The role of historical events, politics, media, race, gender, and other issues in shaping how disability is viewed. A critical framework for understanding how disability is viewed in Western culture and the effects of those views on individuals with disabilities.
Education and services to children and adults with disabilities have traditionally approached disability from a deficit model. This perspective contributes to society’s understanding of the individual with disabilities as deviant, stigmatized, incompetent and marginal. These views are often reinforced by popular culture’s representation of disability in media and literature. This course is a survey of disability studies, a naturally multi-disciplinary field that strives to explore, critique, and advance Western culture’s understanding of disability. This course will introduce students to a critical framework for understanding how people with disabilities have experienced exclusion and marginalization because of personal and societal responses to their impairments. In this course we will examine the historical underpinnings of these understandings, examine their presence in our social culture, and then try to formulate an understanding of disability from other points of view, for example the constructionist perspective. We will also link the construction of disability to the constructions of race, gender, sexual orientation, and socio-economic class.
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