What is disability studies?

The interdisciplinary Minor in Disability Studies explores the experiences of people with disabilities—one of the largest minorities in the United States and worldwide—as well as the ways in which conceptions and representations of disability and “the normal” have shaped human experiences more generally. Treating disability as a crucial element of human diversity and drawing on critical disability studies approaches, the Disability Studies Minor approaches disability as a social, cultural, and political construct rather than just a medical condition (as it is commonly viewed).

For more on the academic field of disability studies, which dates back to the 1980s, see the Society for Disability Studies.


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Meet Cheyenne

Through this minor, I’ve learned so much, not just about the disability community, but about the entire world and how disability and ideas about disability impact everything.


Disability studies classes investigate topics such as the phenomenon of cyborgs, the meaning of “normal” and “abnormal,” disability’s central place in art and literature, and the lives of people with disabilities, as well as issues such as the eugenics movement, disability in the workplace, what it means to be “a fit citizen,” and how ideas about disability and ability shape notions of race and gender.