Disability Studies Curriculum Transformation : Building a Program and Cultivating a Community
Author(s)Knoll, Kristina R.
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AbstractThe authors facilitated and participated in a curriculum transformation seminar at the University of Washington that contributed to the growth of the Disability Studies Program. The project introduced disability studies content and pedagogy to a group of faculty who received commitments that year from their departments, including dance, anthropology, social work, philosophy, and Slavic studies, to teach new courses or revise existing ones. The seminar group identified five related areas of "curriculum transformation" to address: syllabi, teaching practices, instructors' legitimacy, student power, and the university community. The format included intensive workshops on individual syllabi, presentations delivered by visiting scholars, consideration of techniques for universal design in education, and discussions of specific readings and teaching exercises used by colleagues in disability studies. This article reflects on some of the outcomes reported by the participants and on key themes that emerged during and after the seminar. In particular, the authors analyze their experiences with regard to the roles of students as educators, strategies for dealing with institutional resistance to recognizing disability as a diversity category, and the complex collaboration between the academic and activist components of disability studies. They explore disability studies pedagogy as the convergence of the theory of disability studies with the politics of disability justice, played out in the spaces of classrooms and campuses.
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