Disabling Barriers

Social Movements, Disability History, and the Law

Edited by Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt

  • Published: 2017. Paperback May 2018
  • Subject Listing: Law
  • Bibliographic information: 244 pp., 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

Disabling Barriers analyzes issues relating to disability at different moments in Canadian and American history. In this volume, legal scholars, historians, and disability-rights activists explore how disabled people have been portrayed and treated in a variety of contexts, including within the labour market, the workers' compensation system, the immigration process, and the legal system (both as litigants and as lawyers). The contributors encourage us to rethink our understanding of both the systemic barriers disabled people face and the capacity of disabled people to transform their environment by changing the discourse surrounding disablement.
Ravi Malhotra is professor in the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, at the University of Ottawa. Benjamin Isitt is a historian and legal scholar specializing in the relationship between social movements and the state in Canada and globally. Contributors: Odelia R. Bay, Jay Dolmage, Anne Finger, Dustin Galer, Benjamin Isitt, Mark Leier, Ravi Malhotra, Geoffrey Reaume, Jen Rinaldi, Megan A. Rusciano, Eric Tucker, and Mark Walters

"This diverse collection was a pleasure to read. The editors' disparate backgrounds deliver on a promise suggested from the start: to launch a deep conversation between legal scholars and historians on the premises and promises of social movements where disability has been concerned."
-Sue Schweik, professor, Department of English, University of California, Berkeley

"Disabling Barriers examines the concept of disability in relation to broader themes of political economy and social theory. The contributors take an explicitly interdisciplinary approach, examining disability in relation to class and gender, while always remaining aware of the personal issues associated with disability. The essays examine a variety of subjects, some well known, others much less so, but always with fresh approaches and interesting insights. The book provides a valuable addition to the field and deserves a wide audience."
-Steven Noll, master lecturer, Department of History, University of Florida

Foreword / Bryan D. Palmer
Introduction: Bringing History and Law to Disability Studies / Ravi Malhotra and Benjamin Isitt

Part 1: Historical Debates on Work and Disability
1. Bearing the Marks of Capital: Solidarities and Fractures in E. T. Kingsley's British Columbia / Mark Leier
2. Employers, Disabled Workers, and the War on Attitudes in Late Twentieth-Century Canada / Dustin Galer
3. Gender and the Value of Work in Canadian Disability History / Geoffrey Reaume

Part 2: Debates in Disability Studies
4. Dancing with a Cane: The Public Perception of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Disability / Anne Finger
5. Disability in Motion: Aesthetics, Embodiment, Sensation, and the Emergence of Modern Vestibular Science in the Nineteenth Century / Mark Walters
6. "Of Dark Type and Poor Physique": Law, Immigration Restriction, and Disability in Canada, 1900-30 / Jen Rinaldi and Jay Dolmage

Part 3: Legal Debates
7. Battling the Warrior-Litigator: An Exploration of Chronic Illness and Employment Discrimination Paradigms / Odelia R. Bay
8. Towards Full Inclusion: Addressing the Issue of Income Inequality for People with Disabilities in Canada / Megan A. Rusciano
9. Compensating Work-Related Disability: The Theory, Politics, and History of the Commodification-Decommodification Dialectic / Eric Tucker