In 2015, University of Minnesota graduate students founded the Critical Disability Studies Collective (CDSC). The goal was to build a community through the study of social norms that shape our ideas about disability and ability.
Since our founding, the CDSC has collaborated with many departments and units across campus. This includes being awarded the following grants:
- The Imagine Fund Special Events Grant (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019),
- The Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop Grant (2017),
- Campus Climate Microgrant (2019),
- The Institute for Advanced Studies, Research and Creative Collaboratives Grant (2020),
- Imagine Chair: Dreaming Up the Change Disability Makes (2020-2023 - extended),
- Interdisciplinary Collaborative Workshop: Refusing Disposability (2022-2025)
With our interdisciplinary and intersectional focus, the CDSC joined the Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality (RIGS) Initiative in the 2017-2018 academic year.
In all that we do, the CDSC strives to ground our work in the 10 Principles of Disability Justice, accessible pedagogy, and critical disability studies scholarship across the University of Minnesota campuses. Our aim is to expand the capacity for studying disability across the UMN system. We are currently doing this through… creating new courses, offering reading groups, providing resources for research, and envisioning a program dedicated to this interdisciplinary, intersectional, and transnational field of scholarship.
The CDSC centers the leadership of disabled, BIPOC, queer and trans*, women and femme, and first generation scholars. The CDSC includes students, alumni, staff, faculty, and community members. Our events are open to anyone who wants to learn more about and support critical disability studies. To promote accessibility, many of our events take place virtually.
- We prioritize meaningful access.
- We uplift disability justice activists voices, who do groundbreaking, life-changing work.
- We uphold anti-racism by working to eradicate white supremacy culture in our organizational practices, scholarship, teaching, and activism.
- We adhere to the motto, “nothing about us without us”.
- We center the voices and experiences of those most marginalized.
- We foster cross-disability community and self-identity, avoiding hierarchy.
- We collaborate intentionally in order to create meaningful and sustainable relationships.
- We uplift activist-scholars, marginalized scholars, and scholars without institutional support or authority.
- We value study and creation that moves across, blends, and merges disciplines.
- We lead as a collective.
- We center and support each other as we move through crip time and space, using sustainable practices.
- We welcome participation from all, including broader community members.
We acknowledge our position of privilege within an academic institution. Our role includes challenging these societal, ideological, institutional, and interpersonal barriers when possible.