1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Disability Studies

Edited By Katie Ellis, Mike Kent, Kim Cousins Copyright 2025
    418 Pages 9 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Disability impacts everyone in some way. Approximately 10-20% of the world’s population live with disability, and the associated issues affect not just these individuals but their friends, family and colleagues. When looking at it this way, it is strange that disability continues to be thought of as an anomaly — either as a medical problem located in a damaged body or something that exists exclusively outside the body, in a society that takes little account of non-normative bodies.

    Critical disability studies both questions these existing notions of disability and interrogates how they have become a part of the academic attitude towards the field. As the first comprehensive handbook on critical disability studies, this volume provides an authoritative overview of the subject. Including 32 chapters written by established scholars and emerging, next-generation researchers it also includes contributions from activists, writers, and practitioners from the global north and the global south.

    Divided into three parts: Representation, Art and Culture; Media, Technology and Communication; and Activism and the Life Course, it offers discussions on core critical disability studies topics including the social model, technology studies, trauma studies, representation and queer theory, as well as ground-breaking work on emerging and cutting-edge areas such as neurodiversity and critical approaches in the Middle East, United States, Australia and Europe.
    It is required reading for all academics and students working in not just critical disability studies but sociology, digital accessibility and inclusion, health and social care, and social and public policy more broadly.

    Chapter One – Introduction


    Part I – Representation, Art and Culture


    Chapter Two – Disability, intersectionality and decolonial perspectives from the Global South

    Anna Hickey-Moody and Divya Garg


    Chapter Three – Pandemic art and the intersection of disability and trauma studies

    Jennifer McKellar and Katie Ellis


    Chapter Four – Neurodiversity paradigm in art

    Jordan Alice Fyfe


    Chapter Five – Reinhabiting, reimagining, and recreating ableist spaces: Embodied criticality in art

    Bree Hadley, Eddie Paterson and Janice Rieger


    Chapter Six – A case of the blues:  Music, blindness, and citizenship

    Alex Lubet


    Chapter Seven – Making the outsider centre-stage: A conversation on leadership opportunities for artists with disabilities in Australian theatre

    Dan Graham and Suzanne Ingelbrecht


    Chapter Eight – Queer, crip, and anti-colonial theories in popular culture: De/Constructing normativity in Disney’s The Owl House

    Chloe T Rattray and Amy Shields Dobson


    Chapter Nine – Articulating the self: Disability rhetorics, autobiographical comics and the case of David Small’s Stitches

    Dale Jacobs and Jay Dolmage


    Chapter Ten – Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Not a supercrip

    Amber E George


    Chapter Eleven – Force of nature, forced by society: Rethinking Shakespeare’s Richard III

    Chloe T Rattray and Suzanne Inglebrecht


    Chapter Twelve – Precarity and the global dispossession of indigeneity through representations of disability

    David T Mitchell


    Part II – Media, Technology and Communication


    Chapter Thirteen – Neurodiversity and the internet: Challenging the dominant autism narratives in Indonesia



    Chapter Fourteen – Centering disabled Americans’ writings about the Covid-19 pandemic: A Critical Disability Studies analysis

    Emily Brooks and Beth Haller


    Chapter Fifteen – Indigenous sign languages in Australia

    Cassandra Wright-Dole


    Chapter Sixteen – A comparative study of Australia and Brazil:  approaches to the UNCRPD and digital access

    Matheus Ferreira


    Chapter Seventeen – Vision Australia’s use of podcasts

    Saadia Ahmed


    Chapter Eighteen – Transhuman liminalities and the othered body: Exploring disability and superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    Lorna Piatti-Farnell


    Chapter Nineteen – Redefining access in the smart city

    Kathryn Locke


    Chapter Twenty – Disability and the Social Construction of Technology

    Kai-Ti Kao


    Chapter Twenty-one – Take a selfie: Paralympic athletes on social media

    Tatiane Hilgemberg


    Chapter Twenty-two – Disability’s right to the Smart City: A manifesto for the emergent future

    Kuansong Victor Zhuang and Gerard Goggin

    Chapter Twenty-three – Disability and digital public health communication: Gamification and accessibility

    Sian Tomkinson


    Part III - Activism and the Life Course


    Chapter Twenty-four – Inclusion without access: Policing encounters with Deafness

    Elaine Cagulada and Tanya Titchkosky


    Chapter Twenty-five – Disability and activism in Oman  

    Najma Al Zidjaly


    Chapter Twenty-six – Invisible disability, Instagram, and health communications

    Stephanie Mantilla, Jennifer Smith-Merry and Gerard Goggin


    Chapter Twenty-seven – Singing from the same song-sheet: Harnessing the human rights framework through critical disability studies to achieve inclusive education

    Catia Malaquias


    Chapter Twenty-eight – Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit):  Past, Present and Future – an overview

    Beth A Ferri, David J Connor and Subini A Annamma


    Chapter Twenty-nine – Liveable disabilities: Life courses and opportunity structures across time in Sweden

    Lotta Vikström, Josefine Wälivaara and Karin Ljuslinder


    Chapter Thirty – Autocriticality and interdisciplinarity: Personal-professional applications of the tripartite model of disability 

    David Bolt


    Chapter Thirty-one – Speculative Net Zero from the margins

    Philip Ely, Katie Ellis, Natarsha Bates, Nathon Webber and Jordan Fyfe


    Chapter Thirty-two – ‘Doing’ disability research, ethically: A self-critique of a participatory disability research project

    Tim Pitman


    Katie Ellis is Professor in Internet Studies and Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology at Curtin University.

    Mike Kent is Associate Professor and Head of School for Media, Creative Arts and Social Enquiry at Curtin University, Australia.

    Kim Cousins is a Research Assistant and Sessional Academic with the Centre for Culture and Technology and the School of Media, Creative Arts & Social Inquiry at Curtin University.