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Practicing Disability Studies in Education

Acting Toward Social Change


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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A Note on the Cover Art


As with many academic projects, the concept of this book changed from its inception toward its completion. At the onset, we chose Practicing Disability Studies in Education: Acting Toward Social Change as our working title. It was strong, solid, and simply stated. Those of us who work within a disability studies in education (DSE) framework, grounded in ideals of social justice, seek to change how we “do business” in education. The impetus for this book emerged from a desire to share examples of DSE “at work” for teachers, teacher educators, professors, researchers, and policymakers. Our intent was not to provide a “how-to manual,” but rather to showcase examples that foreground ways in which DSE scholars have moved forward in rethinking education and disability and how a DSE framework (re)shapes practice.

Toward the end of the project, we sought to change the book’s title to Syncopation, Improvisation, and Collaboration: Disability Studies in Education Within Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. Alas! We were too late, as production had already began. That said, the sentiment of the not-to-be title reflected our experience as book editors–reading and analyzing chapters, providing feedback to our contributors—that, in turn, shaped all contributions to varying degrees. What struck a chord for us, so to speak, is the role that “co-creation” played not only in the writing of this book, but also in the myriad ways DSE scholars have collaborated to rethink, reframe, and reshape the current educational response to disability. Largely...

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