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News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Ableism in Academia, Theorising experiences of disabilities and chronic illnesses in higher education
Edited by Nicole Brown and Jennifer Leigh

Open access

Rather than embracing difference as a reflection of wider society, academic ecosystems seek to normalise and homogenise ways of working and of being a researcher. As a consequence, ableism in academia is endemic. However, to date no attempt has been made to theorise experiences of ableism in academia.

Ableism in Academia provides an interdisciplinary outlook on ableism that is currently missing. Through reporting research data and exploring personal experiences, the contributors theorise and conceptualise what it means to be/work outside the stereotypical norm. The volume brings together a range of perspectives, including feminism, post-structuralism, such as Derridean and Foucauldian theory, crip theory and disability theory, and draw on the width and breadth of a number of related disciplines. Contributors use technicism, leadership, social justice theories and theories of embodiment to raise awareness and increase understanding of the marginalised; that is those academics who are not perfect. These theories are placed in the context of neoliberal academia, which is distant from the privileged and romanticised versions that exist in the public and internalised imaginations of academics, and used to interrogate aspects of identity, aspects of how disability is performed, and to argue that ableism is not just a disability issue.

This timely collection of chapters will be of interest to researchers in Disability Studies, Higher Education Studies and Sociology, and to those researching the relationship between theory and personal experience across the Social Sciences.

Nicole Brown and Jennifer Leigh

Introduction: Theorising ableism in academia
Nicole Brown
1. The significance of crashing past gatekeepers of knowledge: Towards full participation of disabled scholars in ableist academic structures
Claudia Gillberg
2. I am not disabled: Difference, ethics, critique and refusal of neoliberal academic selves
Francesca Peruzzo
3. Disclosure in academia: A sensitive issue
Nicole Brown
4. Fibromyalgia and me
Divya Jindal-Snape
5. A practical response to ableism in leadership in UK higher education
Nicola Martin
6. Autoimmune actions in the ableist academy: A crip response
Alice Andrews
7. ‘But you don’t look disabled’: Non-visible disabilities, disclosure and being an ‘insider’ in disability research and ‘other’ in the disability movement and academia
Elisabeth Griffiths
8. Invisible disability, unacknowledged diversity
Carla Finesilver, Jennifer Leigh and Nicole Brown
9. Imposter
Jennifer Rode
10. Internalised ableism: Of the political and the personal
Jennifer Leigh and Nicole Brown
11. From the personal to the political: Ableism, activism and academia
Kirstein Rummery
12. The violence of technicism: Ableism as humiliation and degrading treatment
Fiona Kumari Campbell
13. A little bit extra
El Spaeth

Concluding thoughts: Moving forward
Nicole Brown and Jennifer Leigh
Jennifer Leigh and Nicole Brown

Nicole Brown is Lecturer in Education and Academic Head of Learning and Teaching at UCL Institute of Education. Nicole’s research interests relate to identity and body work, physical and material representations and metaphors, the generation of knowledge, and advancing learning and teaching within higher education. @ncjbrown @FibroIdentity @AbleismAcademia

Jennifer Leigh is Senior Lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Higher Education, University of Kent. She initially trained as a chemist, teacher, and somatic movement therapist. Her research interests include embodiment, phenomenological and creative research methods, academic practice, educational development, and ableism in higher education. @drschniff @AbleismAcademia

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