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If you'd like to get involved or have any questions email us directly or check us out on Facebook at UMNCDSC! 
New website coming fall 2020

Founded in 2015, the Critical Disability Studies Collective (CDSC) works to cultivate an intellectual community around the study of dis/ability at the University of Minnesota. As a thoroughly interdisciplinary endeavor, the CDSC aims to deepen the University of Minnesota’s engagement with disability as a complex site of theoretical inquiry.

The CDSC promotes the understanding of disability as an ever-shifting historical, socio-cultural, and political formation that deeply intersects with other vectors of privilege and oppression - such as race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship.

Because systemic inequalities unevenly distribute life chances, this collective studies dis/ability not only as an identity, but also as a system of power that constructs, supports, denies, and regulates the life chances of those who claim, or those are claimed by it. Interdisciplinary perspectives include, but are not limited to: Feminist Studies, Ethnic Studies, Cultural Studies, American Studies, Transnational Studies and Performance Studies. 

In the 2017-2018 school year, the CDSC became an affiliate of the Race, Indigeneity, Gender & Sexuality (RIGS) Initiative. As a collaborative, the CDSC is open to any undergraduate, graduate student, instructor, professor, staff, and broader community member that would like to join the group. 

If you are interested in joining our leadership team (which meets monthly), please contact us at We will send you the agenda in advance. 

The 2020-2021 Leadership Team

Co-Chairs: Jessica Horvarth Williams and Angela Carter

Access & Technology Coordinators: Jay Wilson & Paige Lasota

Programming & Logistics: Sarah Garcia & Alli Strong-Martin

Media Coordinators: Amy Drayer & Paige Lasota

Grant Writing Committee: Angela Carter, Jessica Horvath-Williams, Sarah Garcia, Alli Strong-Martin, Emily Jones, Nathan Stenberg

Members-at-Large: Penelope Geng, Rose Vokuvic, Jennie Row

In addition our general membership includes 142 members.

Past CDSC Events, Co-Sponsorships, and Grants


Spring 2020 

-"A Radical Pedagogy Conversation: Teaching Disability Access and Justice." Presented by Dr. Allison Hobgood, Willamette College. February 14th. 
-CDSC Foundations Series: "What is Ableism?" Facilitated by Jay Wilson, Senior Access Consultant at the Disability Resource Center and Sarah Garcia, PhD Candidate in Sociology. March 23rd
-CDSC Foundations Series: "Disability Justice During COVID-19." Facilitated by Dr. Angela M. Carter, Access Consultant at the Disability Resource Center.  April 13th.
-"The Critical Disability Studies Collective: An Informational Event." Facilitated by Dr. Angela Carter and Jessica Horvath-Williams, CDSC Co-Chairs. May 20th



Fall 2019 

-CDSC Foundations Series: "What is Critical Disability Studies now?" September 27th 
-CDSC Foundations Series: "Intersectionality: Race, Gender, Dis/ability" October 18th
-CDSC Foundations Series: "Disability Pedagogy." November 1st
-CDSC Foundations Series: "Disability Justice." December 6th
-"Disability Justice and Sexual Violence" A presentation by Lee Blair, GWSS Major. December 6th


Spring 2019

-Recipient of the U of M's Provost Imagine Fund "Special Events" Grant, Spring 2019
- "Useless Eaters, Public Charges, Hulking Monsters: Disability and Surviving State Violence." A Lecture by Lydia X. Z. Brown. Feb 1st.
- "Cripping Intersectionality: Neurodiversity and Disability Justice" A lecture by Lydia X. Z. Brown Feb 1st.
- " No Liberation Witout Disability Justice: Disrupting Ableism As Community Organizers and Freedom Fighters" - A Workshop Facilitated by Lydia X. Z. Brown. Feb 2nd.
- "Dreaming the Disabled Future With Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha." Feb 27th.
- "CareWebs Experiences in Collective Care" facilitated by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha. Feb 27th
-"Rethinking Interdependency: Desiring Messy Dependency,” A Lecture by Akemi Nishida. Friday, April 19th, 12:15-1:45pm in Walter Library, Room 101.

