Disability theory for a disabled gal
November 25, 2022 4:28 PM   Subscribe

I want to learn more about current disabled-people-led (and probably radical) thinking around disability. What sorts of keywords should I be using when searching for resources? Who are excellent writers and thinkers in this field who I should explore? Please recommend books, podcasts, websites, art, music, and any other resources. I'm interested in a broad range of conceptions of what it means to be disabled.

I experience a constellation of traits that make me disabled in most spaces I enter -- a long-standing ankle injury that gives me pain and makes walking intermittently very difficult (plus other, related joint issues), celiac disease that is very cross-contact level sensitive and makes it difficult or impossible to share food with others, a recent (and very affirming) ADHD diagnosis, and putative autism (I believe it's very likely I am autistic, but have not been evaluated for autism yet).

It's only recently that I've started thinking of these experiences as disabling. Now, I want to learn more about the social model of disability, and explore more broadly what disability rights folks, creative disabled folks, and any other disabled folks are saying, thinking, doing, and making.

I see parallels and also differences among my varied experiences (physically navigating my environment while in pain, finding safe food when outside of the home as a celiac, navigating my social relationships and surroundings as a neurodivergent person). I'm interested hearing about other people's lived experiences and theoretical frameworks.

I also want tools to explore confront the more subtle internalized ableism I'm experiencing. Ior example, I believe strongly in the value of neurodiversity in theory, but in practice it's hard for me to not have doubts or internal conflict around this.
posted by cnidaria to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Since you've already mentioned the social model of disability, "critical disability theory/critical disability studies" a good terms to start with.

The Disability Visibility Project is a great (very, very great - there's so much there) resource, since it's aggressively "cross-disability" (another useful key term) and intersectional.

The Leeds Centre for Disability Studies is another great resource. They've been at it for a long time, and they maintain the super-useful Disability Archive:

"The aim of the Disability Archive UK was established by Professor Colin Barnes to provide disabled people, students and scholars with an interest in this and related fields, access to the writings of those disability activists, writers and allies whose work may no longer be easily accessible in the public domain. It is hoped that the documents available via the Archive will help to inform current and future debates on disability and related issues."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:45 PM on November 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Podcast-wise, you might want to check out the the BBC's Ouch podcast (now defunct, but that link lets you find old episodes), and the currently-running Access All.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 4:54 PM on November 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

This talk, Engaging in disability as a creative practice, by Liz Jackson at Webstock '19 seems like it's the sort of thing you're looking for.
posted by maupuia at 5:04 PM on November 25, 2022

Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure by Eli Clare
posted by lapis at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

Imani Barbarin
Sins Invalid
Alice Wong
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Rebecca Cokley
Neurodivergent Rebel
Any of the Twitter accounts in this article (or wherever they moved to if they left Twitter)
posted by matildaben at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2022 [3 favorites]

Imani Barbarin's Crutches and Spice
posted by lapis at 5:05 PM on November 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Tiffany Hammond - autism
Rebekah Taussig - physical disability
Nina Tame - physical disability
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:28 PM on November 25, 2022 [2 favorites]

seconding many of the above answers, especially Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
adding Mia Mingus, Alison Kafer, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Sami Schalk
posted by dizziest at 6:29 PM on November 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Nick Walker - Neuroqueer Heresies
Dr Devon Price - Laziness Does Not Exist - Unmasking Autism - great hot takes on Instagram
posted by lloquat at 8:44 PM on November 25, 2022

Off the top of my head, some people to check out are Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarashima, Alice Wong, Riva Lehrer, Julia Bascom, the late Mel Baggs, Joy Demorra, and Keah Brown. All incredible writers. Look into disability justice as well.
posted by spiderbeforesunset at 9:07 PM on November 25, 2022

I have found Sara Hendren's writing and art about normalising disability and bringing universal principals forward in the everyday environment very thought-provoking and positive. She had an excellent essay in Wired and on Medium about why All Technology is Assistive. Other recent work looks at prosthetics and the future of work, and a book that explores the social model of disability.
posted by amusebuche at 10:41 PM on November 25, 2022 [1 favorite]

Seconding the Disability Visibility Project. There is an anthology of essays as well (also titled Disability Visibility) and another one forthcoming (Disability Intimacy).

Lennard Davis is another name to search for, especially around the social model of disability. He is an academic but also writes for a general audience.
posted by basalganglia at 2:14 AM on November 26, 2022 [1 favorite]

A book that just came out called Health Communism

Written by co-hosts of the hit Death Panel podcast and longtime disability justice and healthcare activists Adler-Bolton and Vierkant, Health Communism first examines how capital has instrumentalized health, disability, madness, and illness to create a class seen as “surplus,” regarded as a fiscal and social burden. Demarcating the healthy from the surplus, the worker from the “unfit” to work, the authors argue, serves not only to undermine solidarity but to mark whole populations for extraction by the industries that have emerged to manage and contain this “surplus” population.

The authors of this book also have a podcast called Death Panel, from which I’ve learned a lot about disability justice issues
posted by SomethinsWrong at 7:45 PM on November 26, 2022

It's fiction, but True Biz by Sara Nović thoroughly explores many facets of being Deaf in the US 30 years or so after the introduction of the cochlear implant. As an autistic person who reads much better than I process speech, I found a lot of the book very relatable.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 10:26 AM on November 28, 2022

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