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About DSI

Photograph of Deborah Olson on the left and Heidi von Ravensberg on the right

Disability Studies is a cross-disciplinary examination of disability in society. The perspectives of various disciplines, such as architecture, history, law, literature, philosophy and sociology are used to understand the intersection of personal perspective, social identity, and cultural understandings. This occurs in contexts similar to those created in American Studies, Multi-Cultural Studies and Women’s Studies. Many have argued that our understanding of disability from a cultural point of view is as important to our understanding of what it means to be human as is gender and race.

Disability Studies is an emerging academic field with support from professional organizations (e.g. Society for Disability Studies), academic journals (e.g. Disability Studies Quarterly, Journal of Disability Policy Studies, and Disability & Society). Currently, several institutions of higher learning offer a degree or concentration in Disability Studies (e.g., Syracuse University and the University of Illinois at Chicago).

The UO Center For Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) is in a position to promote and nurture a disability studies program at the University of Oregon.