The University of Michigan Initiative on Disability Studies seeks to expand diversity at the University of Michigan by integrating the study of disability into research, scholarship, and teaching.
Disability Studies views disability as a political construction and cultural identity, not simply as a medical condition. Disability is not only a set of physical or mental differences but the product of interactions between physical, cultural, and political environments shaping the perception and experience of different capacities. Disability Studies is interdisciplinary both because it draws upon the intellectual tools of various disciplines and because it serves as a conceptual framework that reorients the basic assumptions of various fields of knowledge: the current shape of the field ‘crips’ knowledges in the contemporary academy, offering perspectives on who is deemed worthy to live, and who is not; who is a citizen, who is not; what makes up the ‘human,’ and the ‘institution.’ In a productive tension and collaboration with these analytics, disability studies also focuses on the lived experience of disability, and views disabled people not as objects but as producers of knowledge, as participants and creators of disability culture(s).
The central purpose of UMInDS is to advance knowledge about, by, and for people with disabilities and to promote their full and equal participation in academia and society.
UMInDS is generously funded by the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies, and is housed in the Department of English Language and Literature.