Disability Studies: an introduction

By Prof. Hemachandran Karah   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 638
A) The course offers a general introduction to the field of Disability Studies,
B) It explores disability’s capacity to offer special frameworks in the interpretation of knowledge domains such as medicine, and
C) it explores the ways and means with which disability transpires into an interdisciplinary phenomenon in a way much broader than a mere identity marker. 
Course description:
Moving away from a viewpoint that disability is a mere lack and a restricted bodily condition, this course defines the phenomenon as a knowledge domain, lived reality, as much as an interpretative framework. The course contains four modules running for 8 weeks. 
An introductory module may expose students to various frameworks and approaches to disability. The second module entitled “Key concepts” is a survey of foundational concepts connected to Disability Studies. Module three is “Disabilities, ideas, and disciplines”. Among other things, this module is replete with cutting-edge interviews with specialists across the globe. The fourth module is “Literature, Disability and Health”. Here, disability emerges as a cluster of frameworks for studying literature, and human lives at large. 

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Students pursuing: B.E., B.Tech., BA/MA, Medicine and allied courses, Rehabilitation and Special Education
PREREQUISITES:          Nil.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 8 weeks
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 2
Level : Undergraduate
Start Date : 29 Jul 2019
End Date : 20 Sep 2019
Exam Date : 29 Sep 2019 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction Disability Definition: An Evolving Phenomenon, Medical Model of Disability, Social Model of Disability:
                Part 1, Social Model of Disability: Part 2, Stigma: A Universal Phenomenon, Stigma and Disability: What can we learn?
Week 2: Key Concepts:, Ableism Part 1, Ableism Part 2, Disability Activism, Models of Disability Activism, Dependency, Interdependency
Week 3: Key Concepts:, , Blindness, Blindness as metaphor, Eugenics, Disability Pride, Disability Resilience, Disability Passing, Coming out: A performance in disability inhabitation
Week 4: Disabilities, Ideas and Disciplines: Assistive Technology: An interview with Prof. Madhusudan Rao, Disability and Ethnography:
  An Interview with Prof. James Staple,    
Week 5: Disabilities, Ideas and Disciplines: Schizophrenia: A Personal Account – An interview with Reshma Valliappan, Autism and
                the Indian Family: An interview with Dr. Shubhangi Vaidhya
Week 6:  Disabilities, Ideas and Disciplines: Dyslexia and the Modern University: An Interview with Prof Tanya Titchkosky, Gender
and Disability: Interviews with Prof. Anita Ghai and Prof. Nandini Ghosh     
Week 7: Disabilities, Ideas and Disciplines: The Normal and its End: An interview with Prof. Lenard Davis, Literary Disability Studies:
  An Interview with Dr. Shilpa Anand, What is Deaf Culture? An Interview with Dr. Michele Friedner,
Week 8: Literature and Disability: Disability and Life Writing (1/2 hour), Disability and Metaphor (1/2 hour), Conclusion (1/2 hour).

Books and references

  • Sapey, Bob. Key Concepts in Disability Studies. Sage Publications, 2009. 
  • Davis, Lennard J. The Disability Studies Reader. Routledge, 2013.
  • Goodley, Dan. Disability Studies: an Interdisciplinary Introduction. SAGE, 2011.
  • Ghai, Anita. Disability in South Asia: Knowledge and Experience. SAGE, 2018
  • Chataika, Tsitsi, et al. "'What Kind of Development Are We Talking about?' : a Virtual Roundtable with Tsitsi Chataika, Nilika Mehrotra, Karen Soldatic and Katerina Kolarova .”Somatechnics, 2016, pp. 142–158., doi: https://doi.org/doi:10.3366/soma.2016.0188.

Instructor bio

Dr Hemachandran Karah teaches English Literature at the Humanities and Social sciences faculty. He is interested in researching on themes such as disability, health, the language question, literary criticism, and musicology

Course certificate

  • The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
  • The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
  • Date and Time of Exams: 29 September 2019, Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
  • Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.

  • Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 6 assignments out of the total 8 assignments given in the course.
  • Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
  • Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

  • If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.
  • Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.
  • Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies are being discontinued from July 2019 semester and will not be dispatched

MHRD logo Swayam logo


Goto google play store