Disability is a natural part of the human experience but despite its universality, societies past and present have treated the physically or mentally different with fear and antipathy. (The Nazi gas chambers, for example, were first constructed to eradicate persons with mental disabilities.)
Disability Studies from the perspectives of the humanities tries to understand why people with disabilities have been treated as they have and how they should be treated in a twenty-first century democracy like our own, and why.
This minor is designed for students majoring in any of the liberal arts and sciences. For those interested in health care, disability studies complements their science courses by focusing on the social, cultural, and political issues in their future careers, and by concentrating on a population of people that many professions - physical therapy, education, medicine, and psychology, for example - are established to serve.
Students majoring in the social sciences or humanities will be interested in disability studies’ analysis of the most fundamental ideas of our culture: body and mind, normality and difference, freedom and rights, beauty and wholeness - all of these “abstractions” and their profound importance may become clearer in classes devoted to exploring their impact on our laws, schools, hospitals, beliefs, and day-to-day lives.