This is the "Disability Studies" page of the "Disability Rights, Studies & Justice" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Disability Rights, Studies & Justice   Tags: holistic learning program, knowledge commons  

Provides a background in the frameworks of disability history, disability as a field of academic study, and disability work within justice movements.
Last Updated: Nov 3, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Disability Studies Print Page

What are Disability Studies?

Disability Studies critiques the idea of disability as an individual medical flaw and nothing more. The field is the creation of space to complicate what are conventionally medical narratives by folding in historical, personal, and cultural contexts to examine how disability exists in the realms of healthcare, education, work, and countless other aspects of society.

Some key themes include independence vs. interdependence, shame and pride, body and death politics, incarceration and hospitalization, and disability intersection with class, race, gender, sexuality, nationality, and other identities. Some works focus on particular diagnoses (Deaf Studies, Mad Studies) while others generalize disability experience as a whole. Disability studies scholarship is often created by disabled people, but does not exclude non-disabled scholars.

  • The Society for Disability Studies
    The home of Disability Studies Quarterly and the SDS email listserv which constantly buzzes with conversation from some of the most respected scholars in the field.
  • The Disability Visibility Project
    Founded by Alice Wong (who visited the White House via robot), the project is “an online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture.”



Models of Disability

The medical model of disability sets forth the idea that it is the disability itself that diminishes a disabled person's quality of life.

The social model, as described by Stella Young below, argues that it is barriers in one's enviornment that hinders a person's ability to thrive, not the disability itself.


  • Disability Studies Quarterly
    "A multidisciplinary and international journal of interest to social scientists, scholars in the humanities, disability rights advocates, creative writers, and others concerned with the issues of people with disabilities."
  • Disability & The Global South
    "The first peer reviewed international journal committed to publishing high quality work focused exclusively on all aspects of the disability experience in the global South."
  • Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal
    A quarterly journal based at University of Hawaii at Manoa, the institution that hosts the annual Pacific Rim Conference on Disability & Diversity.

Loading  Loading...