Study for Struggle: Disability Politics & Theory

Looking for a solid introduction to disability justice? I recommend reading A.J. Withers’ book Disability Politics & Theory, published by Fernwood. After reading parts of it in study groups, I finally got a chance to read it cover to cover over the last month. Withers’ book is accessible, thoughtful, and historically grounded. I believe it’s a great starting-point for going deeper into a disability justice framework that can benefit all of our efforts to change the world.

Here’s one gem from Withers’ book:

we are all actually interdependent. Chances are, disabled or not, you don’t grow all of your food. Chances are, you didn’t build the car, bike, wheelchair, subway, shoes or bus that transports you. Chances are you didn’t construct your home. Chances are you didn’t sew your clothing (or make the fabric and thread used to sew it). The difference between the needs that many disabled people have and the needs of people who are not labeled as disabled is that non-disabled people have had their dependencies normalized. The world has been built to accommodate certain needs and call the people who need those things independent, while other needs are considered exceptional. Each of us relies on others every day. We all rely on one another for support, resources and too meet our needs. We are all interdependent. This interdependence is not weakness; rather, it is part of our humanity.

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