Dedicated to advancing knowledge by, about, and for people with disabilities.

About the UW Disability Studies Initiative

The UW Disability Studies Initiative is a transdisciplinary program dedicated to advancing knowledge by, about, and for people with disabilities. Disability studies explores models and theories that examine social, political, cultural, and economic factors that define disability and help determine personal and collective responses to difference.

Disability studies scholars at UW concentrate on the culture, experiences, history, and contributions of people with disabilities across time and geography. Drawing upon the humanities, arts, social sciences, medicine, policy, and practice, we seek to better understand how disabilities are experienced in our world. UW Disability Studies embraces difference and diversity as strengths and considers disability in interaction with gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexuality, and socio-economic status.

UW Disability Studies directly embodies the Wisconsin Idea by actively encouraging participation by disabled students and faculty and by partnering with disability communities across the state to transform public understandings of disability. UW Disability Studies is committed to physical and intellectual access and the principles of universal design.

News and upcoming events:

  • Elizabeth Bearden wins IAS fellowship

    DSI member and Professor of English Elizabeth B. Bearden was awarded a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) for the 2022-23 academic year. The position allows for uninterrupted curiosity-driven research among a community …

  • More events