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DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture

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DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture

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These notes cover week three of class.
Disability Rights And Culture
Aly Patsavas
Class Notes
DHD, Disability, Right, Culture
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This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Katie on Monday February 1, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to DHD 201 Disability Rights and Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago taught by Aly Patsavas in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 22 views. For similar materials see Disability Rights And Culture in Culture at University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Date Created: 02/01/16
Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim DHD Disability, Rights and Culture Week Three Notes Disability Politicized Where does Politics Belong? -Notion that politics have a specific place/space – High-school classroom vs University vs Activist meeting -Polite conversation and politics do not mix -Certain things are inherently political – Examples? -Certain things are inherently not political – Examples? What are Politics? What is Political? What is the difference between these two pictures? -We understand one of these images to be political and one not to be. We are trained to think that political means particular things – controversial, argumentative, etc. -Disability Studies scholars and disability activists would argue that both of these images are political. Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Difference: One represents are political protest but both represent disability (and how disability is represented is political. What Does Viewing Disability As Political Mean? DOES NOT – Mean advocating for a particular political party It DOES mean – Seeing disability as something effected by bigger political, social, cultural, economic, and historical factors – Understanding disability as never neutral – Understanding disability as more than an individual issue that requires individual solutions Politicizing Disability -Contesting values and meanings attached to disability – Disability is only a problem -Challenging power relations – Disabled people are not involved in knowledge or decision making -Claiming disability – Disability part of who disabled people are De-individualizing Disability -Politicizing disability means de-individualizing disability – Recognizing that disabled people share experiences – These experiences are connected to/framed by something more than an individual problem -Clare tells us several stories: Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim – Connie Panzarino – went to a bar and no one talked to her. They talked to her attendant to ask why she brought her “patient” to the bar – Bree Walker Lampley – television news host who was publically critiqued for having a child who might inherit her disability -“Irresponsible,” selfish, etc -“Connie is a medical patient, not just another dyke at a dyke bar; Bree is immoral and irresponsible, not just another expectant mother. It is no exaggeration to say that we are genderless, asexual undesirables” (Clare 113). -Clare brings these stories together -Why? Refocusing Interventions -Politicizing disability means challenging the focus of the “problem of disability” on the individual disabled person and refocusing on the problem of disabling society, social systems. -“The disability rights movement, like other social change movements, names systems of oppression as the problem, not individual bodies. In short, it is ableism that needs the cure, not our bodies” (Clare 106). -Moving the problem – Locating the problem within systems of oppression. What Are Systems Of Oppression? Example: Disabled Parents and Attendants -“Legally, the attendants [in the Michigan case] could help the parents go to the bathroom, for instance, but could not put a diaper on their baby. All these paternalistic forces—legal, medical, financial—create and maintain a real lived childhood for many disabled adults” (Clare 109). Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Systems -Medicare and Insurance is a system -Built into the attendant services are a set of beliefs – Disabled people are not parents – Providing attendant services is “charity” – Disabled people are in isolation and therefore things they need to do to live do not and cannot involve others. – Agency that defines what attendants can, need to and should do Meeting Individual Needs vs. Individualizing -Recognizing that some disabled people need different things from attendant services than other disabled people: Meeting Individual Needs -Viewing disability as something that is only about disabled person’s body -And seeing disabled people as isolated from family structures and responsibilities: Individualizing disability Example: “Obesity Epidemic” -Meeting Individual Needs: – Recognizing that different people have different relationships to bodies and weight – Recognizing that people have different access to healthy foods, physical activity, and healthcare -Individualizing “Obesity” – Identifying the weight first as only and always problem – Problem that is the individual’s fault or responsibility Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim – Belief that “if someone is “overweight,” it is because they, as individuals, are not trying hard enough Example: Pain and Pain Relief -Meeting Individual Needs: Recognizing that some pain relief practices do not work for everyone – Judy Foreman reports that exercise that causes pain is never bad for someone in chronic pain -This is a blanket statement that does not take into account ways that the causes of chronic pain differ widely Individualizing Pain: – Locating the problem of chronic pain in the individual – Means that