Summer 2009 Disability Studies Quarterly Goes Live!
THE SUMMER 2009 ISSUE OF DISABILITY STUDIES QUARTERLY IS NOW LIVE ONLINE
As an appetizer for this super-size issue, here is the introduction summarizing the delectable contents:
It's time to turbo charge your mouse, your screen reader, your puff stick - and your mind: the Summer 2009 issue of DSQ is here! This is no light (lite?) summer reading, rather we believe that this issue illustrates the extraordinary academic growth and rich interdisciplinarity that characterize the current field of Disability Studies (DS) as it is also chronicled in the issue's opening article, "A Multinational Review of English Language Disability Studies Degrees and Courses."
In that survey, Pamela Cushing and Tyler Smith's data on the status and offerings of Disability Studies in the English-speaking academic world is impressive in its scope, analysis, and implications -- so much so that we have also encouraged leading Disability Studies scholars from various disciplines and sites in the English-speaking Disability Studies landscape to respond to this survey in five brief forum commentaries that accompany the original article. It is our belief that the diversity of the style and content of those commentaries is but further evidence of the range and robustness of our field.
And if those commentaries weren't enough, the other nine (9) articles in this issue also further illustrate - in bold, colorful, and skilled strokes - the interdisciplinary and intellectual prosperity of our field today. In the first peer reviewed article, "Admission: Madness and (Be)coming Out Within and Through Spaces of Confinement," situated in the field of Art Education - an academic area still rarely traversed with Disability Studies work - Jennifer Eisenhauer offers a double-pronged critical and creative commentary on her own recent gallery exhibition. Eisenhauer's essay explores what she articulates as "(be)coming out" (based on Deleuze and Guattari's concepts), a problematic she believes is particularly relevant for those with nonvisible disabilities and for representations of mental illness.
Situated in the primary discipline of history, where a considerable amount of Disability Studies scholarship has already taken place, Sarah D. Phillips still travels to a relatively unknown place in her article, "There Are No Invalids in the USSR!" A Missing Soviet Chapter in the New Disability History." Phillips' comprehensive and engaging investigation presents an overview of disability rights issues in the context of state socialism in the former Soviet Union and asks us to reconsider assumptions about the evolution of "disability rights" outside the West.
Situated in a more traditional setting for the study of "disability" (the classroom), Joan M. Ostrove, Gina A. Oliva, and Abigail Katowitz catalogue and analyze some "Reflections on the K-12 Years in Public
Schools: Relations with Hearing Teachers and Peers from the Perspective of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Adults." In general terms, their study explores how members of systematically disadvantaged groups describe their interactions with members of dominant groups. More specifically, they analyze written accounts from 60 deaf and hard-of-hearing adults to highlight their most positive experiences and negative reflections growing up in relation to their (mostly hearing) teachers and peers in "mainstreamed" educational settings.
Also set in a classroom space, while additionally crossing into the often contested terrain of the relationship between religion/spirituality and disability, Nadjwa Norton's article also considers both teacher and peer interactions around disability and around a child/student with a disability. In "Gabe's Stories:
Intersecting Spirituality with Speech-Related (Dis)ability," Norton employs a multicultural feminist critical narrative inquiry to illustrate how one Puerto Rican/Black working class male draws on his spirituality to negotiate his speech-related disability.
Anchored in the heart of English studies - an area Cushing and Smith suggest is one of significant growth in Disability Studies programs, courses, dissertations in the last decade - Sara Schotland analyze the complex nature of, and response to, gender and disability in Victorian fiction, specifically that of Charles Dickens. In "Who's That in Charge?
It's Jenny Wren, 'The Person of the House,'" Schotland focuses on Jenny Wren, the dolls' dressmaker in Our Mutual Friend (1864-5). The(disabled) character of Jenny Wren, Schotland argues, creates a unique and constructive life, "overcoming" her infirmities as she reclaims a reproductive future and creates a vision of the disabled woman as beautiful.
Writing within another Humanities field, that of Philosophy, Melinda Rosenberg investigates the implications of John Stuart Mill's libertarian principles for political claims relating to disability. In "Harm, Liberty, and Disability" Rosenberg invites us to consider the presumed (and false) "harm" of disability in discourses related to human and civil rights and liberty.
Situated in the discipline of Social Work, Lightman et al. draw on interviews with eight (8) respondents in Toronto, all of whom applied for, but were denied, long-term assistance because they were considered in some way "not disabled enough." In "'Not Disabled Enough': Episodic Disabilities and the Ontario Disability Support Program," they examine the tension between the ways episodic disabilities are embodied versus the manner in which "disability status" is legislatively constructed.
They conclude with strategies for addressing the wider spectrum of the "not disabled enough" disability experience for policy.
Also operating with an applied approach to disability/studies, Leonard Jason et al. examine " Types of Fatigue Among Individuals with ME/CFS."
Based on the development and administration of a 22-item fatigue questionnaire given to 130 persons diagnosed with ME/CFS and 251 controls, their findings suggest that individuals with ME/CFS experience different types of fatigue than those reported in general populations when "fatigue" and daily performance are discussed.
In the ninth peer-reviewed article, Sara Newman employs a cross-disciplinary rhetorical analysis to trace shifting and contested definitions of Tourette Syndrome in recent Democractic policy debates.
In "Irreconcilable Differences? Tourette Syndrome, Disability, and Definition in Democratic Policy Debates," Newman applies an explicit model for arguing and advocating with definitions (as they relate to disability generally but also to Tourette Syndrome more specifically) while she also examines how an advocacy organization has participated in civic deliberations about disability law in the public schools.
This issue also features five astonishingly diverse book reviews as even further evidence of the extent and depth of new work in our field. These days we are clearly "dressed to impress." So put on your sunscreen, pull up a chair at the DSQ beach, and prepare to be dazzled (though not burnt) by the brilliance of our field in this long and sunny issue.