LSJ/CHID 332, Spring 2009
Disability and Society: Introduction to Disability Studies
Tues & Thur 11:30-1:20, Loew 101
Topics, readings, assignments, & announcements
Lecture slides
Essay 3 sources

Contact information

Catalyst GoPost discussion board:

Catalyst assignments dropbox for this course:

This page is the main form of communication about class activities. Please check it frequently for assignments and any changes to the syllabus. Lecture slides will be posted here, prior to the start of class.

Instructor: Joanne Woiak,

Instructor: Dennis Lang,

We are both frequently on campus, so if you want to meet please make an appointment. You can usually expect a same-day response to email queries.

Week 1

March 31 Introductions: What is disability? What is normal?
No readings

April 2 Language & stereotypes
READ all before the start of class: Simi Linton, "Reclamation" & "Reassigning Meaning" (pdf 1.3Mb)
Jack Nelson, "When Stereotypes Tell the Story" (pdf 90kb) (or link)
John Hockenberry, "Fear of Bees" (pdf 650kb)

Lecture slides, Apr 2 (PowerPoint 3Mb)
Extra stuff: "Myths and Facts about People with Disabilities" (link)
South Park TV show, "Conjoined Fetus Lady" (watch here)
Implicit Association Test ( -- take the disability test)

DUE by Thurs 11am: 1 primary post with your reflections on the readings for today. Write about 2-3 paragraphs, which is about 1 paragraph per reading. Bookmark this link to the course discussion board:

DUE by Sunday April 5, 11pm: 2 secondary posts continuing the conversations about the readings and lectures.

Week 2

April 7 Defining disability, Disability Studies, the Disability Rights Movement
READ: Joseph Shapiro, No Pity (textbook), Introduction & Chapters 1 & 2
Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer, "Disability: A Choice of Models" & "Disabling Societies" (pdf 1.5Mb)

Lecture slides (PP 1.5Mb)
DUE by Tues. 11am: primary post with your reflections on these readings.

April 9 Discrimination and empowerment
Video in class: When Billy Broke His Head and Other Tales of Wonder (on reserve Ode Media)
READ: Paul Longmore, "Why I Burned My Book" (pdf 10Mb)
Allan Rucker, "The Gimp Media Revolution" (Word doc) (or link to article with photos), or alternatively read the older media critique Paul Longmore, "Screening Stereotypes" (pdf 700kb)
Shapiro, No Pity, Chapters 3 & 4

Lecture slides Apr 9 (PP 450kb)

DUE by Thurs. 11am: primary post with your reflections on these readings.

DUE by Sunday April 12, 11pm: 2 secondary posts.

Week 3

April 14 Stigma and identity
Video: Talk part 1, part 2
READ: Erving Goffman, "Stigma and Social Identity" (pdf)
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, "Disability, Identity, and Representation" (pdf 700kb)
Simi Linton, "Disability Studies/Not Disability Studies" (pdf 200kb)

Lecture slides Apr 14 (PP 500kb)

DUE by 11am: primary post about Tues readings

April 16 History of disability
READ: Douglas Baynton, "Disability and the Justification for Inequality in American History" (pdf 1Mb)
Roy Porter, "Madness and Psychiatry Talking: A Historical Dialogue" (pdf 16Mb)
James Charlton, "Culture(s) and Belief Systems" (pdf 800kb)
Shapiro, No Pity, Chapters 5 & 6

Lecture slides, Apr 16 (PP4.5Mb)

DUE Thurs 11am: primary post about Thurs readings.

DUE by Sunday Apr 19, 11pm: 2 secondary posts contributing to this week's discussions.

DUE Sunday April 19, 11pm: ESSAY #1 to dropbox

Week 4

April 21 History of eugenics
READ: Philip Reilly, "Involuntary Sterilization in the US: The Surgical Solution" (pdf 2.8Mb)
Joerg Bottger, "Review of The Origins of Nazi Genocide" (pdf 120kb)
Anna Stubblefield, "Beyond the Pale: Tainted Whiteness, Cognitive Disability, and Eugenics" (pdf)

Lecture slides Apr 21 eugenics (PP 8.5Mb lots of pics)
Lecture slides without the pictures (PP 2.5Mb)

DUE Tues: primary post Tues, 11am

April 23 Disability policy and civil rights
READ:Richard Scotch, "American Disability Policy in the 20th Century" (pdf 2.2Mb)
Leslie Francis and Anita Silvers, "Introduction: Achieving the Right to Live in the World" (pdf 2.8Mb)
Summary of the Americans with Disabilities Act and court cases (pdf 800kb)--link fixed

Lecture slides Apr 23 (PP 2.2Mb)

DUE: primary post Thurs, 11am

DUE: Sunday, April 26, 11pm: FIRST MEDIA ITEM and interpretation. Submit to dropbox as a Word doc.

