Research Minute - Professor Gillian Parekh on Disability Studies in Education

Disability Studies in Education

My research looks at schools and schooling practices, particularly at how schools respond to disability. My work challenges the dichotomy of the ability/disability binary and looks at the ways in which constructions of ability are shaped by students’ socio-demographic characteristics (e.g. identities related to race, class, gender, immigration status, sexual orientation, and so forth). In particular, my research explores the ways in which constructions of ability are mobilized through schools and reified through traditional approaches to schooling. One of the ways in which ability is mobilized is through disparate access to academic program and enrichment opportunities. When we look at who has access to elite, academic, trades, or special education programs, we must further interrogate (and challenge) the role privilege plays in constructing who is identified as abled and disabled.