by Susan Baglieri, Lynne M. Bejoian, Alicia A. Broderick, David J. Connor & Jan ValleThis article introduces the special issue, Disability Studies in Education.
by Susan Baglieri, Lynne M. Bejoian, Alicia A. Broderick, David J. Connor & Jan ValleBaglieri, Bejoian, Broderick, Connor, and Valle assert that imagining schools as places where children can find belonging and community conjures values and ideas with which few would argue, wherein democracy is posed as the political ideal of our culture. Within the context of this broad cultural and political discourse on schooling, the authors argue that the [re]claiming of inclusive education provides a heuristic concept and political agenda around which many strands of critical educational reform can cohere. At the center of this critique is the myth of the normal child—an idea of interest to scholars in the fields of disability studies in education, and disability studies more broadly, and an idea the authors seek to explore with critical scholars engaged in allied work seeking to contest, resist, and mitigate educational inequities. The authors contend that the commonality among a wide variety of ideologies of difference is rife with underexplored promise for allied work in inclusive education reform.
by Nirmala ErevellesErevelles draws simultaneously on the theoretical tools of both disability studies and queer theory, exploring ways in which both heterosexist and ableist ideologies operate (often overlapping and intersecting) as discourses of exclusion in schools. She argues that the regressive rhetoric of inclusion currently in vogue does little to critique how “Other” students, not just students with recognizable disabilities, are excluded by the normative discourses of schooling. Furthermore, Erevelles argues that for inclusive education to reclaim its transformative imperative, it would have to reimagine its original intent of (re)claiming disability by producing a refreshing new script that explores the radical possibilities of “coming out crip.”
by Shelley D. Zion & Wanda BlanchettZion and Blanchett assert that the inclusive education movement in America has never had the potential to be truly inclusive, given the movement’s lack of attention to the intersection of ability/disability with issues of race, class, and privilege. Examining the overrepresentation of students of color in special education (segregated placements, in particular) within the historical context of public schooling in America, the authors contend that social justice, critical race theory, and interest convergence are powerful tools with which to [re]conceptualize a truly inclusive education movement in America.
by Zeus Leonardo & Alicia A. BroderickLeonardo and Broderick elect, as a scholar of whiteness studies and a scholar of disability studies, respectively, to construct a piece that aims to critique “smartness” as an ideological system, with very real and differential materialist impact on students’ lives by operating as cultural “property” in schools. They engage in this critique simultaneously and collaboratively from the perspectives of critical race theory and from a disability studies in education perspective, critically exploring and asserting throughout the theoretical limitations and shortfalls inherent in exploring the issue from either perspective alone.
by Roey Ahram, Edward Fergus & Pedro Noguera Ahram, Fergus, and Noguera explore how the social construct of the “normal child” is racialized through the special education processes of referral and classification, and subsequently produces disproportional representation of minority students in special education. Their analysis suggests a convergence of two distinctly problematic processes: (1) the development of racialized assumptions of cultural deficit on the part of education professionals that result in erroneous conceptualizations of disability and (2) the subsequent labeling of students in special education through a pseudoscientific placement process.
by Beth A. FerriFerri asserts that contemporary disability life writing can unravel the myth of normalcy that undergirds many of the exclusionary practices in education. Autobiography requires a particular set of critical reading practices to fully illuminate myriad ways these texts can serve as important and politically grounded counternarratives to the dominant discourse.
by Jan Valle, David J. Connor, Alicia A. Broderick, Lynne M. Bejoian & Susan BaglieriHaving brought together scholars to consider inclusive education within both their own and others’ disciplines, research perspectives, and agendas, the authors reflect on what these contributions say—individually and collectively—about inclusive education. Furthermore, they critically consider what all of this says to and means for educational scholarship, schooling, and society at large. In this final piece to the special issue, the authors foreground ways that interdisciplinary conversations among critical scholars can serve as powerful arenas in which to forge alliance-building across disciplines.