Office: 301 Mason Hall
Phone: (516) 463-6817
1. Course Description: This course offers an introduction to the field of disability studies. Disability studies approaches disability not as an individual tragedy or a medical problem but as a cultural construct--akin to gender and race--that undergirds social practices and cultural representations in various media. This course draws on various disciplinary perspectives to understand the broad and complex phenomenon of disability in historical perspective, as represented in literature and culture, and as it impinges on issues of broad public concern today.
1. The following two books are available for purchase at the university bookstore. They can also be purchased at any online bookseller.
a. Kim Nielsen, A Disability History of the United States (required)
b. Ruth O’Brien, Voices from the Edge: Narratives about the Americans with Disabilities Act (recommended). This text is also available at no cost as an ebook through Hofstra’s library, but the license only allows one reader access at a time. Depending your preference, you could purchase your own copy or use the library copy as it is available.
2. Additional reading assignments are available on electronic reserve (ereserve), which is linked to our course Blackboard site, or as links through Blackboard. You will see them on Blackboard in the folder for the appropriate unit.
3. There are links to additional media for this course available on blackboard. These assignments are listed in the scheduled assignments below. You will also see these in the folder for the appropriate unit.
4. Optional: There are three additional films that I cannot make available on Blackboard: Sound and Fury, Soul Surfer, Gattaca. If you are interested, they are available as streaming content on Amazon.com and itunes and possibly other streaming video providers. (Sound and Fury is available on Netflix if you have a Netflix account). I have listed these as optional assignments in the syllabus and on Blackboard. Some of the paper topics for Unit 1 and Unit 4 ask you to write about these films, but you may also choose other options instead (see the paper topics for details). Deadlines:
June 25 classes begin
July 2 last day to drop with no W
July 3 & 4 University closed for holiday
July 7 last day to add
July 8 first graded paper assignment due
July 22 second graded paper assignment due
July 23 last day to withdraw
July 29 third graded paper assignment due & session II classes end
Unit 1: Models of Disability
1. Read Straus, “Introduction” to Extraordinary Measures (ereserve)
2. View lecture Models of Disability and participate in VoiceThread discussion
3. Watch film The Boy Inside (documentary, 47 minutes) and Temple Grandin TED talk (20 minutes): http://www.ted.com/talks/temple_grandin_the_world_needs_all_kinds_of_minds?language=en and contribute to VoiceThread discussion
4. Optional: Watch film Sound and Fury (documentary, 80 min) and Heatherworld TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhm5OaXJVMQ
5. Optional: Watch film Soul Surfer and Aimee Mullin’s TED talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ0iMulicgg
Unit 2: Disability, Race, Gender, Class and Disability
1. Read Nielsen chs 1-3 (pp. 1-48)
2. Contribute to unit 2 reading questions
3. Watch film Sun Kissed (documentary, 85 minutes)
4. Participate in unit 2 VoiceThread discussion
5. Optional additional reading: Penelope Kelsey, “Disability and Native North American Boarding School Narratives: Madonna Swan and Sioux Sanitorium.” Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 7.2 (2013): 195-212.
Writing assignment one due July 8
Unit 3: Representing Disability
1. Read Nielsen chs 4-5 (pp. 49-99)
2. Read Bogdan “The Social Construction of Freaks” (ereserve)
3. Read Garland-Thomson, “Beholding” (ereserve)
4. Contribute to unit 3 reading questions
5. Watch film: Phoenix Dance (22 minutes)