4/11/2020: Anti-Ableist Roundup

Hi, friends. It’s been a while since I’ve posted a feature, so I am posting what I am calling an “Anti-Ableist Roundup” to make up for that. I hope you are safe and have the resources you need. Please contact me if I can help you in any way.


Lauren E. Obermark. (2019) “Making Space for the Misfit: Disability and Access in Graduate Education in English.” College English 82(2): 173-203.

Lauren Obermark’s “Making Space for the Misfit: Disability and Access in Graduate Education in English” is the best article I’ve read that explicitly talks about the ableism of graduate education in our field(s) in specific, tangible ways. This text will be central to our work.

Neil Simpkins. (2018). “Towards an Understanding of Accommodation Transfer: Disabled Students’ Strategies for Navigating Classroom Accommodations.” Composition Forum 39.

Abstract: This article offers the term “accommodation transfer” as a way to understand the rhetorical skills disabled students transfer alongside writing knowledge as they access college writing assignments and writing classrooms. This study is based on five qualitative interviews with disabled college students and draws upon both writing transfer research and disability studies. The author explores how participants adapted writing process knowledge and learned how to negotiate their accommodation needs with instructors across their academic careers. Specifically, these negotiations include assessing instructors’ stances towards disability and testing effective genres and vocabulary to communicate about disability with instructors. The article concludes with two suggestions for cripping teaching for transfer: embracing and teaching crip time for writing, and highlighting the relationship between mentorship and interdependence.

Jay Dolmage. Twitter Thread on Eugenics. April 9, 2020.

Amy Vidali. (2020). “The Biggest Little Ways Toward Access: Thinking with Disability in Site-Specific Rhetorical Work.” Review of Communication 20(2): 161-169.

Abstract: This essay examines what thinking with disability brings to site-specific rhetorical work, which is work where rhetoricians gather to study location-related texts. Adapting the rhetorical triangle, I suggest that this work is fundamentally about the relationships between communicators, texts, and audiences, and my focus on the importance of including the perspectives of disabled and/or disability activists adds the “angle” of access. This “angle” requires reconsideration of how texts, speakers, and audiences connect and interact, as inaccessibility hinders and/or excludes some communicators, disregards some audiences, and renders some texts illegible. At the same time, thinking with disability in site-specific rhetorical work provides opportunities to support communities of disability scholars and scholarship, to create and implement accessible rhetorical methods, and to imagine inclusion as an iterative and fluid process. To examine these ideas, the essay shifts between articulating general principles and methodologies and offering specific examples from the Disability and Accessibility working group at the 2019 Rhetoric Society of America Project in Power, Place, and Publics at the University of Nevada, Reno.

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