• 296 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • Price: $39.95
  • EAN: 9781439913888
  • Publication: Jan 2017
  • Price: $94.50
  • EAN: 9781439913895
  • Publication: Jan 2017
  • Price: $39.95
  • EAN: 9781439913895
  • Publication: Jan 2017

Barriers and Belonging

Personal Narratives of Disability

Edited by Michelle Jarman, Leila Monaghan, and Alison Quaggin Harkin

What is the direct impact that disability studies has on the lives of disabled people today? The editors and contributors to the essential anthology, Barriers and Belonging, provide thirty-seven personal narratives that explore what it means to live with disability and why the field of disability studies matters. Every chapter includes key terms, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading.

Barriers and Belonging explores how disability informs self-knowledge, interpersonal and community relationships, and political commitments. Contributors offer experiential insight into living with an array of disabilities, from spinal cord injuries, blindness, deafness, and autism to psychiatric diagnoses, learning disabilities, and chronic pain. Several essays articulate activist and pride orientations toward disability, demonstrating the importance of understanding disability as a multi-dimensional process—as personal, relational and socio-political.


"Barriers and Belonging covers a wide range of topics yet remains coherent as a collection. It touches on many of the important discussions currently animating the field and includes topics rarely discussed in disability studies, such as the experiences of people in rural settings and the role of religious faith in people’s lives. This book will shift students’ understandings of disability, catalyze disability organizing on campus, and re-orient pedagogy and curricula." Alison Kafer, Professor of Feminist Studies at Southwestern University, and author of Feminist, Queer, Crip

"Barriers and Belonging is a hugely important volume—the first of its kind. As an original book that involves a synthesis of literatures and arguments, it offers an incredible range of diversity, experiences, and voices. One of its greatest strengths is how truly student-friendly it is. The focus on personal experience is notable, and the contributors explore many facets of the overall disability experience. I am very excited about the possibilities for this volume!" Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Professor of English and Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut, and author of Deaf Subjects: Between Identities and Places

“A common thread of many of the (contributors') essays is how their personal experiences with disability in college led them to accept a disability identity and ultimately into activism.... (E)ach section of the book has worked to include a wide representation of disability.... The purpose of the book (is) as a teaching tool.... It allows readers to see the progression of thought by which someone might move from little understanding or from an insecurity about their own disability, into a role in which advocacy – either through action or academics – might become a central part of their lives...each of these essays is well worth reading.Wordgathering

"Barriers and Belonging is much more than a textbook: it’s an eye-opening collection of lives, told with honesty and moving candor. The narratives, which are organized into sections around themes such as communication, family and relationships, are engaging and short, allowing room for many different points of view.... The writers lead us up to the moment their conception of their disability changes in some way. The ways are as varied as the disabilities themselves, which range from acquired conditions such as PTSD and chronic pain, to congenital conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome, to mental health and cognitive conditions." intima: a journal of narrative medicine

" This book is a meaningful contribution to the body of materials for courses that address individual and group differences. The text could be an excellent complement to other course materials in a survey or introductory level course. Its style of personal narratives will appeal to students because they are brief.... These narratives are also intensely honest and personal. For those who have never considered the impact of non-visible disabilities, this text is an eye opener. After reading this volume, it is unlikely that readers would ever respond to another person with the casual saying, but you don’t have a disability . As a resource for courses in disability studies or human diversity, Barriers and Belonging presents a fresh perspective." Teachers College Record

"It is not often that a book comes along which might be described as indispensable within its field of study, but Barriers and Belonging is surely one that merits this epithet. Editors Jarman, Monaghan, and Quaggin Harkin have compiled a compelling collection of personal narratives contributed by 37 individuals with a wide range of disabilities.... Barriers and Belonging is a wonderful addition to the disability studies literature and will be an especially useful sourcebook for those beginning to engage in this area of study. The editors are to be highly commended for producing such a stimulating, informative, and emotionally moving collection of personal reflections on disability, which is sure to expand the understanding of all who read it." —Disability & Society

"Barriers and Belonging fills a void in the field of disability studies that editors Michelle Jarman, Leila Monaghan and Alison Quaggin Harkin recognized—an introductory narrative anthology representative of a vast array of embodied disability experiences. Answering the call, the editors have compiled an impressive and important collection of personal disability narratives written by students in the United States and Canada from a diversity of ethnic, religious, class, and cultural backgrounds....Jarman, Monaghan, and Quaggin Harkin have crafted an accessible, if still rigorous, introduction to disability studies that appeals beyond the narrow scholarly stream to include a range of practitioners and advocates working in the disability field, as well as disabled people themselves." —Metapsychology online

"The collection reflects the great diversity of impairment experiences and indeed stimulates fresh thought, not only on the wider concepts of what constitutes impairment and disability, but also on the ways different individuals chose to express themselves and interact with those around them.... One of the greatest strengths of Barriers and Belonging is the way we are stimulated to reflect upon what society considers to be disability, not least because many of the writers express how they have gone through often complex journeys in their own evaluations of disability.... These narratives serve to inform presently ablebodied people, as well as those already familiar with living with an impairment. They well serve a broad and multi-faceted audience." —Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

"The (book) offers a rich introduction to key debates in disability studies.... In validating the fresh perspectives of those who are new to disability studies with those who are steeped in it, Jarman, Monaghan, and Harkin disrupt the linear narrative of how one finds disability consciousness and community in exciting ways. In this way, the volume is not only an invaluable teaching resource, but also a vibrant addition to the fields of Education, Disability Studies, and Auto/biography Studies." —Disability Studies Quarterly

"Michelle Jarman, Leila Monaghan, and Alison Quaggin Harkin provide a wondrous outlet for thirty-seven autoethnographic narratives on living with disability and on internalizing imperfections in an ableist society developed largely for perfect bodies.... (T)his book provides insight in understanding various levels of ability and the inner conflict, stigmas, and myriad other challenges associated with disability." —H-Disability

"The book fills an existing gap of important testimonies and empowering texts and its aim to present an introduction to disability studies...is fulfilled by the powerful personal narratives...(Barriers and Belonging) contributes to the genre of empowerment literature giving voice to people with different kinds of disabilities." —ALTER: European Journal of Disability Research

"(A) collection of accessible and engaging autobiographical essays about the disability experience.... Barriers and Belonging includes a wide range of contributors from diverse backgrounds, with different kinds of disabilities.... The collection is also notable for its seamless inclusion of narratives about mental and invisible disabilities.... The writing in Barriers and Belongings is as textured and varied as the contributors, and this is another strength of the collection."
— Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

About the Author(s)

Michelle Jarman is Associate Professor of Disability Studies, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities at the University of Wyoming.

Leila Monaghan is Lecturer in Anthropology at Northern Arizona University.

Alison Quaggin Harkin is Temporary Assistant Lecturer of Disability Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and English at the University of Wyoming.