Disability Studies, Disability Justice: Challenging Ableism
Kia ora koutou, ngā mihi nui ki a koutou.
Welcome to the Disability Studies Conference 2020 held at the University of Auckland. The conference is for all people interested in disability and disability issues. The conference will provide space for activists, advocates, allies, educators and researchers to present and discuss innovations, issues, concerns, challenges and opportunities in the fields of Disability Studies.
Disability Studies understands disability as a central aspect of all human experience. Historically, approaches to disability have begun from the point of disability as something needing to be diagnosed, measured, repaired, hidden, managed. The fields of research and practice traditionally associated with disability have included medicine, related health sciences, psychology and social work. Disability Studies questions the views and associated practices that have emerged out of these historical approaches to disability.
Disability Studies is grounded in the social sciences (e.g. sociology, geography, political science) and humanities (e.g. literature, linguistics, cultural studies, philosophy, arts). Work in these disciplines questions the ways disability is defined, how it is represented in society, and how disability is responded to at individual, social, national and international levels. The Social Model of Disability is an early example of challenging the traditional or expert model of disability as something that a person ‘had’ and instead argued that disability is the result of the particular ways society is organised. The myriad ways society discriminates against disabled people, the processes and effects of disabled people as oppressed, are areas for investigation and resistance. More recent work in Disability Studies also attends to the materiality of impairment and insists on the disabled experience as foundational to our efforts to theorise human experiences.
The main theme of the conference is Disability Studies, Disability Justice: Challenging Ableism. Ableist privilege and the abled/disabled binary it perpetuates is a key priority for many disability studies scholars, disability activists, allies and accomplices. This conference brings together theoretical, empirical and activist work on ableism, including (but not limited to) analyses of the circulation of ableist logics and practices in policy and institutional settings, explorations of ableist stereotypes and their influences on everyday living, and on-the-ground efforts to raise public consciousness and unsettle ableist taken-for-granteds.
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