December 5, 2017

Sites, Books and Film

There are at least two prevailing perspectives on the phenomenon of disability. One perspective views disability as a defect or deviance. The other perspective regards disability as a characteristic that is part of the human condition. The former is often referred to as the Medical model. The latter is often referred to as the Disability (or Civil) Rights model.

Most fields that include disability often follow the medical model perspective to some degree. The information is filtered through the experts or professionals in the field who are usually non-disabled. In contrast, the field of Disability Studies looks at the disability experience from another vantage point, emphasizing the perspective of people with disabilities as the experts.

The following is a selected list of resources about the disability experience with emphasis from a Disability (or Civil) Rights perspective and/or an emphasis on Disability Studies.


Albrecht, Gary L.; Seelman, Katherine D., and Bury, Michael (ed.) Handbook of Disability Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA:Sage Publications (2001).

Bagilhole, Barbara. Equal Opportunity and Social Policy: Issues of Gender, Race and Disability. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited (1997).

Barnes, Colin; Mercer, Geof and Shakespeare, Tom. Exploring Disability: A sociological introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Inc. (2000).

Berkowitz, Edwards D. Disabled Policy: America’s Programs for the Handicapped. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1987).

Bowe, Frank. Handicapping America: Barriers to Disabled People. New York: Harper and Row. (1978).

Bowe, Frank. Rehabilitating America: Toward Independence for Disabled and Elderly People. New York: Harper and Row. (1980).

Browne, Susan E., Connors, Debra and Stern, Nanci. With the Power of Each Breath: A Disabled Women’s Anthology. Pittsburgh, PA: Cleis Press A Women’s Publishing Company (1985).

Campling, Jo (ed.) Images of Ourselves. Boston, MA: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. (1981).

Charlton, J. Nothing About Us Without Us. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press (1998).

Corker, Mairian and Shakespeare, Tom. Disability/Postmodernity: Embodying Disability Theory. London: Continuum (2002).

Covey, Herbert C., Ph.D. Social Perceptions of People with Disabilities in History. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas, Publisher, Ltd (1998).

Davis, Lennard J. (ed). The Disability Studies Reader. New York and London: Routledge (1997).

Davis, Lennard J. Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism and Other Difficult Positions. New York: New York University Press (2002).

Duffy, Yvonne. …all things are possible. Ann Arbor, MI: A.J. Garvin and Associates (1981).

Fleischer, D. and Zames, F. The Disability Rights Movement: From Charity to Confrontation. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (2001).

Frank, Gelya. Venus on Wheels: Two Decades of Dialogue on Disability, Biography, and Being Female in America. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (2000).

Fries, Kenny (ed.) Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out. New York: Plume (1997).

Goffman, Irving. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall (1963).

Ingstad, Benedicte and Whyte, Susan Reynolds (eds.) Disability and Culture. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press (1995).

Johnson, Mary. Make Them Go Away: Clint Eastwood, Christopher Reeve and the Case Against Disability Rights. Louisville, KY: The Avocado Press (2003).

Johnstone, David. An Introduction to Disability Studies. London: David Fulton Publishers Ltd (1998).

Jones, Ruth J.E. Their Rightful Place: Society and Disability. Toronto: Canadian Academy of the Arts Inc. (1994).

Keith, Lois. “What Happened to You?”. New York: The New Press (1996).

Liachowitz, Claire H. Disability as a Social Construct: Legislative Roots. Philadephia: University of Pennsylvania Press (1988).

Linton, Simi. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. New York/London: New York University Press (1998).

Longmore, Paul K. Why I Burned My Book and Other Essays on Disability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (2003).

Longmore, P. and Umansky, L. (ed.). The New Disability History. New York and London: New York University Press, (2001).

Nagler, Mark, Ph.D. Perspectives on Disability. Palo Alto, CA: Health Markets Research (1990).

Norden, Martin F. The Cinema of Isolation: A history of physical disability in the movies. New Bruswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press (1994).

O’Brien, Ruth. Crippled Justice: The History of Modern Disability Policy in the Workplace. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (2001).

Oliver, Michael (ed.) Social Work: Disabled People and Disabling Environments. London/Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (1991).

Oliver, Michael. Understanding Disability: From Theory to Practice. New York: St. Martin’s Press (1996).

Priestley, Mark (ed) Disability and the Life Course. Cambridge UK: Cambridge University Press (2001).

