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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

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.

New Program Director Starts

July 13th, 2020

Longtime core faculty member Professor Jennifer Natalya Fink is the new Director of the Program as of July 1.

College and University News Related to Disability Studies

Georgetown Student Works to End Stigma Against Disabilities in Kazakhstan

January 13th, 2020

Madeleine Gibbons Shapiro

This past summer, Madeleine Gibbons-Shapiro (C’21) conducted a social impact assessment of a café that employs intellectually disabled individuals in Kazakhstan. Because of her study, this impressive café can begin to work to expand its operation more widely across the country.

Lydia X.Z.Brown (C’15) Returns to Teach in Disability Studies for 2020

December 17th, 2019

Brown, an internationally significant disability justice activist, currently co-leads a project on algorithmic fairness and disability rights at the Institute for Technology Law & Policy at Georgetown’s law school. More broadly, their work has focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, policing, and incarceration.