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We are excited to offer these courses in disability studies, one of the most dynamic and innovative interdisciplinary fields in American Studies right now.

Register on the first day of classes: January 25, 2016.

AMS 240: Introduction to Disability Studies (Tu/Th 10.30-11.50)
Sarah Orem

This course will serve as an introductory exploration of the field of disability studies. It will ask: how do we define disability? Who is disabled? And what resources do we need to properly study disability? Together, students will investigate: trends in disability activism, histories of medicine and science, conceptions of “normal” embodiment, the utility of terms like “crip” or “disabled,” and the representation of disability in culture. These topics will be explored through four sequential units over the semester:
1. Understanding key concepts in disability studies,
2. Thinking critically about disability culture,
3. Researching disability history, and
4. Adding to the conversation by thinking about disability in the future.

AMS 345: Medicine, Ableism, and Self-Representation (Tu 1-2.50)
Sarah Orem

This course will examine what it means to tell one's own story of disability, ill health, or sickness. William Dean Howells calls autobiography the "most democratic province of the republic of letters," suggesting that self-writing is broadly accessible in a way that other literary or artistic genres aren't. Indeed, one needn't have extensive training or funds to tell the story of one's own life. Feminist scholarship also views autobiography and self-representation as important political tools for minority communities, since self-definition can powerfully contest pathological stereotypes. In this course, we will investigate how and why disabled writers so often deploy auto-biographical perspectives - whether in photography, graphic novels, live performance, film, or written narrative - and how these acts of (re)presenting selfhood can contest disability stigma.