Spring 2019 Materials


For Thursday, January 24th, please read the following before coming to class. These readings are from popular media publications and are very quick and accessible reads. Please don’t be frightened by the number; they are all short!

For Tuesday, January 29th, we will not meet formally as a class. Instead, I ask that you use the time during our class to watch the documentary Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement (please take notes while you watch; you may need to login through VT libraries to stream the video).

We will discuss the film in class on Thursday, January 31st. Please also read Harriet McBryde Johnson’s last chapter from her memoir: Johnson_TooLate_LastChap_v4.pdf

For Tuesday, February 5th: We have the pleasure of having Martina Svyantek coming to discuss “Access Fails” with us. For this class please read the following blog posts from disabled community members:

For Thursday, February 7th, we’ll continue to discuss infrastructure. Please watch this tour of a new building in Toronto before coming to class:

Hearing, Deafness, and Technology

Tuesday, February 12: Please read the following short opinion articles:

Thursday, February 14th, there is an article uploaded to Canvas to read before this class:


For Tuesday, February 19th, please read:

For Thursday, February 21st, please read:


We will have presentations this week from two groups.

Tuesday, February 26: Team Normie presents Accidents of Nature by Harriett McBryde Johnson and Exile and Pride by Eli Clare

Thursday, February 28: Leap Day presents Imbeciles by Adam Cohen and Good Kings, Bad Kings by Susan Nussbaum.

Transition Week

This week we’ll be processing some of what we learned from the prior week’s book presentations and thinking about disability identity in the now.

Tuesday, March 5th: We have guest instructor Joshua Earle, who will be filling in for me as I will be away on a work trip. He’ll be leading you on institutionalization and eugenics. Readings:

Thursday, March 7th: We will be talking about ABA therapy, stimming, and normal v pathological. (CW: some of these are hard reads, esp re: abuse, coercion) Pick 2 of the follow to read:

[Spring Break during the week of March 11]

The Americans with Disabilities Act

Welcome back from Spring Break. We have two guest speakers this week to tell us about the Americans with Disabilities Act. Through this unit, you will become more knowledgeable about laws surrounding workplace accommodations, requirements on public spaces, and infrastructure.

Tuesday, March 19th: Pam Vickers, the 504/ADA Coordinator for Virginia Tech, will tells us about the ADA, its five Titles (sections), and then give more in depth information about Title II. The readings are about the limits and the promise of the ADA (and what it requires of disabled people) from the perspective of disability activists:

Thursday, March 21st: Mike Kutnak, who measures spaces on campus to ensure compliance, will be coming to share with us details about his work and about how to measure for the ADA. The readings for this day are for your own interest; I’d love for you to flip through to see what guidelines and checklists for ADA specifications look like, but you do not have to read word-for-word:

March 26th: Group book presentation on Fading Scars by Corbett O’Toole and Accessible America by Bess Williamson

March 28th: Guest visit by Christa Miller to talk about Braille. Materials:

Proposed Enhancements, Identities, Communities

April 2: Genetic Technologies 

April 4: Exoskeletons

Tuesday, April 16th: Extraordinary Bodies Group Book Presentation on Extraordinary Bodies by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson and Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.

Thursday, April 18th: I am hoping for us to pick up what we’ve talked about from the two preceding class presentations to discuss human enhancement. Reading:

April 23rd: Book Presentation by Care Work Team on Care Work by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and the documentary Unrest

April 25th: We will discuss interdependency and infrastructures of care. This is our last day before presentations take the last four of our meeting times.

All subsequent meetings are focused on student projects, presentations, materials. We have some ADA survey projects, traditional research papers, OpEds, course units, topic projects, short stories, design boards, lifehack presentations, poetry, and some other unusual things this semester.

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