Michelle Jarman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Disability Studies
Phone: (307) 766-5060
Disability studies is a diverse interdisciplinary field that investigates broad questions about the nature, meanings, and consequences of disability from interrelated social, historical, cultural, and political perspectives. The undergraduate minor in Disability Studies examines disability issues from multiple lenses. Social sciences perspectives center upon issues of equal rights, social justice, access to education, supports and services, health care, and policy issues affecting the lives of people with disabilities. Humanities perspectives allow students to consider equally pressing issues of identity, normalcy, and culture, as well as engage critically with foundational and ethical frameworks of autonomy, oppression, and discrimination. Health sciences perspectives acknowledge the important relationship between the origins of physical, cognitive or sensory impairment and the unique personal experience of impairment as crucial to understanding disability.
According the U.S. Census Bureau, 54 million Americans identify as having some type of disability, making individuals with disabilities the largest minority group in the United States. However, until recent decades, little attention has been paid to the ways in which negative attitudes, cultural practices, and social systems have impacted their lives. Disability Studies has an ethical commitment to place the interests and voices of people with disabilities at the center of our curricula and training activities. The Disability Studies Minor balances theoretical exploration with practical application, and provides students with a broad understanding of disability history, cultural representation, policy concerns, and current debates. Ultimately, students in the minor will work closely with people with disabilities, and gain the skills and perspectives to participate in unique disability research and advocacy.
Graduate students interested in disability studies are also encouraged to contact us for information about possible courses and independent research opportunities. (see contact information above).