Roth, William. The Handicapped Speak. Jefferson, NC/London: McFarland (1981).

Russell, M. Beyond Ramps: Disability at the End of the Social Contract. Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press (1998).

Saxton, Marsha and Howe, Florence (eds.). With Wings: An Anthology of Literature by and about Women with Disabilities. New York: The Feminist Press (1987).

Scotch, Richard K. From Goodwill to Civil Rights: Transforming Federal Disability Policy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (1984).

Shakespeare, Tom (ed.). The Disability Reader: Social Science Perspectives. London: Cassell (1998).

Shapiro, Joseph P. No Pity. New York: Times Books, Random House (1993).

Shaw, Barrett (ed.) The Ragged Edge: The Disability Experience from the Pages of the First Fifteen Years of the Disability Rag. Louisville, KY: The Avocado Press (1994).

Shelley II, Mack C. and Desai, Uday (eds.) Policy Studies Journal, Disability Policy, Part One: Disability Issues in Public Policy, Vol. 21, No. 4, (Winter, 1993)

Stiker, Henri-Jacques, A History of Disability. Ann Arbor, MI: The University of Michigan Press (2002).

Stone, Karen G. Awakening to Disability: nothing about us without us. Volcano, CA: Volcano Press (1997).

Thomson, Rosemarie Garland. Extraordinary Bodies: figuring physical disability in American culture and literature. New York: Columbia University Press (1997).

Vash, Carolyn L., Ph.D. The Psychology of Disability. New York: Springer Publishing Company (1981).

Wright, Beatrice. Physical Disability – A Psychological Approach. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers (1983).

Zola, Irving Kenneth. Missing Pieces: a chronicle of living with a disability. Philadelphia: Temple University Press (1982).

Zola, Irving Kenneth (ed.) Ordinary Lives: Voices of disability and disease. Apple-wood Books, Cambridge/Watertown (1982).


The list below is not meant to be all inclusive; it is merely a small collection of films currently available on campus through SDC and/or the CSU Video Library.

Films available through SDC are VHS format.  The videos available online are indicated.  To view videos through CSU, using any laptop or PC, connect to a CSU internet portal and go to  Type in the title then click on Search.  The title of the video should appear below.  Click on the “Access On-Line Resource” link below the title that comes up.  You must have a CSU ID to access these videos on-lin.

A Credo for Support (5 min)

Set to music, this powerful video offers a series of thought provoking suggestions for people who care about and support someone with a disability. It prompts viewers to question the common perceptions of disability, professionalism, and support and can be a provocative catalyst for a dialogue on these issues.

A Little History Worth Knowing (22 min) (online)

From ancient times to telethons to today’s growing disability movement, this video traces the often-overlooked history of people with disabilities. It reviews historical stereotypes, media stereotypes, and the effect of today’s technology on people’s ability to work and live independently.

A World Without Bodies (35 min)

This video documents the horror of the Nazi regime with respect to its treatment of people with disabilities. Beginning with an overview of American and European Eugenics ideology, the filmmakers delved into the instruments of mass murder developed first on the bodies of people with disabilities and later transferred to concentration camps. The video provides a haunting glimpse into the medical and social mindset that led to the systematic slaughter of more than 240,000 disabled individuals during World War II. The documentary ultimately asks us to contemplate the impact of these events on our attitudes toward disability today.

Abandoned to their Fate (30 min)

Drawing from scholarly records, institutional archives, original photography and popular media, this video traces the historical origins of the social stereotypes and exclusionary practices toward people with disabilities. Beginning in the Middle Ages and concluding with the modern shift toward independent living and community inclusion, this 30-minute program focuses on the moral, aesthetic and economic policies that shaped the lives of people with disabilities. Researched by Philip M. Ferguson, Ph.D.

Disability Culture Rap (23 min) (online)

Featuring Cheryl Marie Wade, the Queen Mother of Gnarly herself (also writer and co-producer here), we take a fresh look at what it means to be disabled in America. Through hundreds of images and a high-energy delivery, this is disability in our own words: who we say we are. Not the usual anthropological study of disabled people as specimens, we uncover the issues that set our souls on fire: freedom of choice, disability pride, independent living, the power of language and images, sexuality, community, and the right to live with dignity.

