A history of design that is often overlooked--until we need it Have you ever hit the big blue button to activate automatic doors? Have you ever used an ergonomic kitchen tool? Have you ever used curb cuts to roll a stroller across an intersection? If you have, then you've benefited from accessible design--design for people with physical, sensory, and cognitive disabilities. These ubiquitous touchstones of modern life were once anything but. Disability advocates fought tirelessly to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities became a standard part of public design thinking. That fight took many forms worldwide, but in the United States it became a civil rights issue; activists used design to make an argument about the place of people with disabilities in public life. In the aftermath of World War II, with injured veterans returning home and the polio epidemic reaching the Oval Office, the needs of people with disabilities came forcibly into the public eye as they never had before. The US became the first country to enact federal accessibility laws, beginning with the Architectural Barriers Act in 1968 and continuing through the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, bringing about a wholesale rethinking of our built environment. This progression wasn't straightforward or easy. Early legislation and design efforts were often haphazard or poorly implemented, with decidedly mixed results. Political resistance to accommodating the needs of people with disabilities was strong; so, too, was resistance among architectural and industrial designers, for whom accessible design wasn't "real" design. Bess Williamson provides an extraordinary look at everyday design, marrying accessibility with aesthetic, to provide an insight into a world in which we are all active participants, but often passive onlookers. Richly detailed, with stories of politics and innovation, Williamson's Accessible America takes us through this important history, showing how American ideas of individualism and rights came to shape the material world, often with unexpected consequences.
In Black Disability Politics Sami Schalk explores how issues of disability have been and continue to be central to Black activism from the 1970s to the present. Schalk shows how Black people have long engaged with disability as a political issue deeply tied to race and racism. She points out that this work has not been recognized as part of the legacy of disability justice and liberation because Black disability politics differ in language and approach from the mainstream white-dominant disability rights movement. Drawing on the archives of the Black Panther Party and the National Black Women's Health Project alongside interviews with contemporary Black disabled cultural workers, Schalk identifies common qualities of Black disability politics, including the need to ground public health initiatives in the experience and expertise of marginalized disabled people so that they can work in antiracist, feminist, and anti-ableist ways. Prioritizing an understanding of disability within the context of white supremacy, Schalk demonstrates that the work of Black disability politics not only exists but is essential to the future of Black liberation movements.
Lambda Literary Award winning poet and essayist and long-time disability justice advocate Leah Piepzna-Samarasinha writes passionately and personally about disability justice in her latest book of essays. Discussing subjects such as the creation of care webs, collective access, and radically accessible spaces, she also imparts her own survivor skills and wisdom based on her years of activist work, empowering the disabled - in particular, those in queer and/or BIPOC communities - and granting them the necessary tools by which they can imagine a future where no one is left behind.
In recent years, disability activism has come into its own as a vital and necessary means to acknowledge the power and resilience of the disabled community, and to call out ableist culture wherever it appears. Crip Kinship explores the art-activism of Sins Invalid, a San Francisco Bay Area-based performance project, and its radical imaginings of what disabled, queer, trans, and gender nonconforming bodyminds of color can do: how they can rewrite oppression, and how they can gift us with transformational lessons for our collective survival. Grounded in their Disability Justice framework, Crip Kinship investigates the revolutionary survival teachings that disabled, queer of color community offers to all our bodyminds. From their focus on crip beauty and sexuality to manifesting digital kinship networks and crip-centric liberated zones, Sins Invalid empowers and moves us toward generating our collective liberation from our bodyminds outward.
Broadly attentive to the political and economic shifts of the last several decades, Robert McRuer asks how disability activists, artists and social movements generate change and resist the dominant forms of globalization in an age of austerity, or "crip times." Throughout Crip Times, McRuer considers how transnational queer disability theory and culture--activism, blogs, art, photography, literature, and performance--provide important and generative sites for both contesting austerity politics and imagining alternatives. The book engages various cultural flashpoints, including the spectacle surrounding the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games; the murder trial of South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius; the photography of Brazilian artist Livia Radwanski which documents the gentrification of Colonia Roma in Mexico City; the defiance of Chilean students demanding a free and accessible education for all; the sculpture and performance of UK artist Liz Crow; and the problematic rhetoric of "aspiration" dependent upon both able-bodied and disabled figurations that emerged in Thatcher's England. Crip Times asserts that disabled people themselves are demanding that disability be central to our understanding of political economy and uneven development and suggests that, in some locations, their demand for disability justice is starting to register. Ultimately, McRuer argues that a politics of austerity will always generate the compulsion to fortify borders and to separate a narrowly defined "us" in need of protection from "them."
