Disability portrayed as residing within the individual reproduces a medical model where a person's identity is presumed to be a problem needing remediation. A social model of disability recognizes that while impairment can affect interactions, disability results from societal barriers. Ableism, the privileging of normalcy, emerges from the medical perspective discriminating against individuals with disabilities. Seeing disability as a social identity can challenge ableist notions of a “normal” body or mind expanding our understandings of learning, community, accessibility, politics, and equity within higher education. This session examines issues of inclusion related to disability and anti-ableist efforts in higher education.
Session Goals and Outcomes Discuss the history of medical vs. social understandings of disability in relation to the Disability Rights Movement Define and analyze ableism as a broad cultural ideology that limits understandings of and political action around disability as a social identity Identify places in higher education in which disability is not understood as a social identity Examine issues of inclusion related to disability as a social identity and anti-ableist work in higher education
Jennifer Ashton, PhD, Assistant Professor of Education & Human Development, The College at Brockport
Megan Obourn, PhD, Interim Chief Diversity Officer, The College at Brockport
Jennifer Ashton, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education and Human Development at The College at Brockport, where she teaches courses in inclusive and special education. Dr. Ashton uses a Disability Studies in Education framework to study inclusive education, preservice teacher education, and service learning. Her work has appeared in the International Journal of Inclusive Education, the International Journal of Whole Schooling, Classroom Discourse, and Schools: Studies in Education.
Megan Obourn, PhD, is the Interim Chief Diversity Officer, and an Associate Professor of English at The College at Brockport, where they teach courses in gender and sexuality, disability studies, critical race theory, and American literature. Dr. Obourn authored Reconstituting Americans: Liberal Multiculturalism and Identity Difference in Post-1960s Literature, which looks at ways in which late 20th and early 21st century US literature engages narratives of social citizenship, and is currently working on a project entitled Disabled Futures: Disability Theory and the Legacies of Identity Politics. Their work has also appeared in American Literature, MELUS, Twentieth Century Literature, Psychoanalysis, Culture and Society, and Contemporary Literature.