Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Thanks to all of the folks who have shared their energy and dedication through the Committee on Disability Issues in College Composition over the years, from my mentor Cindy Lewiecki-Wilson to my first, finest, and continued coconspirators Stephanie Kerschbaum, Margaret Price, and Amy Vidali, through to all of those who will continue this work into the future. Thanks to Brenda Brueggeman for tremendous, honest feedback. Thanks to the University of Michigan Press, the Editorial Board, and...

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction: The Approach

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pp. 1-40

As Ellen Cushman began writing about the “Rhetorician as Agent of Social Change,” in her influential article about breaking down the barriers between universities and the communities around them, she first described the steep steps of “the Approach,” a set of stairs, long in disrepair, between the city of Troy, New York, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Approach, for her, symbolized that which “prohibit(s) scholars from Approaching people outside the University” (374). Every...

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1. Steep Steps

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pp. 41-66

In this chapter, I will continue to interrogate and remap the spaces and interfaces of the North American university, analyzing the ways that educational institutions have “limit[ed] public access and interaction in such a way as to avoid the chance encounter of diverse populations, creating a series of protected interior and isolated spaces” (Hardt and Negri, 188), as well as the ways that we might more actively, inclusively design our teaching in response to, and with an awareness of, this architecture. I will put forward three images through my first three chapters:...

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2. The Retrofit

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pp. 67-98

As mentioned, this book is organized around three spatial metaphors. Now that we have discussed steep steps our first metaphor, we’ll move on to explore and analyze a second one, the retrofit, characterized by structures like ramps and curb cuts.

This chapter begins on the White House lawn, where the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George Herbert Walker Bush over 25 years ago, in 1990. There is a famous image that shows Bush signing the Act into being. He is flanked on either side...

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3. Imaginary College Students

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pp. 99-114

Multimodality. Multiliteracies. These concepts have been championed in recent scholarship in my own discipline of composition, but also across the humanities, with extraordinary volume and enthusiasm. In this chapter, I will examine this push as one specific trend signaling progress in higher education, yet reproducing old exclusions. This exploration is first of all about how universities argue for change through the invention of specific types of student mind and body. This exploration is also a sort of test case: Is it possible to ever argue for educational change without...

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4. Universal Design

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pp. 115-152

So this brings us to our third metaphor: Universal Design (UD). In explaining Universal Design I want to emphasize the importance of the priority and activity of Universal Design as a process and mode of becoming. As Ronald Mace, one of the founders of the concept, wrote, “universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design” (1).1 UD has gone through what linguists call a “nominalization.” That is, it has been changed from a verb into a...

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5. Disability on Campus, on Film: Framing the Failures of Higher Education

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pp. 153-184

In this chapter, I am going to discuss disability in popular films that also examine college and university life. We know that disability is generally underrepresented (or suppressed) in college life. But we also know that disability is overdetermined in film. Since the very beginning of its existence as a medium, people with disabilities have been on film and been used as a part of filmic rhetoric. In the famous “Odessa Steps” sequence of Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein, the presence of disabled people is used to evoke an emotional reaction from the audience. Of course,...

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Commencement

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pp. 185-192

The final edits for this book were completed in the last few weeks of the Trump-Clinton presidential race of 2016. For much of this time it was energizing to be doing this work. It felt relevant and useful to be writing about ableism when there was a presidential candidate so overtly harnessing its rhetorical force, wrapping it in sexism and racism and xenophobia. I felt like I was writing toward an audience that, in the wake of the public repudiation of Trump, might be increasingly receptive to this book’s arguments and messages. I have been writing to reveal racism,...

Notes

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pp. 193-204

Bibliography

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pp. 205-222

Index

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pp. 223-244