This year I will be teaching an undergraduate seminar entitled "Disability: A Democratic Dilemma," which will consider the challenge presented by disability to the way we think about democratic inclusion. Put simply, what would it mean to achieve full inclusion on behalf of disabled people? Can we reconcile the demand for inclusion with the difference posed by disabilities that require more extensive support to realize their full potential? Is full inclusion possible for individuals with profound disabilities, and if so, what form might it take? With these questions in view, we will begin by tracing the evolution of the concept of disability and its role in securing the boundaries of normal, able-bodied citizenship. Focusing on the tension between equality and dependency, we will proceed to examine the ways in which the demand for equality and inclusion stands at odds with the perception of disabled people as the proper objects of pity, charity and care. More specifically, we will consider how the distinction between the deserving and undeserving poor is echoed in the structure of entitlements programs and the fixation on delineating “real” disability from disability fraud.
Turning to the disability rights movement and the demand for disability equality, we will proceed by examining the legal instantiation of disability rights in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, before considering the possible limits and unintended consequences of rights-based claims. The remainder of the course will address forms of disability that are endemic to neoliberalism as well as the challenges they pose for a disability rights movement that privileges the celebration of disabled identity. More specifically, we will consider whether it is possible to give an account of disability prevention that does not view prevention as of a piece with cure or eradication. We will conclude by exploring what Alison Kafer has referred to as “accessible futures,” and what it might mean to “think disability, and disability futures, otherwise.”
Readings include work in political theory, philosophy, disability studies, and feminist theory. While this course is not intended as an introduction to disability studies, it assumes no prior knowledge of the field. That said, I would be more than happy to offer suggestions for further reading if you are interested!
The syllabus is available here: PSLC 21104, Disability-A Democratic Dilemma
I will also be continuing on as a BA Thesis Preceptor in the Department of Political Science, helping guide 8-10 4th year majors through the process of writing an honors thesis. The first quarter of this colloquium, taught in Spring 2018, focused on developing a research question, identifying and engaging with relevant literature, settling on an appropriate research method, and selecting a faculty advisor. Combining discussions on the component parts of a research proposal with in-class peer review, the colloquium format challenged students to engage critically with each other's work and with topics in which they were unfamiliar. Having completed a proposal and (hopefully) conducted (some) research over the summer, students will spend the fall quarter finishing up their research, synthesizing their findings, and composing an initial draft of their thesis.
Prior Teaching Experience
As Teaching Assistant:
Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations (with Deborah Nelson)
Introduction to Political Theory (with James Wilson)
Classics of Social and Political Thought I-III (with Jared Holley, Joseph Lampert, and Emma Saunders-Hastings)