it is the individual’s “fault” – The problems associated with chronic pain are a result of individual bodies (not lack of accessible care, work demands that wear out bodies, situations that cause stress, etc – Individual responsibility to solve problem of pain -Exercise more, find more doctors -Politicizing disability is about naming the problems differently: – From one of (only, always, mostly, inherently) individual tragedy or problem – To one that is located in systems, structures, lack of access, opportunities, and rights -This shifting focus is politicizing disability Claiming Disability Community And Identity -Central to the process of recognizing disability as more than an individual problem – Connecting experiences of disability Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim • Connie and Bree – Finding disability community – Claiming Identity as a Disabled, Deaf, Mad, Crip -“I love being disabled. That’s not a statement you hear too often outside of disability circles. Pretty much everyone assumes that given a choice disabled people would rather be cured than disabled, And it’s certainly true that lots of us would gladly give up the symptoms of disability…as well as the daily hassles of dealing with ableism. But for many of us the reality of being disabled…is cause for celebration” – Corebett O’Toole. Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History 14. Looking Ahead Assimilation vs. Social Change -What is the difference? -Eli Clare states: “Taken side by side, the images of Ed and Ellen ask questions about social change and assimilation, invisibility and representation, stereotypes and self-image, self-determination and sexuality” (122). -As the semester progresses, I want us to continue to think about these two concepts -What are the differences? What are the overlaps? What role does choice play in assimilation? -“I let the images of Ellen and the old woman in the Mencap poster lie side by side. I imagine the American disability charity MDA and the English disability charity Mencap, both posing as saviors for disabled people duking it out. I watch as Ellen’s full-color sexual self stares down Mencap’s black-and- white camera” (Clare 105). Keywords: Oppression, PRIVILEGE, Ableism Hailee Gibbons What Is Oppression? Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim -Oppression is the systematic exercise of power against a an individual or group of people in unjust ways that facilitates marginalization, disadvantage, and disempowerment -Oppression results from people and systems like economic structures, cultural attitudes, and social formations. Policy, how institutions are built -Oppression is a system that maintains advantage and disadvantage based on social group memberships and operates on individual, institutional and cultural levels. -Oppression can be intentional, unintentional, or blur the lines between the two. Prejudice and Discrimination -Prejudice is an unjustified or inaccurate attitude (usually negative) against a person based solely on the individual’s membership in a group. (ideas) -Discrimination is differential, negative treatment of a person based on group, class or culture to which that person belongs. (acts) -Prejudice and discrimination are consequential when they reflect, support, and maintain systems of oppression (i.e., when they are built into the structures of society). Levels of Oppression -Individual: Attitudes and actions that reflect prejudice against a marginalized social group. -Institutional: Policies, laws, rules, norms and customs enacted by organizations and social institutions that disadvantage some social groups and advantage other social groups. These institutions include the media, religion, government, employment, education, law, the health care system, etc. -Societal/Cultural: Social norms, roles, rituals, language, music and art that reflect and reinforce the belief that one social group is superior to another. Individual vs. Systemic Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim -Individual acts of prejudice and discrimination alone do not equate to oppression. -There must be power involved. -Charlton (1998): “Oppression is a phenomenon of power in which relations between groups are experienced in terms of domination and subordination, superiority and inferiority. At the center of this phenomenon is control. Those with power control, those without power lack control” (p. 30). -Oppression = Prejudice/Discrimination + Power -Thus, oppression at the individual level focuses on prejudice and discrimination against marginalized groups. A Focus On Systems -Although individual instances of oppression are important to call out and recognize, they are typically reflective of the systems of oppression (at the institutional and cultural levels) which they are produced by (and in turn, which they reinforce). -A focus on systems places the emphasis on power, social formations, and structure – rather than individual beliefs or acts. Charlton (1998) argued for understanding and situating oppression in systems and structures that marginalize people for political-economic and sociocultural reasons. Examples of Oppression Individual Unintentional -A holiday toy donation drive for children highlights that the gifts are coming from charity rather than poor parents. (Classism) -A person talks to an older adult similar to how they talk to a child. (Ageism) Individual Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Intentional -A parent asked to have his child removed from a gay teacher’s classroom. (Heterosexism) -Someone uses racial slurs to refer to people of color. (Racism) Institutional Unintentional -Students’ school breaks align with Christian holidays (e.g., Christmas, Easter) but not other religious holidays. (Religious Oppression) -The majority of bathrooms in public spaces are divided using the gender binary: men and women. (Transgender Oppression) Institutional Intentional -A company creates a policy that mandates retirement by a certain