Inclusive Education: Rediscovering Our Right to Belong (120 min) 

In a fast paced and challenging presentation, Norman Kunc explores the attitudes, assumptions, and fears that prevent students with disabilities from being included into regular classrooms. He maintains that our current emphasis on achievement, tracking, and segregation leads most, if not all students to see their membership in school and their “sense of belonging” as something which must be earned. A central tenet of inclusive education is that belonging is an inherent need of all people and must not be reserved solely for the “best of us.” Learning to value and work with a diversity of people is the first step in building an education system which fosters a sense of belonging among students and staff. Inclusive education may prove to be a vital catalyst in this process.

Look Who’s Laughing (56 min)

This funny and compelling documentary is about the lives, experiences and humor of six working comedians who have various types of disabilities. Shot at comedy clubs across the country, “Look Who’s Laughing” spotlights some of the most talented and truly funny comics working today. Featuring Kathy Buckley, Chris Fonseca, Geri Jewell, J.D. England, Alex Valdez and Brett Leake.

Making A Life: Opportunity Not Disability (28 min) (online)

Jill is a special education teacher who works with children. She knows that disabilities do not automatically preclude people from reaching their potential-especially since she herself has a physical disability. People with disabilities are often regarded only in terms of what they can’t do, not what they can do. This program looks at a variety of individuals with different disabilities who not only participate in their work and community but thrive because they were given an opportunity. Social workers, special education teachers, employers, and those challenged by disabilities discuss society’s preconceptions and how, when given the chance, people rise to the challenges of life.

Misunderstood Minds (90 min) (online)

For one in five students, learning is an exhausting and frustrating struggle. Often mistakenly called “lazy” or “stupid” by their teachers, classmates, and even their families, these children may be suffering from debilitating learning problems. If not addressed, the problems can have a devastating impact on the students’ self-esteem and future academic and social success. This PBS documentary shines a spotlight on this subject, following the stories of five families as, together with experts, they try to solve the mysteries of their children’s learning difficulties. It shows the children’s problems in a new light, and serves as a platform to open a nationwide dialogue on how best to manage young, vulnerable, and misunderstood minds.

My Country (60 min) (online)

Hosted by James DePriest, a concert conductor that contracted Polio at age 26, this video tells the stories of three people with disabilities and their struggle for equal rights under the law. It draws a powerful parallel between the efforts of the disability rights activists and the civil rights struggle for the 1960’s. It features three disability advocates: Cathy, TJ Monroe and Hughey.

Potato Video: A Look At Misguided Effort (3 min)

“So, how do you work with people with disabilities?” This 3-minute, lighthearted video looks at Misguided Efforts. Having achieved “cult” status with watchers across the country, it delivers a powerful message on how attitudes about “difference” drive interactions and services for people with disabilities. Uniquely covers 19 common phrases (or attitudes) that can be adjusted to improve the quality of service you provide.

Positive Images (60 min) (online)

People with disabilities constitute nearly twenty percent of the American population. Sexism and often racism compound discrimination based on disability. Designed to provide positive, realistic pictures of the lives of women with disabilities and the social, economic, and political issues they face, this video focuses on three strong and articulate women. Offering crucial role models for women and girls with disabilities, this powerful video also locates disability as a women’s issue of concern to us all by discussing education, employment and careers, sexuality, family life and parenting, and societal attitudes.

On Challenged Wings (60 min) (online)

This video highlights some of the several recreational activities available for people with disabilities. From wilderness camping and kayaking in Alaska to scuba diving off the Florida coast or competitive athletic skiing in Winter Park, people with a variety of disabilities illustrate that they are still capable of living life to the fullest – in both enjoyment and in ability.

The Other Side of Therapy: Disability, Normalcy, and the Tyranny of Rehabilitation (120 min)

In this presentation, Norman Kunc points out that individuals with disabilities have “the right to be disabled.” He describes a series of events in his life which led him to the realization that disability is not a deficiency but a vital part of the diversity of the human community. Kunc recounts his experience with rehabilitation and questions whether therapy really serves the best interests of the “client” or whether it is a symptom of a society which idolizes normalcy and perfection. He examines some of the assumptions which underlie rehabilitation and the harmful impact that therapy can have on an individual. Kunc encourages parents to focus on their child’s “physical well-being” rather than attempting to eradicate the disability through relentless therapy.

