Disability Studies: At the Forefront of Mission, Interdisciplinary Research, Teaching, and Community Service

The purpose of Disability Studies is to improve our knowledge of people with disabilities, to explore the culture and perception of people with physical and psychological or psychiatric differences, and to reorient basic assumptions in a wide range of disciplines such as architecture, business, biology and biochemistry, psychology, history, political science, philosophy, theology, literature and public policy using disability perspectives.

Disability Studies understands 'disability' as more than a medical condition, or a set of impairments. People with disabilities form a complex and varied political and personal identity that informs our understanding of cultural diversity. Disability studies emerged out of political science and sociology in the 1980s, and out of a global disability rights movement that began in the early 1970s and which led to the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and similar acts around the world, civil rights legislation that fostered integration and enabled a new culture to emerge that embraced the arts, from theater to life writing, sports and wider scholarship in a broad range of disciplines.

The field of Disability Studies embraces a commitment to the pursuit of justice as it examines the social, ethical and symbolic systems that have traditionally marginalized people with physical or cognitive differences, and is, thus, important to the Catholic identity of Notre Dame.

The Disability Studies Forum: Visiting Speaker Program

This is a year-long program of research papers delivered each month by visiting scholars, current Faculty and graduate students. The Forum is open to all and aims to make interdisciplinary connections a priority amongst researchers. For details see News and Events.