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Disability Studies

This guide will orient you to disability studies research and connect you with resources. Use the navigation menu to find research strategies, articles, reference sources, books, and more.

Search Strategies for Disability Studies

Search Strategies for Disability Studies

Finding keywords for disability studies can be challenging:

  • Critical theory may use its own critical vocabulary and jargon
  • Some terms related to disability may be used as metaphors in other contexts
  • Older work may use dated terminology
  • Older work may not have been cataloged as disability studies at all

Some keywords to try

  • abledness, ableism,ableist, able-bodied, able-bodiedness
  • access, accessible, accessibility
  • ageism, ageist, aging
  • crip/crip theory
  • Deaf, deafness, deaf studies (Deaf people are a linguistic/cultural minority, not disabled)
  • dis/ability, disability, disabilities, "disability studies", "disability rights", disabled
  • disease, dis-ease
  • enable, enabling
  • inclusion, inclusiveness, inclusivity
  • normalcy, normals, normative
  • sick, sickness
  • universal design

Rhetorical constructions in disability studies
If you're looking for specific readings or theorizations of a topic, try combining your keyword with frequently paired terms like:

  • advocate, advocacy
  • biology, biological, bioethics
  • body, bodies
  • critical
  • difference
  • "disability studies"
  • discrimination
  • "identity politics"
  • medical, medicalization
  • microaggression
  • narrative, narratives
  • politics, political
  • representation, representations
  • rhetoric, rhetorical, "visual rhetoric"
  • signify, signifying
  • visible, visibility, invisible, invisibility, visual

Text for this section courtesy of Stacy Reardon and Jennifer Dorner from the UC Berkeley Libraries.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.