The Story of The Stranger (50 min)

In a humorous talk to an audience of high school students, Norman Kunc describes what it was like to have cerebral palsy and go to a regular high school. He shares with the students his discovery that he didn’t need to hide his disability in order to be liked. Kunc generalizes this message and points out that most people believe that they’re not good enough as they are, and continuously strive to find a place where they feel they belong. He stresses that it is vital for schools to create a sense of belonging for all students, and especially for those students who are seen as the “strangers” among us. He encourages students and teachers to value their own diversity and to look for the stories in each other. In this way we can actively work together to create schools which are safe and positive places to learn.

The Ten Commandments of Communicating with People with Disabilities (26 min)

People are often uncomfortable in communicating with a person with a disability. Through humorous vignettes and instructive scenarios focusing on disability etiquette, this video helps to dispel some of the fear and reminds us all to remember that one is communicating with a person – who just happens to have a disability.

Unfinished Business (33 min)

Situated in a corporate board room, a group of human resource officers, and their CEO view segments of their new disability diversity modules. Through warm gentle humor, a flashback sequence and video within video, we learn about their rocky start and view some very hard hitting materials. With the help of old film clips, and other media portrayals this video gives a review of how people with disabilities are currently as well as historically treated. The dialogue and scenes are interwoven with a hopeful tone and the promise of a more inclusive work force. It will help you understand: historical stereotypes, films, TV, and other media portrayals, ongoing struggle for disability rights, effect of technology on people’s ability to work, and disability as a diversity issue.

Vital Signs: Crip Culture Talks Back (48 min) (online)

This edgy, raw documentary explores the politics of disability through the performances, debates and late-night conversations of activists at a national conference on Disability & the Arts. Including interviews with well known disability rights advocates such as Cheryl Marie Wade, Mary Duffy and Harlan Hahn, Vital Signs conveys the intensity, variety and vitality of disability culture today. Open-Captioned. Contains strong language and nudity.

Without Pity (60 min) (online)

Documentary narrator Christopher Reeve notes, “Disabled people are tired of being invisible and are declaring their right to an equal chance at life.” This wide-ranging video shows a young mother, a computer expert, a man who lives independently after 40 years in an institution, a professor and others – all with varying degrees of disability – as they determine their own lives and lifestyles. A portrait of resilience and determination by ordinary people with disabilities.


99 problems… but palsy ain’t one

Ted Talk by Maysoon Zayid

Crip Commentary

Laura Hershey was a knowledgeable consultant, published writer/researcher, and committed advocate who had 20 years’ experience working professionally in the disability field. She offered her skills for a variety of projects related to disability policy and social justice issues.


DIMENET is a national computer networking system that is accessible at multiple locations and provides access for communications and information sharing among individuals involved in the disability rights and independent living movements. DIMENET is a voluntary cooperative effort of the National Council on Independent Living, National Association for Independent Living, Associated Programs in Rural Independent Living, New England Coalition on Independent Living, the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at ILRU, Independence Associates, Inc., Access Center for Independent Living, Inc., Ability Resources, Inc, TNET Services and Greater Independence through Management Programs, Inc.

Disabled Women on the Web was established by Corbett O’Toole of the Disabled Women’s Alliance to provide information, resources, and support for women with disabilities to continue to CHANGE THE WORLD!

I’m not your inspiration porn, thank you very much

Ted Talk by Stella Young

Independent Living Institute

The Institute’s purpose is to promote the opportunities of persons with disabilities to gain more personal and political power, self-determination, full participation and equality through information, training materials, consultancy and technical assistance. The Institute works in cooperation with other organizations which support these aims at the local, national and international level, including self-help groups in developing countries.


The only disability rights-oriented magazine in-print, Mouth is today’s voice of the disability nation.

Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet was founded on April 27,1996, shortly after Jack Kevorkian was acquitted in the assisted suicides of two women with non-terminal disabilities. In a 1997 Supreme Court rally, the outcry of 500 people with disabilities chanting “Not Dead Yet” was heard around the world. Since then, other national disability rights groups have joined NDY in opposing legalized assisted suicide and chapters took action in over 30 states to help put Jack Kevorkian behind bars in 1999.

Patient No More

A virtual tour of an exhibit about the fight for civil rights.

World Institute on Disability

The World Institute on Disability WID is a nonprofit that works to fully integrate people with disabilities into the communities around them via research, policy, and consulting efforts.