Theme Panel: Disability in Political Science: Current Scholarship and Future Directions

Disability in Political Science: Current Scholarship and Future Directions

Virtual Roundtable

(Chair) Ann Kathleen Heffernan, University of Michigan; (Presenter) Nancy J. Hirschmann, The University of Pennsylvania; (Presenter) Barbara Arneil, University of British Columbia; (Presenter) Stefanie Reher, University of Strathclyde; (Presenter) Monica C. Schneider, Miami University; (Presenter) April A. Johnson, Kennesaw State University; (Presenter) Lisa Schur, Rutgers University-New Brunswick; (Presenter) Jennifer Leonor Erkulwater, University of Richmond; (Presenter) Andrew Jenks, University of Delaware

Session Description:
Despite early contributions of scholars like Jacobus tenBroek, Harlan Hahn, and Deborah Stone, disability has received relatively little attention within political science. Indeed, according to Barbara Arneil and Nancy Hirschmann, “political science has actually fallen behind other disciplines in analyzing disability in our society” (2016, 1). At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light troubling assumptions about whose lives are worth protecting, while the high incidence of long-term sequelae of infection (so-called “long COVID”) presents the prospect of a significant increase in the number of people living with disabling conditions.

This cross-subfield roundtable brings together early-career and established scholars who center disability as an object of disciplinary inquiry. Together, we will consider the following questions: How might a more sustained consideration of disability contribute to, challenge, or transform existing approaches to the study of representation, participation, belonging, inequality, exclusion (among others)? Are there barriers to a more sustained focus on disability as an object of study, and if so, how might they be remedied? What does the study of disability contribute to our understanding of, and response to, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic? And finally, how might we incorporate the study of disability into undergraduate and graduate curricula?