Critical Disability Studies

Critical Disability Studies is

Critical disability studies have emerged in the early decades of the 21st century.  This can be largely attributed to a developing cultural awareness of socially constructed perceptions of what society deems “normal”, or otherwise. Dan Goodley is a key figure in this area, particularly in Disability Studies: An Introduction (2010). CDS examines the phenomenon of disability and how it has come to be associated with discrimination and inequality. These critics may examine how disabilities are represented in literature, whether as a flaw, impairment, and/or asset, and how literature shapes and reinforces concepts about “normal” bodies, minds, and/or individuals.

Key Terms: Dialectic; Hermeneutics; Semiotics; Text & Intertextuality; Tone


Foundational Questions of Critical Disability Studies

  • How does the text represent disability and/or individuals with disabilities?
  • How does a character’s disability interact with or enhance other literary elements to affect the story’s theme?
  • Does a given character’s disability seem to intersect with other aspects of his or her identity, such as race, gender, or religion?

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