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Both Sides of the Table

Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability


Edited By Philip Smith

Both Sides of the Table is a set of evocative, heartfelt, personal, and revealing stories, told by educators about how their experiences with disability, personally and in the lives of family members, has affected their understanding of disability. It uses disability studies and critical theory lenses to understand the autoethnographies of teachers and their personal relationships with disability. The book takes a beginning look at the meaning of autoethnography as a method of inquiry, as well as how it has been (and will be) applied to exploring disability and the role of education in creating and sustaining it. The title refers to the context in which educators find themselves in Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings for students with disabilities in schools. There, educators often sit on the other side of the table from people with disabilities, their families, and their allies. In these chapters, the authors assume roles that place them, literally, on both sides of IEP tables. They inscribe new meanings – of relationships, of disability, of schools, of what it means to be an educator and a learner. It is a proposal (or perhaps a gentle manifesto) for what research, education, disability, and a utopian revolutionary politics of social transformation could and should look like.


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Advance praise for Both Sides of the Table “Raw, authentic, and emotional…These autoethnographies of educators who teach about and live with disabilities, or care for those who do, will break your heart. They offer hope that through personal stories we might create a sense of belonging for all touched by disability. These heartfelt and candid stories provide important insights that help us love more fully those who need us, provide assistance to those who are caregivers, teach more practically those interested in disabilities, open up the world of research to those who seek to understand experience deeply, and change the world...A thoughtful and penetrating resource for class- rooms, practitioners, and those living with disabilities and their loved ones.” —Carolyn Ellis, Professor and Chair of Communication, University of South Florida; Author of Final Negotiations: A Story of Love, Loss, and Chronic Illness; The Ethnographic I: A Methodological Novel about Autoethnography; Revision: Autoethnographic Reflections on Life and Work; and Handbook of Autoethnography “Disability has always provoked stories—stories of ‘what happened,’ stories that attempt to answer the how, when, and why of disability. The stories here, however, have a larger ‘point to make,’ talking back to dominant ways of thinking and knowing about dis/ability. Thus, while we create stories to know and to be known—in story we also insist on the au- thority of our own (and other’s) experience. Deftly constructed like lines in a poem, in Both Sides of the Table Smith allows one story to speak...

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