3 credit hours
This course is divided into three parts; the first is critical, the second is constructive, and the third is application. In the first part, the course focuses on thinkers like Michel Foucault, a 20th century French post-structuralist who argues that ways of labeling people as “abnormal” or “disabled” or “insane” are actually reflections of the desires of contingent structures of power at any given historical-cultural moment, and not reflections of the desires of contingent structures of power at any given historical-cultural moment, and not reflections of truth or knowledge about the human condition, human nature, or any other objective definition of medical normality. Spring boarding from that first critical part, the second part is constructive, and engages with literature that take up where Foucault’s deconstructive enterprise leaves off, focusing on new ways to approach intellectual (dis)ability that reinterpret such states independent of the desires of power, and in doing so open up the potential to see these states as a part of the panorama of normal human functioning. The third and last part of the course would focus on application, turning to specific ethical questions and debate over the status of dignity, justice, and personhood that emerge from the challenges raised by intellectual (dis)ability.