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an introduction to disability studies for engineers

I’m sitting on the thesis committee for a graduate student in biomechatronics—a PhD project that will be entirely technical. This student reached out to me to ask about placing engineering for disability in a larger social context, and I’m glad for the opportunity to think about what’s an essential primer in disability studies, appropriate for a graduate-level young researcher whose preparation has been entirely in STEM. In case it’s useful to others, here’s what I’m suggesting:

1. From Lennard Davis, Ed., The Disability Studies Reader:

Davis, L. “Introduction: Disability, Normality, and Power.”

Baynton, D. “Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History.”

Berube, M. “Disability, Democracy, and the New Genetics.”

Garland-Thomson, R. “Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory.”

5. Kafer, A. Feminist, Queer, Crip.
8. Lorde, A. The Cancer Journals.
9. This op-ed series from the New York Times.
Image is Audre Lorde’s book cover. Some of you may know I speak more about Lorde and her influence on my work in both of these talks: here and here.

One thought on “an introduction to disability studies for engineers

  1. You might want to add that it is important to include PWDs in tech conducted research, otherwise known as “participatory research,” to prevent creation of products that nobody wants. The inclusion also provides opportunity for the STEM person to converse with a PWD and understand that we all want work and love.–allan

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