Spring 2023

Disability, Media, and the Art of Access

Listed in: English, as ENGL-488  |  Film and Media Studies, as FAMS-415


Pooja G. Rangan (Section 01)


(Offered as ENGL 488 and FAMS 415) Moving image and audiovisual media frequently assume a fully able subject despite the infinite variety of human capacities and disabilities. This course will acquaint you with historical and contemporary interventions by disabled scholars, makers, and activists that reframe access as a fundamental principle of an inclusive media ecology, as well as an aesthetic, narrative, and formal challenge for media makers. Through reading, making, and doing, we will study the intersection of disability and media from a variety of perspectives and topics, including common disability tropes and metaphors; prosthetics and assistive technologies; audiovisual access features like captions and audio description; disability maker cultures; inclusive interface design; and crip modes of spectatorship and listenership. A persistent theme of our conversations and activities will be access, understood as a practical dilemma, a legal standard, and a political horizon. If we approach access as a guiding principle rather than an inconvenient afterthought or retrofit (think: captions added after a film has been completed, or a ramp added to an inaccessible building), how might that change the way we create, exhibit, distribute, and interpret moving image media?

Requisite: A 200-level Foundations Course in ENGL or FAMS; prior video production course highly recommended.

Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Rangan.

How to handle overenrollment: If overenrolled priority will be given to FAMS and ENGL majors.

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Assignments in this course will include weekly reading; in-class audiovisual analysis; occasional engagements with guest speakers; field visits to venues on campus for accessibility studies; at least one audiovisual assignment (some basic training in required software will be provided); and an independent research project (either a scholarly paper or practice-based project).

ENGL 488 - LEC

Section 01
M 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CHAP 101
W 8:30 AM - 9:50 AM CHAP 101


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Spring 2023