Research Requirements: At least five sources, including at least two course texts (readings, movies, or video), at least one scholarly source from elsewhere, at least one blog or website containing the words of disabled people. In reading and watching video about the disability movement, we have seen that there is no single “disability movement perspective” or “disability identity view”: some of the speakers in Code of the Freaks are concerned about the influence of Doomed Cripple storylines, while others are more interested in finding figures to identify with in the movies; some of the people discussed in No Pity focus more on access to public space for the physically disabled, while others are interested in deinstitutionalization for the intellectually disabled. Each of these battles requires different tools and resources, and some may not be compatible with others—for example, Joseph Shapiro suggests that there’s an “integrationist” and a “separatist” approach to disability, and that those approaches make opposite demands; but on the other hand, he seems open to the idea that one can learn from both and maybe find some middle ground.
Using No Pity and other resources you’ve encountered in class, write about one disability movement goal, such as access, opposing employment discrimination, diversity in representation, education, fighting stigma, artistic expression, technology, charity vs. choice, legal issues, or anything we’ve read about/discussed. The paper does not have to be about “disability rights”: it could be about disability identity or culture. You should apply concepts we’ve learned in class, such as eugenic thought or charity vs. empowerment or recognition narratives, to specific events. I recommend that you look at the last couple of months on Representing Disability in an Ableist World (facebook page), It’s Our Story (youtube site), Media Dis&Dat (blog), or any of a few other sites I’ll call your attention to. Identify the problem, discuss approaches to change, trace how and whether they’ve worked, speculate on what else would need to happen for things to improve.
Since the goal of this paper is “synthesis,” you should work hard on making ideas and quotes from your sources interact with each other: you should now and then use several sources within one paragraph to explain, supplement, or contrast with each other and with your argument or topic. It’s fine to incorporate an idea that you wrote about in an earlier paper, but don’t recycle a paragraph word for word.