Course Cluster in Disability Studies

Link to WesMaps Courses

The field of Disability Studies takes “disability” to be a socially and historically constructed category of bodily and psychological difference. The field investigates the political, social, economic, and historical origins and ramifications of the classification and representation of bodies as normal/able or abnormal/disabled. Disability Studies takes the perspective that individuals and groups defined as “disabled” are so-defined because of societal or environmental inaccessibility: for example, a person who uses a wheelchair is rendered disabled by the normative usage of stairs in public buildings.  

Wesleyan’s cluster in Disability Studies is interdisciplinary and interdivisional, including courses in American Studies; Anthropology; Biology; College of Letters; English; Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; History; Language; Neuroscience and Behavior; Psychology; and Science in Society. These courses give students frameworks for investigating the social, historical, and disciplinary production of bodily and psychological difference.  Disability Studies at Wesleyan does not ascribe or attribute disability to specific bodies, psychological conditions, or groups, but rather teaches students to understand the classificatory conventions that decide what is normal/able or abnormal/disabled in a given time and place.  

If you have questions regarding Disability Studies or this course cluster, please contact the cluster’s administrator, Professor Margot Weiss (