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In this course we will engage anti-racist feminist theory, disability (or ‘crip’) theory, and human geography to think critically about disability. We will draw on critical geographies of disability to understand the built environment and institutional design; geographic scales of the body and the bodymind; spaces of the home and institutions; and im/mobility and spatial access. We will also consider how disability is shaped by (and shapes) practices of care and mutual aid; experiences of embodiment and impairment; and structures of vulnerability and agency. The course will trace, historically, how ableism has been produced through slavery, colonization, surveillance, and incarceration as well as through movements like eugenics and white liberal feminism. The course will also analyze disability’s construction through medicalized notions of wellness, illness, pathology, and cure. Throughout the course, we will consider disability as intersecting with gender, race and ethnicity, queerness, trans*ness, fatness, class, nationality, and citizenship. Most centrally, we will ask: What is the spatiality of dis/ability, and how can space be occupied and reappropriated for radically inclusive uses? How can we understand both normality and deviance as socially constructed concepts that nonetheless have real, and uneven, implications for people’s lives?
Format: seminar; This class will be taught online only.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
Student participation; two short (2-pg) reflection papers; two longer (4-5-pg) papers; and a final (12-15 pg) research paper
WGSS and AMST majors; permission of instructor
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course satisfies the DPE requirement because it examines the political, social, and ideological constructions and theorizations of difference, power, and equity. The course explores the ways in which disability is mutually constructed with other axes of identity and difference, and how different groups of people have defined (and redefined) disability to meet various political aims.
WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses