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Disability Studies

Disability is a fact of the human experience, not the exception. Disability Studies centers the experiences of disabled people and emphasizes the role of the disability community in defining problems and evaluating solutions.

Like other oppressed groups throughout history, disabled people have been marginalized; this has led to minimal attention to the historical, cultural, and political/legal dimensions of disability. Through neglect, ignorance, prejudice, and false assumptions, as well as through exclusion, distinction, or separation, society prevents persons with disabilities from exercising their economic, social, or cultural rights on an equal basis with persons without disabilities. The effects of disability-based discrimination have been particularly severe in the fields of education, employment, housing, transport, cultural life, and access to public places and services.

The development of Disability Studies represents a much-needed pro-active educational approach to address this pervasive discrimination towards disabled people in our society. Establishing a Disability Studies Program acknowledges the University's commitment to this field of study and to research, teaching, and service.  – From UW Disability Studies Department

Introduction to Disability Studies

Reference materials, and other books with background information can help you:

  • Explore a topic: find out what has been said about this subject, trends, issues, etc.
  • Identify and define unfamiliar terms or people in your reading
  • Find references to other books and articles on the subject
  • Find specific keywords to use in online searches

Background Information Articles

Disability Studies and Psychology


General Background

Disability and Education

Disability and Identity Construction/Sociology

Disability and Psychology

Disability and Work