Universität Wien FIND

240555 SE Exploring Disability Anthropology (P4) (2021W)

Continuous assessment of course work

Participation at first session is obligatory!

The lecturer can invite students to a grade-relevant discussion about partial achievements. Partial achievements that are obtained by fraud or plagiarized result in the non-evaluation of the course (entry 'X' in certificate). The plagiarism software 'Turnitin' will be used for courses with continuous assessment.


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 20 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Update 12.01.2022: Due to the current situation the course will be held digital until the end of the semester.
Update 13.12.2021: The course will be held digital until December 17.
Update 22.11.2021: The course will be held digital during lockdown.
If possible, the course is to be conducted in presence. Due to the respective applicable distance regulations and other measures, adjustments may be made.

Tuesday 05.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 12.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 19.10. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 09.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 16.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Seminarraum D, NIG 4. Stock
Tuesday 23.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 30.11. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 07.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 14.12. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 11.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 18.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital
Tuesday 25.01. 13:15 - 14:45 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

The present course intends to shed light on the cultural and social understandings of diverse forms of disability in various urban and rural settings around the world. Therefore, this seminar aims at critically analyze "western" and human rights/humanitarian notions and categories of "disability" in order to underline the socio-cultural complexities around conditions of physical, sensory, and mental difference. One of the course’s goal will be to discuss and examine related notions of normalcy, able-bodiedness, ableism, stigma, social in/exclusion as well as the multiple ways such social, cultural and politico-economic attitudes influence life experiences of people with disability in both the Global North and South.
During the initial seminar sessions, anthropological researches and investigations on persons with disabilities, theoretical positions within the academic field named "disability studies" as well as notions of stigma and inclusion will be introduced and critically discussed. In the subsequent four sessions, the focus of the course will be on examining diverse types of bodily differences (e.g. physical, sensory, mental disabilities and chronic conditions) and the ways such conditions/categories are interpreted by various communities and people in diverging social settings and contexts, on the one hand, and inform the variegated social lives of people with disability, on the other hand. In the following sessions, the themes related to various bodily differences will address: ideas of well-being, eugenics, human rights and humanitarian interventions/actions, the creation of a specific socio-political category of disability, and technological advancements in the attempt to "re-define" conditions of normalcy.
The course will end with a final discussion on new research perspectives and axes within the Disability Anthropology/Anthropology of Disability. Even though there will be not session entirely dedicated to the interconnections between various forms of bodily difference and gender, decolonial/postcolonial racial justice, family relatedness/kinship, and issues related migratory contexts, these anthropological themes will be transversally taken into account during daily readings and course sessions.

Assessment and permitted materials

Regular participation in class debates/discussion, oral presentation of the results of research on an agreed topic, and drafting of a seminar paper of about 3.000 words constitute the course requirements. Course classes can be based on either active and regular participation only or on active and regular participation with a final examination/assignment. The seminar is based on class discussions and analysis of reading materials or other sources, written or oral presentations. Students should also note that no late assignments will be accepted. They are therefore asked to complete all written works on time and make sure to see the lecturer in his office hours with any questions or issues that may arise during seminar classes.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

For the grade of this seminar students should try to attend the lessons, take actively part in them and prepare a presentation of about 15 min. plus 10 min. of questions and discussions. Furthermore, the examination modality entails a written assignment of 3000 words. Therefore, 80 % attendance is required. If one session is missed an additional assignment must be completed. The grade is therefore defined as follows: seminar paper 40%, presentation 40%, and contribution to discussion in class 20%.

Examination topics

The seminar is based on presentations, engagements in discussions and works in small groups. Additionally, students will work out individual seminar papers on topics that are related to their presentation or are of their personal interest.

Reading list

Selected reading list
Addlaka, R., S. Blume, P. Devlieger, O. Nagase, and M. Winance (eds.). 2009. Disability and Society: A Reader. Orient Black Swan Publishers.
Friedner, M. and A. Kusters. 2020. "Deaf Anthropology." Annual Review of Anthropology 49:31-47.
Ginsburg, F. and R. Rapp. 2020. "Disability/Anthropology: Rethinking the Parameters of the Human. An Introduction to Supplement 21." Current Anthropology 61 (S21): S4-S15.
Ingstad, B., & S. R. Whyte (eds.). 2007. Disability in Local and Global Worlds. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Muyinda, Herbert. 2020. The Skilling Journey: Disability, Technology, and Sociality in Post-Conflict Northern Uganda. Current Anthropology 61 (suppl. 21): S123S131
Nakamura, K. 2010. A Disability of the Soul: An Ethnography of Schizophrenia and Mental Illness in Contemporary Japan. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Ralph, L. 2014. Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Staples, J., and N. Mehotra. 2016. "Disability Studies: Developments in Anthropology." In Disability in the Global South: The Critical Handbook. Shaun Grech and Karen Soldatic, eds. Pp. 3549. International Perspectives on Social Policy, Administration, and Practice. Cham: Springer International.
Wool, Z. 2015. After War: The Weight of Life at Walter Reed. Durham, NC: Duke University Press
Zoanni, T. 2019. "Appearances of Disability and Christianity in Uganda." Cultural Anthropology 34 (3):444470

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Th 23.03.2023 00:23