Designing Disability traces the emergence of an idea and an ideal - physical access for the disabled - through the evolution of the iconic International Symbol of Access (ISA). The book draws on design history, material culture and recent critical disability studies to examine not only the development of a design icon, but also the cultural history surrounding it.Infirmity and illness may be seen as part of human experience, but 'disability' is a social construct, a way of thinking about and responding to a natural human condition. Elizabeth Guffey's highly original and wide-ranging study considers the period both before and after the introduction of the ISA, tracing the design history of the wheelchair, a product which revolutionised the mobility needs of many disabled people from the 1930s onwards. She also examines the rise of 'barrier-free architecture' in the reception of the ISA, and explores how the symbol became widely adopted and even a mark of identity for some, especially within the Disability Rights Movement. Yet despite the social progress which is inextricably linked to the ISA, a growing debate has unfurled around the symbol and its meanings. The most vigorous critiques today have involved guerrilla art, graffiti and studio practice, reflecting new challenges to the relationship between design and disability in the twenty-first century.
An approachable guide to being a thoughtful, informed ally to disabled people, with actionable steps for what to say and do (and what not to do) and how you can help make the world a more inclusive place. People with disabilities are the world's largest minority, an estimated 15 percent of the global population. But many of us-disabled and nondisabled alike-don't know how to act, what to say, or how to be an ally to the disability community. Demystifying Disability is a friendly handbook on the important disability issues you need to know about. Authored by celebrated disability rights advocate, speaker, and writer Emily Ladau, this practical, intersectional guide offers all readers a welcoming place to understand disability as part of the human experience. Praise for Demystifying Disability: "Whether you have a disability, or you are non-disabled, Demystifying Disability is a MUST READ. Emily Ladau is a wise spirit who thinks deeply and writes exquisitely."-Judy Heumann, international disability rights advocate and author of Being Heumann. "Emily Ladau has done her homework, and Demystifying Disability is hercandid, accessible cheat sheet for anyone who wants to thoughtfully join the conversation. A teacher who makes you forget you're learning, Emily makes the intimidating approachable and the complicated clear. This book is a generous and needed gift."-Rebekah Taussig, author of Sitting Pretty The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body. ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR NPR, Booklist.
Fairy tales shape how we see the world, so what happens when you identify more with the Beast than Beauty? If every disabled character is mocked and mistreated, how does the Beast ever imagine a happily-ever-after? Amanda Leduc looks at fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm to Disney, showing us how they influence our expectations and behaviour and linking the quest for disability rights to new kinds of stories that celebrate difference. A CBC BOOKS BEST NONFICTION OF 2020 AN ENTROPY MAGAZINE BEST NONFICTION 2020/21 A NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY BOOK OF THE DAY (07/23/2022)
In Feminist, Queer, Crip Alison Kafer imagines a different future for disability and disabled bodies. Challenging the ways in which ideas about the future and time have been deployed in the service of compulsory able-bodiedness and able-mindedness, Kafer rejects the idea of disability as a pre-determined limit. She juxtaposes theories, movements, and identities such as environmental justice, reproductive justice, cyborg theory, transgender politics, and disability that are typically discussed in isolation and envisions new possibilities for crip futures and feminist/queer/crip alliances. This bold book goes against the grain of normalization and promotes a political framework for a more just world.
Black ASL has long been recognized as a distinct variety of American Sign Language based on abundant anecdotal evidence. The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL, originally published in 2011, presents the first sociohistorical and linguistic study of this language variety. Based on the findings of the Black ASL Project, which undertook this unprecedented research, Hidden Treasure documents the stories and language of the African American Deaf community. With links to online supplemental video content that includes interviews with Black ASL users (formerly on DVD), this volume is a groundbreaking scholarly contribution and a powerful affirmation for Black Deaf people. This paperback edition includes an updated foreword by Glenn B. Anderson, a new preface that reflects on the impact of this research, and an expanded list of references and resources on Black ASL. The supplemental video content is available online at the Gallaudet University Press YouTube Channel. Under Playlists, click "The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Companion Video to the Book." As featured in the film Signing Black in America: The Story of Black ASL, produced by The Language and Life Project at North Carolina State University (Dr. Walt Wolfram, Executive Producer). Look for it on PBS.
The United Nations adoption of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) constituted a paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to disability rights, marking the first time in law-making history that persons with disabilities participated as civil society representatives and contributed to the drafting of an international treaty. On the way, they brought a new kind of diplomacy forward: empowering nongovernmental stakeholders, including persons with disabilities, within human rights discourse. This landmark treaty provides an opportunity to consider what it means to involve members of a global civil society in UN-level negotiations. Human Rights and Disability Advocacy brings together perspectives from individual representatives of the Disabled People's Organizations (DPOs), nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), indigenous peoples' organizations, states, and national institutions that played leading roles in the Convention's drafting process. The contributors provide vivid and personal accounts of the paths to victory, including stumbling blocks--not all of which were overcome--and offer a unique look into the politics of civil society organizations both from within and in its interaction with governments. Each essay describes the nonnegotiable key issues for which they advocated; the extent of success in reaching their goals; and insights into the limitations they faced. Through the plurality of voices and insider perspectives, Human Rights and Disability Advocacy presents fresh perspectives on the shift toward a new diplomacy and explores the implication of this model for human rights advocacy more generally.
In this exploration of intimate relationships between people with physical disabilities and those without, Sarah Smith Rainey shatters the myth of sexless, burdensome partnerships - and in its place reveals a rich and rewarding continuum of emotional and physical intimacies. Rainey draws on interviews, autobiographies, and films to show how disabled/nondisabled couples not only build mutually satisfying relationships by giving and receiving in equal measure, but also move beyond traditional gender roles to create new forms of sexual intimacy. She also takes note of the challenges these couples face. With sensitivity and clarity, she offers an unparalleled portrait of the lived experience of disability and sexuality.
How does a small provincial city in southern Japan become the site of a world-famous wheelchair marathon that has been attracting the best international athletes since 1981?In More Than Medals, Dennis J. Frost answers this question and addresses the histories of individuals, institutions, and events—the 1964 Paralympics, the FESPIC Games, the Ōita International Wheelchair Marathon, the Nagano Winter Paralympics, and the 2021 Tokyo Summer Games that played important roles in the development of disability sports in Japan. Sporting events in the postwar era, Frost shows, have repeatedly served as forums for addressing the concerns of individuals with disabilities. More Than Medals provides new insights on the cultural and historical nature of disability and demonstrates how sporting events have challenged some stigmas associated with disability, while reinforcing or generating others.Frost analyzes institutional materials and uses close readings of media, biographical sources, and interviews with Japanese athletes to highlight the profound—though often ambiguous—ways in which sports have shaped how postwar Japan has perceived and addressed disability. His novel approach highlights the importance of the Paralympics and the impact that disability sports have had on Japanese society.
Rachael Lee Harris spent her early childhood locked in an autistic fog until beginning her journey from a fragmented world to one in which things began to make sense. Rachael's determination to take her place in society led her down many paths, from beauty therapist to Catholic nun, from mother and wife to divorcee and working mom. Today, she is a psychotherapist specializing in helping others on the Autism Spectrum. Rachael's story explores areas such as schooling, family relationships, employment, travel, and faith culminating in monastic life, motherhood, dating, and marriage. Through her story, we get a more "rounded" positive vision of how an autistic life can develop and insight into the benefits of being "on the spectrum" alongside the very real picture of its challenges. Addressing the culture of disability and negativity that surrounds so much of the public perception of the Autism Spectrum, Rachael presents a more moderate and perhaps more objective assessment of her own life experiences, as well as the potential for others on the Spectrum.
