann typically asks viewers to watch both versions, paying close attention to the rhetorical affordances of the captioned video. As well, Brueggemann at times plays a third variant of the videos, using YouTube’s auto-caption feature on the uncaptioned video. Auto-caption, on the whole, results in wildly inaccurate captions, but also, as Brueggemann notes, can generate a kind of found disability poetry.

RELATED MATERIALS

41 Leave a comment on paragraph 41 0 Dolmage, Jay. “Universal Design: Places to Start.” http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/4632/3946

42 Leave a comment on paragraph 42 0 Faust Films and Diane Wilkins. “Annie Dearest.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXNUN5OCZdY

43 Leave a comment on paragraph 43 0 Gosling, Ju. “I Want to Help the Handicapped.” http://ju90.co.uk/help/eng/help1.htm

44 Leave a comment on paragraph 44 0 Rhett & Link. “CAPTION FAIL: Lady Gaga Putt-Putt Rally.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVNrkXM3TTI

45 Leave a comment on paragraph 45 0 Wood, Caitlin (ed.). Criptiques. https://criptiques.com/

WORKS CITED

46 Leave a comment on paragraph 46 0 Belch, Holley A. “Retention and Students With Disabilities.” Journal of College Student Retention, 6.1 (2004): 3–22.

47 Leave a comment on paragraph 47 0 Brewer, Elizabeth, and Brenda Brueggemann. “The View from DSQ.” Disability Studies Quarterly, 34.2 (2014): http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/4258/3598

48 Leave a comment on paragraph 48 0 Brown, Lydia. “Judge Rotenberg Center Living Archive.” https://autistichoya.net/judge-rotenberg-center/

49 Leave a comment on paragraph 49 0 Brueggemann, Brenda. “Why I Mind.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoNR6EWT7D4

50 Leave a comment on paragraph 50 0 Dunhamn, Jane, Jerome Harris, Shancia Jarrett, Leroy Moore, Akemi Nishida, Margaret Price, Britney Robinson, and Sami Schalk. “Developing and Reflecting on a Black Disability Studies Pedagogy: Work from the National Black Disability Coalition.” Disability Studies Quarterly, 35.2 (2015). http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/4637/3933

51 Leave a comment on paragraph 51 0 Duyvis, Corinne, Kayla Whaley, Natasha Razi, Yahong Chi, and Kody Keplinger, eds. Disability in KidLit. http://disabilityinkidlit.com/

52 Leave a comment on paragraph 52 0 Getzel, Elizabeth E., and Colleen A. Thoma. “Experiences of College Students With Disabilities and the Importance of Self-Determination in Higher Education Settings.” Career Development for Exceptional Individuals, 31.2 (2008): 77–84.

53 Leave a comment on paragraph 53 0 Grace, Elizabeth J. (Ibby), Dani Ryskamp, Michael Monje Jr., and Nick Walker, eds. NeuroQueer. http://neuroqueer.blogspot.com/

54 Leave a comment on paragraph 54 0 Hamraie, Aimi, and Informational Access Design Team at Vanderbilt University. Modes of Embodiment: MULTI MODE ACCESS. https://multimodeaccess.wordpress.com/

55 Leave a comment on paragraph 55 0 Harp, Bev. SQUARE 8: Squawk About Disability in Society. http://aspergersquare8.blogspot.com/

56 Leave a comment on paragraph 56 0 Kerschbaum, Stephanie, and Margaret Price. “Flexibility and Its Discontents: Designing Accessible Spaces and Assignments.” Lecture at the University of Michigan, Institute for the Humanities. September 2014.

57 Leave a comment on paragraph 57 0 Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York: NYU P, 1998.

58 Leave a comment on paragraph 58 0 Moore, Leroy. Krip-Hop Nation. http://kriphopnation.com/

59 Leave a comment on paragraph 59 0 Oswal, Sushil K., and Beth L. Hewett. “Accessibility Challenges for Visually Impaired Students and Their Online Writing Instructors.” Rhetorical AccessAbility. Ed. Lisa Meloncon. Amityville, NY: Baywood Press, 2011. 135–155.

60 Leave a comment on paragraph 60 0 Richards, Penny, Mike Dorn, and Carol Marfisi. Disability Studies, Temple U. http://disstud.blogspot.com/

61 Leave a comment on paragraph 61 0 Schalk, Sami. “Coming to Claim Crip: Disidentification with/in Disability Studies.” Disability Studies Quarterly, 33.2 (2013). http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3705/3240

62 Leave a comment on paragraph 62 0 Taylor, Julie L., and Marsha M. Seltzer. “Employment and Post-Secondary Educational Activities for Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders During the Transition to Adulthood.” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 41.5 (2011): 566–574.

63 Leave a comment on paragraph 63 0 Vidali, Amy, and Dev Bose, with Hilary Selznick, Tara Wood, and Dale Ireland. Disability Rhetoric. http://disabilityrhetoric.com/

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Source: https://hcommons.org/keywords/disability/