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Practicing Disability Studies in Education

Acting Toward Social Change

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Edited By David J. Connor, Jan W. Valle and Chris Hale

Practicing Disability Studies in Education: Acting Toward Social Change celebrates the diversity of contemporary work being developed by a range of scholars working within the field of Disability Studies in Education (DSE). The central idea of this volume is to share ways in which educators practice DSE in creative and eclectic ways in order to rethink, reframe, and reshape the current educational response to disability. Largely confined to the limitations of traditional educational discourse, this collective (and growing) group continues to push limits, break molds, assert the need for plurality, explore possibilities, move into the unknown, take chances, strategize to destabilize, and co-create new visions for what can be, instead of settling for what is. Much like jazz musicians who rely upon one another on stage to create music collectively, these featured scholars have been – and continue to – riff with one another in creating the growing body of DSE literature. In sum, this volume is DSE «at work.»
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Foreword: Disability Studies in Education and the Sociological Imagination

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Foreword

Disability Studies in Education and the Sociological Imagination

SCOT DANFORTH

This volume of outstanding essays continues a critical scholarly tradition in the growing field of disability studies in education (DSE) of examining, exploring, and interrogating cultural and professional portrayals of disability and issues of human difference in the schools. To the reader familiar with disability studies (DS) scholarship, these essays will chime familiar tones while searching the terrains of childhood and schooling for insight and possibility. For readers more accustomed to reading research in American special education, this book may bring new and unusual notions to the frontal lobe while flipping standard assumptions and discourses upside down.

Understanding how DSE and the American field of special education overlap and diverge, coalesce, and conflict is not a simple matter. Undoubtedly, both deal with the education of young persons with disabilities in the public schools. Further, some special education researchers and the vast majority of DSE scholars have an investment in the development of successful programs of inclusive education. But beyond those bare simplicities, how are the two related … or not?

I will begin this volume of DSE essays by pointing to two historical moments in the early twentieth century, two events that display many of the political and conceptual emphases of special education and DSE, allowing us to envision each in contrast to the other. I will offer a historical scene from the...

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