The Politics of Disability

New University of Guelph Course - Fall 2024

POLS 4900*01 Seminar in Political SciencePOLS 6950*01 Topics in Political Science 

Mondays 11:30 – 2:20 pm

More than one billion people around the world live with disabilities according to the World Health Organization. Yet they are disproportionately excluded and marginalized in communities, societies, economies, and political systems. Even though more people with disabilities live in the global South, their historic exclusion is virtually universal.

Deborah Stienstra, Director of the Live Work Well Research Centre, is offering a new course to explore why this is so and its causes. It will examine efforts to bring about change and the implications of failing to address these inequities. Drawing on research and experiences from Canada and the global South, the course will help to address the historic neglect of issues of and people with disabilities in politics and policy. We will use an intersectional lens and a cross-disability/impairment approach to consider how various experiences of disability and ableism intersect with other experiences of oppression including gender, race, Indigenousness, class, age, and sexuality, among others.

This course will be of particular interest to senior undergraduate and graduate students in Political Science, Sociology, International Development Studies, Justice and Legal Studies, Sexualities, Gender and Bodies, Black Canadian Studies, Social Practice and Transformational Change, and many others.

This course will introduce students to the politics of disability and enable them to think and write critically about the topic. It takes a broadly comparative approach, drawing on examples from diverse events and societies. It also draws on interdisciplinary insights from disability studies, sociology, history, gender studies, and postcolonialism, as well as political science.

For more information, email

Deborah.Stienstra@uoguelph.ca