MILIEU long-term course is starting on 27th of January

Instructor: Dr Aleksandra Traykova (member of the MILIEU team, IPS-BAS)

The next initiative from MILIEU that is about to start is the long-term course on the topic of “SOCIAL INCLUSION AND DISABILITY”. Although the course is intended to be a coherent series of lectures, you can also join and listen to individual sessions. You can find more about the forthcoming sessions and topics with details and registration links in the ‘events’ section of the site.

Topic: With the obvious exception of scholars and activists, most people continue to see disability as a personal issue rather than a social one. However, studies show that disabled persons are much more likely to become targets of abuse, discrimination or social exclusion, and face many structural obstacles which prevent them from finding their rightful place in the world. The successful integration of marginalized groups is widely considered a key marker of a developed, fair and stable society, but the successful inclusion of disabled people carries additional weight in that regard – it testifies to the existence of adequate policies, support networks, social services, and urban planning, among other things. Disability studies is a branch of knowledge that recognizes that inclusion is a multi-layered concept extending far beyond its current literal meaning in the labor market. To be truly included, one must be presented with a chance to participate in society on more fronts than just that of gainful employment. Disabled people’s participation in education, collective decision-making, social relations, public spaces, transport, entertainment, knowledge production, the arts, science, and even sports, are all forms of meaningful inclusion that will be thematized and explored critically in this course with the help of a wide range of balanced literary sources.

The current state of the field: The discipline of disability studies represents a growing and quickly developing field of knowledge that has been enriched by the perspectives of various scholars in sociology, anthropology, cultural studies, philosophy, psychology, political science, medicine, and law, just to name a few. Its ties to both academia and activism have allowed it to make important contributions to social and educational policy in multiple countries, as well as internationally. In light of the recent economic and environmental concerns faced by humanity across the globe, the need for a productive and meaningful inclusion of the differently abled is rapidly becoming more urgent. 

Course goals: The course shall introduce key concepts, notions and positions stemming from the field of disability studies, and assist all participants in exploring how these concepts, notions and positions present inclusion as a complex, multi-layered phenomenon and a necessary feature of a functional society. By the end of the course, participants will be capable of pointing out what the main obstacles to achieving inclusion (as construed by the discipline of disability studies) across various aspects of contemporary human life, suggest possible measures for mitigating or eradicating said obstacles, and reflect critically on their social roots. 

Target audience: The course aims to bring together people with different professional and academic backgrounds who share one common characteristic: they have an avid theoretical interest in the field of disability studies but have never been formally introduced to it. Ideally, they will be researchers whose work is either socially engaged or, at the very least, touches on social issues pertaining to the sphere of discrimination, inclusivity, diversity, equality, representation, social justice, and human rights. Our lectures will be open to students, researchers and professionals alike. 

Course structure: The course is comprised of ten one-hour lectures, spaced in a way that gives participants roughly three to four weeks after every session to do the required reading and prepare for the next session. All sessions will take place online via zoom. 

Start date: 27 January 2023

End date: To be confirmed

Admission requirements: None

Examination: None