Critical Disability Studies is
- a research method, a type of textual research, that literary critics use to interpret texts
- a genre of discourse employed by literary critics used to share the results of their interpretive efforts.
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.
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?