Special Interest Group to promote Disability Studies at the Universities


Disability Studies provides the opportunity to examine disability and normalcy from a critical perspective; importantly, it offers a new epistemology to understand the bordering between the two and equips us with the tools with which to unmask the social interests such a bordering serves and protects. The woeful lack of disability related research and research groups within the Indian academia not only deprive the academic community the experience of this new epistemology but also fails to supply the essential fuel to sustain long-term and meaningful rights-based activism. Disability related activities in India, with its overemphasis on services, is alarmingly close to creating a hegemonic discourse that shrinks the space for the emergence of a Disability Studies discourse, even further.

With this background in perspective, we propose to create a Special Interest Group (SIG) to promote Disability Studies in the Universities. SIG-DSU is envisaged primarily as a study circle engaged in academic discussions on disability as a global concern to emerge in time with the creation of a more focussed and localised disability academics at the university level in India. SIG-DSU will operate within the aspiring morals of a university system which occasions a profession that espouses respect for individuals, the celebration of diversity, mutual caring and sensitivity to the needs of others; let these be the only guiding and operative principles of SIG-DSU. Since we will not promote or encourage individuals to use this SIG as a platform to realise their political or leadership aspirations, the membership to the group is restricted to individuals who are demonstratively engaged in disability research/ teaching at the university level. Members must also read the paper/ Chapter assigned before deciding to join the reading group meeting.

Our aim is to read and discuss every month one seminal piece of work in Disability Studies. An effort will be made to summarise the discussion surrounding each work and create an electronic archive comprising the original and related work and the summaries. We will operate via the erstwhile DHR website, now re-christened as SIG-DSU, for the time being. The venue/ date/ time of the study circle meetings will be posted via this site and individually mailed to the members.

(Tanmoy Bhattacharya: 18 May 2012)

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