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Both Sides of the Table

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

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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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Acknowledgments

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My friend, colleague, collaborator, and co-conspirator, Dr. Jackie McGinnis, gave me the time and space to write over a long hot summer. Her work mattered a lot—and I know it wasn’t easy (oh, how I know). I think I still owe her a martini. Or eight. I know she’ll go to heaven. I’m headed the other way.

Liz McCall had the idea for this book, and propelled me into making it happen. Scot Danforth and Susan Gabel gently and ably urged me on with their wonderful editing and leadership skills. The folks at Peter Lang have been SO patient with me.

Ibby Grace reminded me what was important. My gratitude is large.

Liat Ben-Moshe said some extraordinary things at just the right time. Her writing and thinking have informed mine in powerful ways, and will for a long time.

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