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Report

Ableism in Academia: Theorising experiences of disabilities and chronic illnesses in higher education

UCL Press (2020)

book ableism Inclusion Disability

Rather than embracing difference as a reflection of wider society, academic ecosystems seek to normalise and homogenise ways of working and of being a researcher. As a consequence, ableism in academia is endemic. However, to date no attempt has been made to theorise experiences of ableism in academia. Ableism in Academia provides an interdisciplinary outlook on ableism that is currently missing. Through reporting research data and exploring personal experiences, the contributors theorise and conceptualise what it means to be/work outside the stereotypical norm. The volume brings together a range of perspectives, including feminism, post-structuralism, such as Derridean and Foucauldian theory, crip theory and disability theory, and draw on the width and breadth of a number of related disciplines. Contributors use technicism, leadership, social justice theories and theories of embodiment to raise awareness and increase understanding of the marginalised; that is those academics who are not perfect. These theories are placed in the context of neoliberal academia, which is distant from the privileged and romanticised versions that exist in the public and internalised imaginations of academics, and used to interrogate aspects of identity, aspects of how disability is performed, and to argue that ableism is not just a disability issue. This timely collection of chapters will be of interest to researchers in Disability Studies, Higher Education Studies and Sociology, and to those researching the relationship between theory and personal experience across the Social Sciences. Praise for Ableism in Academia 'Has the potential to resonate with a wider audience, including other minority staff groups looking for an alternative range of theoretical perspectives within which to reflect on their experiences. The book could also be an important reference for colleagues who do not identify in any minority group except one that is silently struggling to reach the ‘superhuman’ (Campbell, 2020: 207) expectations of the academy.' Critical Studies in Teaching & Learning (CriSTal) 'Personal and reflective ...All the authors artfully weaved their own experiences with disability into their academic writing in a way that I felt elevated this scholarly collection. This book still left me hopeful. “Collections like this one are necessary to bring into the public consciousness the matters of those who are marginalized” writes Brown in the introduction. I fully agree, and have no doubt this book will contribute to the growing conversation.' Nature Chemistry 'An enriching source of knowledge regarding the personal experiences and attempts to theoretically conceptualise ableism in academia.' Alter, European Journal of Disability Research 'Ableism in Academia is a valuable contribution to the literature for anyone looking to understand how ableism is experienced in academic settings, and the systems that allow it to exist and persist.' Canadian Journal of Disability Studies