James Charlton has produced a ringing indictment of disability oppression, which, he says, is rooted in degradation, dependency, and powerlessness and is experienced in some form by five hundred million persons throughout the world who have physical, sensory, cognitive, or developmental disabilities. Nothing About Us Without Us is the first book in the literature on disability to provide a theoretical overview of disability oppression that shows its similarities to, and differences from, racism, sexism, and colonialism. Charlton's analysis is illuminated by interviews he conducted over a ten-year period with disability rights activists throughout the Third World, Europe, and the United States. Charlton finds an antidote for dependency and powerlessness in the resistance to disability oppression that is emerging worldwide. His interviews contain striking stories of self-reliance and empowerment evoking the new consciousness of disability rights activists. As a latecomer among the world's liberation movements, the disability rights movement will gain visibility and momentum from Charlton's elucidation of its history and its political philosophy of self-determination, which is captured in the title of his book. Nothing About Us Without Us expresses the conviction of people with disabilities that they know what is best for them. Charlton's combination of personal involvement and theoretical awareness assures greater understanding of the disability rights movement.
This book explores the concept of "occupation" in disability well beyond traditional clinical formulations of disability: it considers disability not in terms of pathology or impairment, but as a range of unique social identities and experiences that are shaped by visible or invisible diagnoses/impairments, socio-cultural perceptions and environmental barriers and offers innovative ideas on how to apply theoretical training to real world contexts. Inspired by disability justice and "Disability Occupy Wall Street / Decolonize Disability" movements in the US and related movements abroad, this book builds on politically engaged critical approaches to disability that intersect occupational therapy, disability studies and anthropology. "Occupying Disability" will provide a discursive space where the concepts of disability, culture and occupation meet critical theory, activism and the creative arts. The concept of "occupation" is intentionally a moving target in this book. Some chapters discuss occupying spaces as a form of protest or alternatively, protesting against territorial occupations. Others present occupations as framed or problematized within the fields of occupational therapy and occupational science and anthropology as engagement in meaningful activities. The contributing authors come from a variety of professional, academic and activist backgrounds to include perspectives from theory, practice and experiences of disability. Emergent themes include: all the permutations of the concept of "occupy," disability justice/decolonization, marginalization and minoritization, technology, struggle, creativity and change. This book will engage clinicians, social scientists, activists and artists in dialogues about disability as a theoretical construct and lived experience.
Get an inside perspective on life as a disabled gay man! Queer Crips: Disabled Gay Men and Their Stories reverberates with the sound of "cripgay" voices rising to be heard above the din of indifference and bias, oppression and ignorance. This unique collection of compelling first-person narratives is at once assertive, bold, and groundbreaking, filled with characters--and character. Through the intimacy of one-on-one storytelling, gay men with mobility and neuromuscular disorders, spinal cord injury, deafness, blindness, and AIDS, fight isolation from society--and each other--to establish a public identity and a common culture. Queer Crips features more than 30 first-hand accounts from a variety of perspectives, illuminating the reality of the everyday struggle disabled gay men face in a culture obsessed with conformist good looks. Themes include rejection, love, sex, dating rituals, gaycrip married life, and the profound difference between growing up queer and disabled, and suffering a life-altering injury or illness in adulthood. Co-edited by Bob Guter, creator and editor of the webzine BENT: A Journal of Cripgay Voices, the book includes: two performance pieces from acclaimed author and actor Greg Walloch poetry from Chris Hewitt, Joel S. Riche, Raymond Luczak, Mark Moody, and co-editor John Killacky essays from BENT contributors Blaine Waterman, Raymond J. Aguilera, Danny Kodmur, Thomas Metz, Max Verga, and Eli Clare interviews with community activist Gordon Elkins and Alan Sable, one of the first self-identified gay psychotherapists in the United States and much more! Queer Crips is a forum for neglected cripgay voices speaking words that are candid, edgy, bold, dreamy, challenging, and sexy. The book is essential reading for academics and students working in lesbian and gay studies, and disability studies, and for anyone who's ever visited the place where queerness and disability meet.
