ENGL708D Seminar in Rhetoric: Rhetorics of Disability and Universal Design
In this seminar, we will consider the rhetorical affordances of disabled being in the world by means of disability scholarship, activism, art, policy, and pedagogy.
“Rhetoric needs disability studies as a reminder to pay critical and careful attention to the body. Disability studies needs rhetoric to better understand and negotiate the ways that discourse represents and impacts the experience of disability.”
—Jay Dolmage, Disability Rhetoric
In the thirty years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was established, the fields of disability studies and disability rhetorics have brought attention to critical considerations of the language of/around disability, histories of disability and people with disabilities, the lived experience of differently-abled bodies and minds, and the ways in which disability is represented (and made metaphor) in literature and art. In this same time frame, the fundamental ideas of universal design—advocating for "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design" (Mace)—have been applied and extended into pedagogy and praxis in college courses. And still, disability justice has a long way to go.'
In this seminar, we will consider the rhetorical affordances of disabled being in the world by means of disability scholarship, activism, art, policy, and pedagogy. We will explore many dimensions of disability—as embodiment, as critical modality, as site of reclamation and protest—in past and present moments. Our explorations will attend to intersectional discourses on disability, race, gender, sexuality, citizenship, and class, as we seek to understand and to shift the parameters of possibility for more just futures.
In addition to reading and discussing a range of texts, we will also dedicate class time each week to a series of collaborative workshop activities focused on sharing what we learn with audiences outside our (virtual) classroom. Workload will include readings, reading responses, class participation, and a final project (focus and format flexible).
0101 - Melanie Kill