Disability is a fundamental facet of human diversity – people with disabilities make up the largest minority in the U.S. population – and disabled people have histories and cultures deserving of study on their own terms. Disability studies thus has a strong claim to a place in any multicultural curriculum. Yet disability lags behind race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class in recognition inside and outside the academy.
A minor in disability studies can help you prepare for a career in medicine, rehabilitation, audiology, or education – especially special education. Given the numerous legal and ethical issues inherent in disability, a disability studies minor may also be excellent preparation for careers in law, business, journalism, and politics.
Why Disability Studies?
In this field, disability is understood as a social and cultural construct much like gender, race, and ethnicity. The disability studies program explores how disability is expressed in literature, film, and mass media; defined by legislation; understood by philosophy and ethics; and created and accommodated (or not) by economies and methods of production.
Disability Studies at Hofstra
Hofstra, which offers 100% program accessibility for persons with disabilities, has a distinguished tradition of accessibility and hospitality to disabled people. The University has long welcomed students with a variety of disabilities, major and minor, visible and invisible, acquired and congenital.
Furthermore, Hofstra's Axinn Library collection has substantial strength in the field. It carries many specialized journals, and its book collection is very comprehensive, in part because it benefits from state funding (through the Department of Education) and has been designated as a Long Island Library Resources Council "area library" for disability studies. Therefore, the University is rich in both disability history and resources.
The minor's two dedicated courses – Introduction to Disability Studies and Disability in Literature and Culture – help students develop skills in argument and analysis. The interdisciplinary nature of the courses and the minor also encourages students to look at societal problems from multiple perspectives and in flexible and innovative ways.