Written by autistic trans people from around the world, this vital and intimate collection of personal essays reveals the struggles and joys of living at the intersection of neurodivergence and gender diversity. Weaving memories, poems and first-person narratives together, these stories showcase experiences of coming out, college and university life, accessing healthcare, physical transition, friendships and relationships, sexuality, pregnancy, parenting, and late life self-discovery, to reveal a rich and varied tapestry of life lived on the spectrums. With humour and personal insight, this anthology is essential reading for autistic trans people, and the professionals supporting them, as well as anyone interested in the nuances of autism and gender identity.
A memoir by a disability rights activist Such a Pretty Girl is Nadina LaSpina's story--from her early years in her native Sicily, where still a baby she contracts polio, a fact that makes her the object of well-meaning pity and the target of messages of hopelessness; to her adolescence and youth in America, spent almost entirely in hospitals, where she is tortured in the quest for a cure and made to feel that her body no longer belongs to her; to her rebellion and her activism in the disability rights movement. LaSpina's personal growth parallels the movement's political development--from coming together, organizing, and fighting against exclusion from public and social life, to the forging of a common identity, the blossoming of disability arts and culture, and the embracing of disability pride. While unique, the author's journey is also one with which many disabled people can identify. It is the journey to find one's place in an ableist world--a world not made for disabled people, where disability is only seen in negative terms. La Spina refutes all stereotypical narratives of disability. Through the telling of her life's story, without editorializing, she shows the harm that the overwhelming focus on pity and on a cure that remains elusive has done to disabled people. Her story exposes the disability prejudice ingrained in our sociopolitical system and denounces the oppressive standards of normalcy in a society that devalues those who are different and denies them basic rights. Written as continuous narrative and in a subtle and intimate voice, Such a Pretty Girl is a memoir as captivating as a novel. It is one of the few disability memoirs to focus on activism, and one of the first by an immigrant.
Superhero comics reckon with issues of corporeal control. And while they commonly deal in characters of exceptional or superhuman ability, they have also shown an increasing attention and sensitivity to diverse forms of disability, both physical and cognitive. The essays in this collection reveal how the superhero genre, in fusing fantasy with realism, provides a visual forum for engaging with issues of disability and intersectional identity (race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality) and helps to imagine different ways of being in the world. Working from the premise that the theoretical mode of the uncanny, with its interest in what is simultaneously known and unknown, ordinary and extraordinary, opens new ways to think about categories and markers of identity, Uncanny Bodies explores how continuums of ability in superhero comics can reflect, resist, or reevaluate broader cultural conceptions about disability. The chapters focus on lesser-known characters--such as Echo, Omega the Unknown, and the Silver Scorpion--as well as the famous Barbara Gordon and the protagonist of the acclaimed series Hawkeye, whose superheroic uncanniness provides a counterpoint to constructs of normalcy. Several essays explore how superhero comics can provide a vocabulary and discourse for conceptualizing disability more broadly. Thoughtful and challenging, this eye-opening examination of superhero comics breaks new ground in disability studies and scholarship in popular culture.
In Voice, Adam Pottle explores the crucial role deafness has played in the growth of his imagination, and in doing so presents a unique perspective on a writer's development. Born deaf in both ears, Pottle recounts what it was like growing up in a world of muted sound, and how his deafness has influenced virtually everything about his writing, from his use of language to character and plot choices. Salty, bold, and relentlessly honest, Voice makes us think about writing in entirely new ways and expands our understanding of deafness and the gifts that it can offer.
"Nothing about us without us" has been a core principle of American disability rights activists for more than half a century. It represents a response by people with disabilities to being treated with scorn and abuse or as objects of pity, and to having the most fundamental decisions relating to their lives -- where they would live; if and how they would be educated; if they would be allowed to marry or have families; indeed, if they would be permitted to live at all -- made by those who were, in the parlance of the movement, "temporarily able-bodied." In What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement, Fred Pelka takes that slogan at face value. He presents the voices of disability rights activists who, in the period from 1950 to 1990, transformed how society views people with disabilities, and recounts how the various streams of the movement came together to push through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the most sweeping civil rights legislation since passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Beginning with the stories of those who grew up with disabilities in the 1940s and '50s, the book traces how disability came to be seen as a political issue, and how people with disabilities -- often isolated, institutionalized, and marginalized -- forged a movement analogous to the civil rights, women's rights, and gay rights movements, and fought for full and equal participation in American society.