As we’ve seen throughout the course, Disability Studies is a broad field that takes on a wide variety of topics and critical approaches. For this final project of our course, I’m asking you to dive deep into a specific scholar’s work as a way to dive deep into the field of Disability Studies. You might think of this as a scholarly profile essay–examining one specific Disability Studies scholar and the topics and questions that drive their work. What does “doing Disability Studies” mean for this scholar? What questions, ideas, and topics are most central to their work? Who are their influences? How have their ideas changed throughout their scholarly career?
This essay isn’t just about someone else, though. It’s also about you as a new student of Disability Studies. What does this scholar’s work mean to you in your life? How does it contextualize what you’ve been learning this quarter? You’ll explore these questions too.
Write an essay of about 1,200 – 1,700 words (around 5-6 pages double spaced) to be posted on our class WordPress blog. Your essay should focus on one Disability Studies scholar and at least three pieces of their published writing or recorded presentations. You should pick pieces that show a range of the scholar’s interests or approaches.
Your essay should accomplish the following (not necessarily in this order):
Introduce your chosen scholar, including any relevant biographical details
Offer a summary of what makes this scholar’s approach to Disability Studies unique
Summarize three articles or recorded presentations by this author, drawing out what they teach us about this scholar’s point of view regarding Disability Studies
Reflect on how this scholar’s perspectives and ideas resonate with you as a student and a person in the world (do you care? why?)
Reflect on how this scholar’s perspectives and ideas connect to important lessons you learned in this class
Be sure to have an MLA works cited page at the end of your essay. Also be sure you give your essay an original title that points to the questions this scholar thinks are most important.
Picking a Scholar
The easiest way to pick a scholar is to choose one from Keywords for Disability Studies. Nearly every scholar in this collection has had a long career and published on a variety of topics. You might also approach this task from the other direction. Go to one of the main Disability Studies academic journals and search for topics that interest you. From there, find an author who writes about that topic. I recommend Disability Studies Quarterly, the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, and Disability and Society. You can also do some searches on library databases (I like Academic Search Complete).
However you decide on your Disability Studies scholar of choice, you need to find three article-length pieces of writing or recorded scholarly presentations. If you pick someone from Keywords, you will need three additional sources–the Keywords chapter doesn’t count toward the three.
Alternate Version: Topic Focus
Rather than focusing on the work of one particular Disability Studies scholar, focus on one specific topic relevant to multiple Disability Studies scholars. Perhaps you want to learn more about cochlear implants–find three Disability Studies scholars who have published on the topic. Your task will be to answer the questions, what makes this topic interesting to Disability Studies scholars, and what are the various ways scholars choose to respond to this topic.
Regardless of the topic, you must meet these criteria:
You must find three articles by three different scholars
They must be published articles from Disability Studies journals (see above) or book chapters from relevant books
They must be addressed to a very specific topic, not just “Deafness” or “the Americans with Disabilities Act”
Otherwise, follow the same goals of the scholar-focused version of project:
Introduce your chosen topic
Offer a summary of what basic scholarly questions and approaches people bring to discussing this topic
Summarize three articles or recorded presentations about the topic, drawing out what they teach us about why the field of Disability Studies cares about this topic–what makes it important or interesting to study
Reflect on how these scholars’ perspectives and ideas resonate with you as a student and a person in the world (do you care? why?)
Reflect on how these scholar’s perspectives and ideas connect to important lessons you learned in this class
Grading and Submission
This project is worth 40 points
To earn these points you must:
Submit a complete project to our WordPress blog by 11:59pm June 12th
Use the category “Deep Dive”
Give three keyword tags related to the topic and ideas of your essay
Include all required elements from the prompt
Use ALT text for any images you include in the post
Demonstrate an understanding of Disability Studies language conventions for discussing disability