age. (Ageism) -On average, women are paid $0.70 for every $1.00 their male counterparts make. (Sexism) Social/Cultural Unintentional -A belief in equal opportunity and “fairness” results in a meritocracy, meaning the individual is blamed if he/she/ze are not successful. As a result, poor people are often viewed as lazy and undeserving. (Classism) Social/Cultural Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Intentional -Photos for advertisements and magazines featuring Black women often “whitewash” them, meaning they lighten their skin digitally. This contributes to cultural beauty norms that favor Caucasian traits such as fair skin, light straight hair, light eyes, etc. (Racism) Ableism -Ableism specifically describes and names disability oppression. -Also sometimes referred to as disableism -It is the systemic oppression of people with disabilities. -Describes the attitudes and belief systems behind disability oppression. -Ableism is centered on able-bodied/able-minded as the “norm” and “ideal” – casting disability as a diminished state of being human. (Campbell, 2009) -Like racism, classism, sexism, and other forms of oppression, ableism occurs on individual, institutional, and cultural levels. Privilege -Privilege is a special right, advantage or immunity available to an individual or (as we are talking about this this context) a group of people -According to Peggy McIntosh: “Privilege exists when one group has something of value that is denied to others simply because of the groups they belong to, rather than because of anything they’ve done or failed to do.” Non-Disabled Privilege -Non-disabled privilege refers specifically to the many benefits and advantages (some overt, some covert) that society provides to able-bodied and able-minded people. • Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim Examples: -I can, if I wish, arrange to attend academic or social events without worrying if they are accessible to me. -I can ignore the width of doors, the presence of steps, a lack of curb cuts, and other architectural features of buildings or public spaces. -I can assume that I will not be perceived as helpless, incompetent, dangerous, or childlike just because of the condition of my body or mind. -My daily routine does not have to be carefully planned to accommodate medication, therapy, or doctor’s appointments. -I am reasonably confident that I will be able to find a job, and that job will either provide me with health insurance or not interfere with my health care benefits. Disability and Privilege/Oppression -Sometimes a person’s type of disability (physical, sensory, psychological, intellectual, etc.) or diagnosis influences how they experience privilege and/or oppression. -There may be differences between people with: -Physical, sensory, psychological, or cognitive disabilities -Apparent or non-apparent disabilities. (Sometimes referred to as visible and invisible disabilities.) -Stable disabilities or intermittent disabilities. -Disabled people still have shared experiences of oppression and the societal norms of able- bodiedness/able-mindedness. The Complexity Of Passing Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim -Passing refers to people who can “pass” (i.e., are classified by others) as members of the dominant group but actually belong to a marginalized group. -Some people are also classified as a member of one marginalized group, but actually belong to another. -Passing privilege exists, but is contextual, unstable, and subjective. -Thus, disclosure becomes difficult – it can be a way of claiming identity, building community, or accessing rights, but can also result in oppression. Intersectionality -Originated in the work of Black feminists and queer women of color (e.g., Alzaldua, 1987; Combahee River Collective, 1977; Crenshaw, 1991; Lorde, 1984). -Framework for understanding multiple and intersecting identities and forms of oppression. -Oppressions are interconnected. -Also highlights how institutions operate with consideration for only singular, dominant (i.e., “normal”) identities. -Even institutions meant to address oppression struggle to enact intersectional approaches. -Crenshaw and Richie’s Example: Domestic Violence Centers -Designed with “women” in mind – but in actuality for middle or upper class, white, non-disabled, cisgender women who are U.S. citizens and speak English. Intersectionality And Disability -Disabled people in third world nations experience extreme poverty and economic marginalization (Charlton, 1998). -Over 50% of people who experience police brutality have psychiatric disabilities and most are people of color (Harris, 2014). Aly Patsavas Co-Instructor: Hailee Gibbons TA: Randa Abdelrahim -A cultural focus on “healthy” or “successful” aging mandates people remain youthful and non- disabled throughout the life course, even in old age, and those who cannot are perceived as responsible for their own vulnerability, which justifies inadequate state support for old disabled people. Charlton states: “Most importantly, oppression, like all social processes, must be understood as experienced in and conditioned by real life” (p. 9). -Oppression (like discrimination, ableism and privilege) is a concept that’s sometimes hard to understand. It can be hard to identify or link to concrete examples. We all known that oppression exists, but sometimes its hard to see things that happen in “real life” as caused by or as a result of oppression. Take Home Thoughts -Part of the work that disability studies scholars, disability activists, and allies do is to name and address real, everyday acts as oppression, as discrimination, as ableism, and/or as resulting from privilege. -These concepts as a starting point and know that we will be going through more concrete examples of these things throughout the semester. -These are concepts that, by the end of the semester, we want you to be familiar with and to be able to work with.


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