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The Discourse of Disability in Communication Education

Narrative-Based Research for Social Change

Edited By Ahmet Atay and Mary Z. Ashlock

This book examines the ways in which communicative practices influence the lives of students and faculty with disabilities in higher education. Offering their own experiences as teachers and students, the authors use qualitative research methods, mainly narrative and autoethnography, to highlight the intersections among communication, disability, diversity, and critical communication pedagogy. While embodying and emphasizing these connections, each chapter defines the notion of disability from a different point of view; summarizes the relevant literature; provides suggestions for different ways of improving the experiences of people with disabilities in higher education; promotes social change; and in some cases, promotes policy change. Overall, the volume promotes more effective, mindful, honest, and caring interaction between able-bodied and disabled individuals.
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Chapter Six: Retard: Learning to Lean

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CHAPTER SIX

Retard

Learning to Lean

JULIE COSENZA



As a first year doctoral student, I wrote this performance script in response to Dr. Ron Pelias’ call for creative writing submissions for Leaning: Stories of Personal Relationship, a five-person show he directed for the Kleinau Theatre and for the International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry, 2011. The show consisted of five interwoven personal narratives based on the metaphor of leaning to explore the complexities of personal relationships. Due to my background in theatre arts and my visual process of understanding the world, I include the original stage directions of my creative writing piece. Stage directions and lighting ideas are an important aspect of my creative process, for they add another performative dimension to writing. However, this piece can be staged and performed in many different ways.

Scene: There is an elementary school desk stage left (at the proscenium) and a black block down stage right (also at the proscenium). The black block is a wooden box painted black and commonly used in theatre. These two objects are mid stage and divide upstage from down stage.

(stage lights up, and the character opens the piece standing center stage leaning out toward the audience) ← 93 | 94 →

Retard (whispered)

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