Practices of Everyday Ableism in Academia

Claudia Gillberg and the Institute of Education at University College London are collaborating in the study "An inappropriate applicant: The Woes of (non)Disclosure of Disability in Academia", that is a part of the project "Practices of Everyday Ableism in Academia".

Abstract: After six years of physical absence from academia due to severe illness, a job vacancy materialised for an associate lectureship. This was the first time since becoming ill that a suitable job in terms of content and feasible format had arisen, due to the course being taught online in a platform I had worked in before. The content was almost identical to that I had taught and developed previously, and for which I had been the programme manager with ten colleagues reporting to me, and with overall administrative and academic responsibility. I fulfilled every requirement, in fact I was over-qualified for the job on several counts, an important point to emphasise to substantiate my claims to ableist discriminatory conduct having occurred on the part of the interviews. In this paper, I provide a detailed account of the recruitment process and some verbatim, contextualised quotes, before proceeding to an analytical discussion anchored in relevant scholarly work. I will be arguing in favour of disclosure as a tool for learning and change, while acknowledging the personal sacrifice, economic loss, and professional humiliation disclosure may entail. I shall conclude by posing questions regarding higher education’s role, responsibilities and possibilities in fostering a culture of understanding and mutual respect based on data and research other than my own autobiographical narrative, but will use the latter to highlight the aforementioned losses that are, as I will argue, unworthy of academia, especially in a discipline whose members pride themselves on their ability to learn and teach others.

Gillberg is also engaged in the project "Theorising Ableism in Academia".

Content checked / updated 2018-04-24

Lifelong Learning
Content updated 2018-04-24

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