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Disability Studies as a Liberatory Project: Implications for the Classroom

Strimple, Cheryl

Although disability studies (DS) coalesced as a field of critical theory in the
late 1980s, DS has yet to gain widespread acknowledgement and acceptance among critical theories, university curricula, and the academy. From the perspective of liberation theology, DS destabilizes, problematizing race and ethnicity as the current bases of minoritized identities. That liberation theology is viewed as a "thing of the past" indicates the tenacious hold of an unspoken center of privilege. Though highly contextualized, unexamined privilege continues to operate as though universal, objective, and neutral. If liberation theology is spoken of in the past tense, what are the implications for minoritized identities, generally, and disability as a little-recognized minority identity, in particular? Universal Design for Learning (UDL) stands at the intersection of liberationist projects and disability studies. Disability studies offers a vantage point from which to question assumptions about pedagogical practices in the classroom, and UDL provides a liberatory conceptual frame and practical strategies to redress the inequalities in education faced by people with disabilities.

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Union Seminary Quarterly Review

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Union Theological Seminary
Published Here
September 22, 2015
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