An estimated one billion people around the globe live with a disability; this number grows exponentially when family members, friends, and care providers are included. Various countries and international organizations have attempted to guard against discrimination and secure basic human rights for those whose lives are affected by disability. Yet despite such attempts many disabled persons in the United States and throughout the world still face exclusion from full citizenship and membership in their respective societies. They are regularly denied employment, housing, health care, access to buildings, and the right to move freely in public spaces. At base, such discrimination reflects a tacit yet pervasive assumption that disabled persons do not belong in society.
Civil Disabilities challenges such norms and practices, urging a reconceptualization of disability and citizenship to secure a rightful place for disabled persons in society. Essays from leading scholars in a diversity of fields offer critical perspectives on current citizenship studies, which still largely assume an ableist world. Placing historians in conversation with anthropologists, sociologists with literary critics, and musicologists with political scientists, this interdisciplinary volume presents a compelling case for reimagining citizenship that is more consistent, inclusive, and just, in both theory and practice. By placing disability front and center in academic and civic discourse, Civil Disabilities tests the very notion of citizenship and transforms our understanding of disability and belonging.