Beginning with Disability
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While there are many introductions to disability and disability studies, most presume an advanced academic knowledge of a range of subjects. Beginning with Disability is the first introductory primer for disaibility studies aimed at first year students in two- and four-year colleges. This volume of essays across disciplines—including education, sociology, communications, psychology, social sciences, and humanities—features accessible, readable, and relatively short chapters that do not require specialized knowledge.
Lennard Davis, along with a team of consulting editors, has compiled a number of blogs, vlogs, and other videos to make the materials more relatable and vivid to students. "Subject to Debate" boxes spotlight short pro and con pieces on controversial subjects that can be debated in class or act as prompts for assignments.
Table of Contents
Part I. Defining Disability Part II. Deafness and Deaf Culture Part III. The History of Disability Part IV. Disability, Identity, and Social Justice Part V. Experiencing Disability Part VI. Disability and Culture Part VII. The Disability Yet to Come Part VIII. Subject to Debate
Lennard J. Davis is Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the departments of Disability and Human Development, English, and Medical Education. He is the author of Enabling Acts: The Hidden Story of How the Americans with Disabilities Act Gave the Largest US Minority Its Rights; Obsession: A History; Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body; Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism and Other Difficult Positions; and The End of Normal: Identity in a Biocultural Era. He is also the editor of Routledge's Disability Studies Reader.
Jay Dolmage is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of English at the University of Waterloo in Canada. He is the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies and the author of award-winning books and articles on disability and rhetoric.
Nirmala Erevelles is Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Alabama. Her research focuses on the unruly, messy, unpredictable, and taboo body in the intersecting areas of disability studies, critical race theory, transnational feminism, sociology of education, and postcolonial studies. Her book Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Towards a Transformative Body Politic was published by Palgrave in November 2012.
Sarah Parker Harris is an Associate Professor and the Director of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her interdisciplinary areas of scholarship include Disability Studies, Social Policy, and Sociology. She is co-author of Disability Through the Lifecourse (SAGE Reference Series on Disability). Her current research projects focus on comparative and national disability policy and legislation, employment, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship, and theories of social justice, human rights, and citizenship.
Alexander Luft is a Ph.D. candidate in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago. His fiction has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Yemassee, The Coachella Review, and other literary journals. He worked as a research assistant on the fifth edition Routledge’s Disability Studies Reader.
Susan Schweik is Professor of English and Disability Studies at University of California, Berkeley and author of The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public (NYU Press, 2009). Her new book in progress concerns IQ testing, eugenics, institutionalization, and a group of incarcerated so-called "feeble-minded" women whose collective work in the Depression profoundly challenged all these things.
Linda Ware has published widely in leading journals that evidence her interdisciplinary interests in disability studies—Hypatia, Equity and Excellence, National Women’s Studies Journal, Disability Studies Quarterly, Journal of Teacher Education, Learning Disability Quarterly, Research in Disability Studies, International Journal of Inclusive Education, Review of Disability Studies, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. Her edited book Ideology and the Politics of (In)Exclusion (2004, Peter Lang) launched the conversation on disability studies in education within an international context. She is also completing work on Critical Readings in Interdisciplinary Disability Studies: An International Reader (Springer).
Beginning with Disability: A Primer brings together a collection of renowned and emergent scholars to offer an exciting and accessible introduction to the interdisciplinary field of disability studies. An excellent resource for those new to this field.
Dan Goodley, Professor of Disability Studies and Education, University of Sheffield
Davis has deftly curated an indispensable introduction to the field of disability studies. With its accessible and engaging prose, Beginning with Disability: A Primer is the disability studies 101 text that will be required reading for every introductory course in the field.
Beth A. Ferri, Professor of Inclusive Education and Disability Studies, Syracuse University
Beginning with Disability gathers established and emerging disability studies scholars and disability activists to reflect on what it means to center disability in analyses of history, culture, politics, and lived experience. The result is a powerfully diverse array of methods, archives and voices, and a series of thought-provoking questions that will be an asset to college instructors and students of disability studies at all levels.
Julie Passanante Elman, Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, University of Missouri and author of Chronic Youth: Disability, Sexuality, and U.S. Media Cultures of Rehabilitation
Beginning with Disability is an indispensable resource for scholars and students of disability studies. For students new to the field, it offers a clear and accessible introduction to the major interventions and ongoing debates in the field; for more seasoned scholars, it compiles classic texts in one location for convenient reference.
Julie Avril Minich, Assistant Professor of English and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies, University of Texas at Austin
With zest, Beginning with Disability shows us the social relations that make disability a complex set of meanings, experiences, and ways of knowing that should no longer be taken-for-granted. The various works collected here together with the compelling use of examples from popular culture promise to makes this Primer a great one—enabling us to encounter the significance of the mystery that disability is all around us, but as Davis says, "it's often hiding in plain sight."
Tanya Titchkosky, Professor of Disability Studies, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto and Author of Disability, Self and Society, Reading and Writing Disability Differently, and The Question of Access: Disability, Space, Meaning