DUE: Sunday April 26, 11pm: 2 secondary posts

Week 5

April 28 Deaf history and culture
Guest speaker: Lance Forshay, UW, ASL and Deaf Studies
READ: Harlan Lane, "Construction of Deafness" (pdf 6Mb)
RAR Edwards, "Sound and Fury; or, Much Ado About Nothing?" (htm file)
Carol Padden and Tom Humphries, "Cultures into the Future" (pdf 5Mb)

updated Lecture Apr 28 (pdf 17 Mb)

DUE: primary post about the readings Tues 11am.

April 30 Personal narratives and political activism
Film in class: If I Can't Do It
READ: Harriet McBryde Johnson, "The Disability Gulag" (html file)
Carol Gill, "Questioning Continuum" (pdf 400kb)
Shapiro, No Pity, Chapters 7 & 8 & 9 & 10

DUE: primary post about the readings Thurs. 11am

DUE: Sunday May 3, 11pm: 2 secondary posts
DUE: Sunday May 3, 11pm: ESSAY #2 (guidelines as Word doc)

Week 6

May 5 Disability culture, pride, identity
Video in class: Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back
Recommended reading before we watch Tues's film Vital Signs about disability culture (it's short and provocative): Garland-Thomson, "Staring Back" (pdf, 5 pages)

Require READ: Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer, "Disability Culture: Assimilation or Inclusion?" (pdf 1Mb)

And post about either:
Eli Clare, "The Mountain" (pdf 500kb) from Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (South End Press, 1999)
Bradley Lewis, "A Mad Fight: Psychiatry and Disability Activism" (pdf 7Mb)

DUE: primary post Tues 11am

May 7 Intersections of disability, race, and gender
"The Power of 504" video in class (YouTube link created by DREDF)
Some more information about the Empowered Fe Fes (link to publisher of their videos, scroll down at left)

READ: Joshua Lukin, "Black Disability Studies" (html file) (link to original article page)
Susan Wendell, "Toward a Feminist Theory of Disability" (pdf 900kb)
Nancy Mairs, "Carnal Acts" (pdf 600kb)

DUE: primary post Thurs 11am

DUE: secondary posts Sunday 11pm.

Week 7

May 12 Beyond ADA compliance: universal design and invisible disabilities

READ: N. Kagenda Mutua, "The Semiotics of Accessibility and the Cultural Construction of Disability" (pdf 700kb)
Elizabeth Sierra-Zarella, "Adapting and Passing: My Experience as a Grad Student with Multiple Invisible Disabilities" (pdf)
"Principles of Universal Design" (html file) (link to UD page)

Lecture slides (PP 4Mb)

DUE: primary post Tues 11am

May 14 Who qualifies for rights?
Guest lecture: Sherrie Brown

READ: Judith Failer, "The Civil Commitment of Joyce Brown" (pdf 850kb)
Eva Feder Kittay, "When Caring is Just and Justice is Caring: Justice and Mental Retardation" (pdf 120kb)

Lecture slides May 14 (PP 215kb)

DUE: primary post Thurs 11am

DUE: Sunday May 17, 11pm, Media Project
DUE: Sunday 11pm, 2 secondary posts

Week 8

May 19 Disability and technology
Guest lecture Michael Richardson
Film in class: Sound and Fury
READ: Bonnie Tucker, "Deaf Culture, Cochlear Implants, and Elective Disability" (pdf)
John Hockenberry, "The Next Brainiacs" (html file) (link to same article in Wired)

DUE Tues 11am primary post

May 21 Self-advocacy and life stories
Guest lecture Michael Orsini

READ: Cal Montgomery, "Critic of the Dawn" (Word doc) (same article in Ragged Edge) and "Defining Autistic Lives" (html file)
Robert Bogdan and Steven Taylor, "The Judged, Not the Judges" (pdf 4Mb)
Anne Wilson and Peter Beresford, "Madness, Distress, and Postmodernity: Setting the Record Straight" (pdf 1.2Mb)

Lecture "Framing Autism Activism" (PP)
Videos in class:

