About this Program

Critical Disability Studies explores diverse disabilities, from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, to understand how society values some bodies and minds and devalues others. The minor emphasizes the social contexts, constructions and experiences of disability. It highlights forms of resistance and resilience in response to educational, medical and legal paradigms of disability. Courses examine both personal and collective responses to difference, including the interaction of disability with other forms of oppression such as age, race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, national origin, veteran status, and class. Learn about the diverse ways in which individuals labeled "disabled" have succeeded in resisting stigma to create vibrant communities and multi-faceted ways of being.

Whatever brought you to consider this program, we’re glad you’re here. A minor in critical disability studies provides the opportunity to explore the ways society shapes our perceptions and experiences of ability and disability and the value of different ways of being in the world.

If you study in our critical disability studies program, you'll learn about, conduct research in and explore:

  • The social, political, cultural and economic factors defining disability.
  • The complicated relationships disabled people have with medical, educational, and legal institutions.
  • Disability cultures in their various and vibrant forms, from activism to the visual and performing arts.
  • The ways disabled people live, learn, love, create and organize.
  • The interaction of disability with gender, sexuality, race and class.
  • The life lessons disability studies can offer all of us in interdependency, diversity and the distinct contributions we can all make to the world around us. 

Read more about language use.

Why Study at Eastern

Our unique critical disability studies minor is the first such program at any university in Michigan, and will provide you with a comprehensive and critical understanding of disability studies. You will gain the knowledge, skills and resources to advocate as a disabled person or work with people with disabilities.

In addition, our program:

  • Draws on dedicated faculty members from a variety of diverse, interdisciplinary backgrounds and modes of inquiry.
  • Fosters critical thinking about the sources of disability.
  • Enables you to approach disability studies through a wide variety of creative, theoretical, and methodological perspectives.
  • Provides opportunities to research dimensions of interest to you.
  • Works in tandem with a wide range of other critical and interdisciplinary fields of study.

Contact Us

Jill Dieterle, Ph.D., Advisor
734.487.1177 | [email protected]

Elizabeth Currans, Ph.D., Administrator
734.487.1177[email protected]

Rachelle Marshall, Administrative Assistant
734.487.1177 | [email protected]

At a Glance

  • 21 Credits
  • A complement to many majors including: philosophy, literature, women’s and gender studies, history and social work


Meet Our Faculty