Fall 2018

Equity, Justice, & Difference at Home & Abroad Lecture by Nirmala Erevelles

  • September 25, 2018 4:45 PM-6:15 PM
  • Located at Davis Court Markim Hall Macalester Campus
  • Please email us if you need help coordinating transportation to Macalester!

Dreaming Wild Disability Justice Dreams: A Kick Off Discussion Event

Disability Justice in Activism and Organizing: Local Action to State-Wide Change

  • October 18, 2018 12:30 PM-2:30 PM
  • Located at Nolte 140
  • Panelists include:
    • Rick Cardenas - Longtime local disability activist and organizer currently working with the ReConnect Rondo Project.
    • Mai Thor - Civic Engagement Coordinator at the Minnesota Department of Human Rights.
    • Octavian E. Robinson - Professor of ASL, Interpreting Studies, and Communications Equity at St. Catherine University.
    • Nikki Villavicencio-Tollison - Current Candidate for Maplewood City Council and Disability Rights Activist.
    • Panel Moderated by Jay Wilson - Senior Access Consultant at the Disability Resource Center at the University of Minnesota.
  • Light refreshments provided.
  • This event will be ASL-interpreted. Please let us know if you plan to attend and will be using interpreting so that we can make sure to meet your needs!

Disability Justice in Campus-Wide Organizing & Activism

  • November 15, 2018 12:30 PM-2:30 PM
  • Located at Nolte 140
  • A joint event with the Organization for Graduate and Professional Students with Disabilities.
  • Panelists Include Members From:
    • The Disabled Studies Cultural Center (DSCC)
    • The Organization for Graduate and Professional Students with Disabilities (OGPSD)
    • The Critical Disability Studies Collective (CDSC)
    • The Access Assistants from the Disability Resource Center (DRC)
  • Light Refreshments Provided
  • This event will be fragrance free. Please refrain from use of scented products while attending our event!
  • This event will be ASL-interpreted. Please let us know if you will be using these interpreting services so that we can be sure and meet all your access needs.

Spring 2018

  • Reading Group: The Right to Maim by Jasbir Puar
  • Reading Group: Academic Ableism by Jay Dolmage
  • Black Disability Studies Reading Group
  • Interrogating Anti-Black Racism and Disablement: A Critical Disability Studies Symposium

Fall 2017

  • Recipient of the U of M’s Provost Imagine Fund “Special Events” Grant,  Spring 2018

  • Imagining Cultures of Access: Race, Disability, and Mental Health On Campus. Invited Lectures and a roundtable discussion with Dr. Margaret Price and Dr. Mimi Khúc

  • “Sustainable Design Strategies and the Future of Accessibility”. Invited Lecture by Johnna Keller

  • What’s Critical about Critical Disability Studies Now? - A Welcome Event and Discussion!

Spring 2017

  • Recipient of the U of M’s Provost Imagine Fund “Special Events” Grant, for Fall 2017

  • “Empire’s Other other: Thinking Intersectionally in Transnational Contexts.” Invited Lecture by Dr. Nirmala Erevelles.

  • “Boys in the Bubble: Sexual Liberation, Disability and Prime Time Television.” Visiting Lecture by Dr. Julie Passanante Elman.

  • Visiting Artist Talk by Park McArthur at the Regis Center for Art

Fall 2016

  • Recipient of the U of M’s Provost Imagine Fund “Special Events” Grant, for Spring 2017

  • “Still ‘Absolutely Positive’.” Documentary screening and discussion.

  • “Disability Justice is a Feminist Issue.” Lecture as a part of the Women’s Center Feminist Fridays.

Spring 2016

  • “Disability Liberated: Mourn the Dead and Fight Like Hell of the LIving” - Documentary screening and discussion.

  • “Defective, Deficient, Burdensome: Thinking about Bad Bodies.” Visiting Lecture by Eli Clare.

  • “Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement.” Documentary screening and discussion.

Fall 2015

  • “Dialogues in Dis/Ability” - A Series of 4 Film Screenings & Discussions. Topics Included: Defining Disability, The History of the Disability Rights Movement, Disability Activism in MN, and Disability Arts & Culture.