DRF News

Updates from our Canadian colleagues…

New Book The Question of Access: Disability, Space, Meaning by Tanya Titchkosky is Out Now!

About the book: Values such as ‘access’ and ‘inclusion’ are unquestioned in the contemporary landscape. But many methods of addressing these issues – installing signs, ramps, and accessible washrooms – frame disability only as a problem to be ‘fixed.’ The Question of Access investigates the social meanings of access in contemporary university life from the perspective of Cultural Disability Studies. Through narratives of struggle and analyses of policy and everyday practices, Tanya Titchkosky shows how interpretations of access reproduce conceptions of who belongs, where and when. Titchkosky examines how the bureaucratization of access issues has affected understandings of our lives together in social space. Representing ‘access’ as a beginning point for how disability can be rethought, rather than as a mere synonym for justice, The Question of Access allows readers to critically question their own implicit conceptions of disability, non-disability and access. 

About the author: Tanya Titchkosky is an associate professor and an associate department chair at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.


New Book ‘Disability Politics and Theory’ by A.J. Withers is Out Now!

About the book: An accessible introduction to disability studies, disability politics and theory provides a concise survey of disability history, exploring the concept of disability as it has been conceived from the late 19th century to the present. Further, A.J. Withers examines when, how and why new categories of disability are created and describes how capitalism benefits from and enforces disabled people’s oppression.

Critiquing the model that currently dominates the discipline, the social model of disability, this book offers an alternative: the radical disability model. This model builds on the social model but draws from more recent schools of radical thought, particularly feminism and critical race theory, to emphasize the role of intersecting oppressions in the marginalization of disabled people and the importance of addressing disability both independently and in conjunction with other oppressions. Intertwining theoretical and historical analysis with personal experience this book is a poignant portrayal of disabled people in Canada and the U.S. – and a radical call for social and economic justice.

Contents: Building Models and Constructing Disability * Constructing Difference,
Controlling Deviance: The Eugenic Model * Diagnosing People as Problems: The Medical Model * For Us, Not With Us: The Charity Model * Revolutionizing the Way We See Ourselves: The Rights and Social Models * Looking Back But Moving Forward: The Radical Disability Model * References * Index

About the author: A.J. Withers has been involved in radical organizing, specifically within the radical disability, anti- globalization and anti-poverty movements for 15 years, and has been employed as an organizer with the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP).  


First Issue of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies is Out Now!!!  Check it out here

This is a free, open-access journal devoted to cutting edge research in the field, from Canada and around the world. Please have a look at this outstanding collection of articles, consider contributing your work to the journal in the future, and spread the word!


  • A Brief Introduction to the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies – Michael Bergob
  • Canadian Disability Activism and Political Ideas: In and Between Neo-Liberalism and Social Liberalism – Michael J. Prince (1-34)
  • Disability History In Canada: Present Work In The Field And Future Prospects – Geoffrey Reaume (35-81)
  • Firing Up Disability Studies: A Report from the Edges of the Human Community – Tanya Titchkosky (82-108)
  • The Inaccessible Road Not Taken: The Trials, Tribulations And Successes Of Disability Inclusion Within Social Work Post-Secondary Education – Irene Carter, Roy Hanes, Judy E. MacDonald (109-142)
  • Profile: The Living Archives Project: Canadian Disability and Eugenics – Colette Leung (143-166)
  • Review: Titchkosky, Tanya. The Question of Access: Disability, Space, Meaning – Allison Hitt (167-170)
  • Creative Work: Eulogizing Ebenezer Scrooge – Adam Pottle (171-174)


 ‘The “Becoming Crisis” of Critical Studies and Praxis’  SESE Graduate Student Conference, OISE, University of Toronto (Saturday April 21, 2012 )

In a post 9/11 world where dissent is actively and continuously shut down and the U.S. has declared war on embodied difference worldwide, what does critical engagement as scholars, activists, and artists mean? How and why does it matter in a world where death, injury, danger, poverty and destitution are still regularly enacted on bodies that are ‘different’? Academic scholarship, political engagement and provocative artistic endeavors must take seriously critiques emanating from the public about their relevance in such a world. As boundaries continue to be drawn between theory and practice, between the myriad academic disciplines concerned with equity, and between activist communities, how might the notion of a ‘becoming crisis’ be engaged by critical studies and praxis in order to refashion scholarship in ways that create more relevant understandings of what it means to be human alongside more viable life-practices.

This year’s SESE Conference theme focuses on the “Becoming Crisis” in critical work – the existential question of “Why are we here?” and perhaps more importantly, “To what end?”

Submissions in a variety of formats and a wide range of disciplines are encouraged. The theme is an invitation toward reflection and interrogation of critical practices in order to challenge the ongoing, global and globalizing war on embodied difference and the enduring privileging of the 1%.

Questions that animate the conference theme include, but are not limited to:

  • How does the work produced by the academy both foster and challenge current power relations; how do “we” reinforce present reality yet still push toward something different?
  • How is critical race studies and/or anti-racism raising the question of human in new ways? How can conceptions of the limits of viable life (i.e., disability, the subaltern) imposed through dominant political, social and knowledge practices be challenged?
  • How can the notion of a becoming crisis in critical work help think about our practices, alongside the animosities between approaches, disciplines and practices differently?
  • What are the dangers of the increasing institutionalization of radical social and political movements into the academy – anti-racist, post-colonialism, feminisms, Aboriginal, queer and disability studies, etc.?
  • What does it mean to be human?

 If you like to present I’m afriad that the deadline is very soon (but remember the possible time difference!)

Extended deadline: Monday, February 20th, 2012

Submissions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Paper presentations: Individual paper presentations will be organized into a panel of three, related by topic area and assigned a moderator.
  • Panels: Panels may be pre-constituted and include 3-4 individuals including a moderator, plus a possible discussant.
  • Poster: Posters will display on-going research, service, advocacy, or activist projects. 
  • Workshop: A facilitated activity involving 3 or more presenters.
  • Facilitated Discussion: Discussion with a set topic and a moderator. 
  • Artistic work (in all senses of the arts): Critical artistic work that addresses the theme in a range of media is welcome. Keep in mind you will be working in a classroom space unless alternative space is pre-arranged with the organizers.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 200 words to conferencesese@gmail.com by February 20, 2012. Panel proposals require an abstract describing both the panel and the individual papers. For discussions, describe how the time will be utilized and the topic facilitated. Workshop presenters should address methodology, pedagogy, and desired learning outcomes in their submission. Artists must connect their work to the conference theme and briefly describe the optimal setting for their work. Approximately fifteen minutes will be allotted for papers and presentations. Please note in your submission if more time is required.

Papers will be selected through anonymous peer review. Please observe the following procedures to enable the review process:

  1. Attach a short biographical note of 50 words on a separate page.
  2. Please include your name, institution, abstract, title of session, list of participants (if applicable), and e-mail with your submission.
  3. Please include a short statement of 50 words describing how access (see attached guidelines) will be addressed in your presentation.
  4. Do not include your name on the same page as the abstract.
  5. Type “abstract” in the subject line of your email.

 All welcome!

Information on accessibility and accommodation: patricia.douglas@utoronto.ca.

Papers may be given in English or French, with citations in any language.

All questions can be addressed to the conference co-chairs: Juliet Hess juliet.hess@utoronto.ca; Patty Douglas; Nikoletta Papadopoulos


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s