To explore several aspects of disability experiences in America and globally during the late nineteenth century, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Topics such as: the politics of disability in America, theories of the disabled body, disability and war, gender and disability, genocide and disability, life stages and disability, health care and disability experience, and others will be covered.

PURPOSE: This course will explore several aspects of disability experiences in America and in the world. The course will focus on case studies and themes in the disability experience during the late nineteenth century, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Readings in the course will pose questions such as: Are disabled individuals different from non-disabled individuals? If so, in what ways have they been treated differently historically? How do governmental, health, housing and legal institutions treat the disabled across cultures? Is there such a thing as a distinct disability culture? What issues have disability political movements addressed in recent years? The course will review topics such as eugenics, work, poverty and disability, legal protection and disability, gender and disability, war and disability as well as representations of disability in art and literature.This is an introductory course that cannot cover, due to scheduling constraints, all issues relating to disability.  It is intended to start you to think about the category of disability in history and prepare you for further independent reading, research and interactions with patients who are disabled.

1. One, one-page response paper that correlates with leading that session’s discussion.
2.  A 5-7 page paper
3.  A 10-minute presentation about your case topic given at the end of the semester.
4. Class participation, including initiating one class discussion and
attendance. Class participation is extremely important for this class so
make sure to read all assignments and contribute your thoughts in class
5. Attendance: Students are allowed one absence only. There cannot be any exceptions to this due to the short duration of the course.

INSTRUCTIONAL METHOD: Instructor will assign approximately 60 pages of course reading per day from a variety of disciplines (medicine, public health, history, anthropology, film, etc.) That will form the basis of classroom discussions. Instruction will be provided regarding course will explore how the past has shaped today. The instructor will emphasize disability debates, arguments of authors and reading critically through interactive lectures and small group work (i.e. analyzing documents in class).

ASSESSMENT: Assessment will be based on oral and written participation in the classroom, a 5-7 page research project and two one-page thought papers will be assigned per week. Research will involve such data as historical and archival documents, oral histories, and surveys, which the students will find and analyze for their projects. The project will be a critical assessment of the historical events shaping disability issues. An example would be, “The Role of Disability in Progressive Era Reforms of the 20th Century”.


Program Number: ELEC 954
Location: UI Health
Program Director: S. Sufian
Telephone: 312-996-6738
Duration: 2 weeks
Night Call: No
Weekends: No
Students Accepted: Min. 4 Max. 12
Housestaff Used as Faculty:
Lectures/Conferences/Faculty Contact: 41 hours/week
Laboratory/Independent Study: 0
Outpatient: 0
Inpatient: 0
Total Hours /Week: 41 hours/week

KEYWORDS: History of Medicine; history of disability; disability studies; global health issues/ international health; public health

Updated:  9/6/18