DUE Thurs 11am primary post

DUE Sun 11pm, 2 secondary posts

Week 9

May 26 Disability bioethics
READ: Adrienne Asch, "Disability, Bioethics, and Human Rights" (pdf)
Harriet McBryde Johnson, "Unspeakable Conversations" (html)
Handout about the Ashley X growth attenuation case (Word document)

Lecture slides (PP)

DUE Tues 11am primary post

May 28 Disability in non-Western cultures
Guest lecture Jose Alaniz
READ: "United Nations Convention on the  Rights of Persons with Disabilities" (html)

Lecture slides about UN Convention (PP)

DUE Thurs 11am primary post

DUE Sunday 11pm secondary posts

Week 10
Announcements and assignments
URLs for the media projects, if you would like to see each others' work (Word doc).

Reminder: Essay #3 due on Tues June 9th! (Word doc with guidelines.) Let me know if you have questions or you have an alternative topic idea so that I can approve it. You may use scholarly texts outside the course readings for this paper, and here are some suggested resources on the topics for the assignment.

Upcoming DS courses:

Summer 2009 Open Integrated Dance Intensive in the Dance Program at the University of Washington taught by Jürg Koch, Assistant Professor, UW Dance Program. August 10-14, 2009. Jürg is a former dancer with CandoCo Dance Company integrating disabled and non-disabled performers in internationally aclaimed touring repertory since 1993.
This course in contemporary and community dance practice challenges all participants to explore and develop their individual abilities within dance. The course is limited to 20 participants. For questions and to request registration forms please contact Jürg Koch via: or 206 616 7561. Visit the following links for more information about the SummerIntensive: [LINK] and Integrated Dance
Please note, this is an independent course hosted by the Dance Program at the University of Washington. Participants do not need to be registered student with the University to take part.

Fall 2009, RUSS 120, Disability in Russian Culture, taught by Prof. Jose Alaniz. M-Th 3:30-4:20. Note: this course counts as an elective for the Disability Studies Minor.

Sarah Jeglum is doing a research project about students' experiences with the Disability Studies Minor. She would appreciate it if interested students would respond her online survey. Here is the link:

All the required readings (except the textbook No Pity) are on this course website to be downloaded. Your UW ID is required to access the files. You may want to print them and bring them to class for discussion.

Syllabus (Word document) (link to Syllabus page)

Alliance of People with disAbilities, the Seattle Center for Independent Living we heard about in class:
The volunteer coordinator who spoke with us is Charity Ranger,

March 31 day of awareness: "Spread the Word to End the Word," campaign by the Special Olympics.

Regular meetings of the Student Disability Commission (SDC) and Disability Advocacy Student Alliance (DASA) are held on Thursdays, 4:30-6:30 in HUB 201. Contact Holly Siegrist

Discussion board

Guidelines: You must post a minimum of 4 times per week. Your 2 primary posts are due by 11am on Tuesday and Thursday (before class). In each of these posts you should respond extensively to the main points made in the readings for that day. Your 2 secondary posts are due by that Sunday at 11pm. In these posts you should carry on conversations with your classmates regarding their responses to the readings and lectures. Additional substantial posts beyond the minimum of 4 will improve your grade. Remember that this is a DISCUSSION board: engage with your classmates as well as with the texts.

Essay #1
Due Sunday, April 19, 11pm
Electronic submission, as a Word document only, please

Essay guidelines (Word doc)
Link to Assignments page

Essay #2
Due Sunday, May 3, 11pm
Electronic submission, as a Word document only, please

Essay guidelines (Word document)
Link to Assignments page for details

Media project
Completed online portfolio DUE Sunday, May 17, 11pm.
First media item and interpretation DUE Sunday April 26, 11pm.

Submit your portfolio URL/link in the comments section dropbox

Handout with guidelines (Word doc)
Link to Assignments page

Link to a sample portfolio to demonstrate the suggested format with text, images, and links. This was created in Catalyst Portfolio Builder (you may also use SimpleSite or other tools).

Architectural accessibility project
Form groups by May 5 (or be assigned) and choose your building by May 10.

Project due Sunday, May 31, 11pm.

Have one member of each group submit the report/letter and the completed checklist to your dropbox.

All students must submit a peer evaluation form that will count towards your participation grade (Word doc).

Checklist for ADA guidelines on accessibility: download, print out, fill this out when you do your building survey, and hand it in (pdf).

Assignment Handout in Word
Link to Assignments page

Peer eval form to be completed by everyone (in Word)

Essay #3
Due Tuesday, June 9, 11pm, to Catalyst dropbox