By Anna Landre, Madeleine Gibbons-Shapiro and the Georgetown University Disability Studies Class of 2021. Illustrated by Kat Woodward. Image description: A colorful digital painting of a cornflower blue and ocean green human figure sitting cross-legged in front of a golden bird cage on a pale green background. The figure wears a graduation cap and has a pink and yellow phoenix emblazoned over their heart. Behind the figure, white sheets of paper and pink hibiscus flowers float through the air. Pink and coral roads swirl through the image. The figure sits at their crossing.

Want to become a Disability Studies Minor? Please fill out this brief form (new window). This is not an application, but we do ask that all students interested in declaring the minor this Fall complete the interest form by October 31st. If you have questions, please email Professor Fink at jnf5@georgetown.edu (new window) or Professor Rifkin at lsr@georgetown.edu (new window).

A Statement of Solidarity from the Program in Disability Studies

We honor and lift the names of Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, James Scurlock, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd, among many others murdered and brutalized by anti-Black racist violence.

We condemn these murders, and the violent police reaction to protests in DC and elsewhere. We recognize the history of structural racism underwriting this, and its intersections with ableism. As a program and movement, we resolve to work to change these structures of oppression.

We are providing the following links to some organizations doing work at the intersections of racial and disability justice. We  recommit ourselves to working in solidarity with Black Disabled organizers, indigenous organizers, and organizers of color to challenge white supremacy.

Over the past three decades, disability studies has emerged as a robust and vibrant field of intellectual inquiry, bringing together cutting-edge research in the humanities, social sciences, and health sciences. The discipline analyzes the cultural and political significance of disability, examining the construction and production of disability in history and in the present moment. Disability studies hones critical tools to analyze how societies grapple with physical and mental difference, the way disability becomes a site for negotiating stigma and social power, and questions of normativity and deviance.

Disability is a fundamental dimension of human diversity. One in every five Americans lives with a disability, making it our country’s largest minority population. Students increasingly recognize that gaining a more sophisticated understanding of disability experience is a critical element in their education, and one that will help prepare them for a growing number of disability-specific careers. Drawing from rich offerings in disciplines as various as anthropology, bioethics, English, health systems administration, nursing, philosophy, psychology, theater and performance studies, theology, and women’s and gender studies, the minor in disability studies will enable students to explore this critical facet of human diversity in an in-depth fashion as it relates to their major field of study and to their professional aspirations.

Program News

Alumna Continues Advocacy on Campus for Those with Disabilities

July 23rd, 2021

Founder of the student group and organization Diversability, Tiffany Yu (B’10) seeks to expand access for disabled students and celebrate disability culture on campus. Through philanthropy, advocacy and activism, Yu aims to help the university grow initiatives, programs and opportunities at Georgetown.

Disability Studies Minor Wins Marshall Scholarship

December 7th, 2020

The senior took full advantage of her time at Georgetown to connect with world-class faculty across the university and has focused her major on Latin American studies and African studies with minors in disability studies and international development studies.

College and University News Related to Disability Studies

Junior Creates Organization to Advocate for More Accessible Practices in High School Debates

July 26th, 2021

Alanna Cronk (C’23) started the organization 1AC-ACCESSIBILITY (1AC), which seeks to make high school debates more accessible to those with disabilities, in the spring of her sophomore year. A speech champion at the state level, Cronk was impacted by the lack of accommodations for those with disabilities during her time competing and saw an opportunity […]

Making Georgetown Communication More Accessible, Inclusive for All

April 8th, 2021

As Georgetown shifted to an online learning environment last spring, there was an increase in virtual communication through websites, email and social media. Libbie Rifkin, teaching professor in the Department of English and associate director of the Disability Studies Program, collaborated with a group of administrators across campus to promote accessible ways to communicate at all university levels through digital means.

Georgetown Senior Publishes Book on Intersection of Business, Law and Minority Politics

March 30th, 2021

Before graduating this spring, Irene Chun (C’21) will publish her first book Coloring Ivory that discusses minority politics, business and the law. Chun, who is an Interdisciplinary Studies major concentrating in Government and Women and Gender Studies, combined personal essays and case studies from her time as a student at Georgetown and from growing up as a multi-minority.