DIGITAL 458 - Seminar in Digital Studies
Fall 2023, Section 001 - Networked Disability Cultures
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is   Hybrid (see other Sections below)
Subject: Digital Studies (DIGITAL)
Department: LSA Digital Studies Institute
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Notes:
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


The internet has long been a space for disability community, mutual aid, and activism. Kate Ellis and Mike Kent, writing in Disability and New Media, suggest that the internet has “opened up” the world for disabled people. This course offers forth an opportunity to critically (and creatively) engage this sentiment, and others like it—what is disability culture online? Who gets to produce it? How does it get produced? What are its impacts across culture and technology? This course presents a theoretical survey of disability culture online—alongside a breadth of theoretical scholarship ranging from critical accessibility studies to media studies, feminist histories of care and beyond, we will cover a wide variety of networked media—from podcasts and documentary film to social media platforms and digital zines. In so doing, we will seriously (and playfully) engage these genres and mediums as they emerge, exist, and are debated and scrutinized online. No familiarity with disability studies is presumed or required, and we will be taking a deliberately intersectional approach to the study of disability culture(s), paying particular attention to the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class alongside disability in virtual spaces.

In addition to more traditional forms of composition, students will compose multiple multimodal projects, with support from the Shapiro Design Lab and additional resources, culminating in an original research project, subject to instructor approval. 

Through this course, students will learn how to assess and articulate on-going debates surrounding disability culture and activism online, as well as the longer history of community organizing around disability. In addition, students will synthesize original arguments based on course content The course will appeal to anyone interested in digital culture, and specifically, the intersections of digital culture, media, disability, and/or identity. Networked Disability Cultures will posit that by studying the rich ecosystems that spring up around disability online, we might collectively imagine better, more equitable futures for all.

Course Requirements:

In addition to on-going blog posts, and various shorter writing assignments, students will have the opportunity to experiment with other modes of production, culminating in an option to submit their final project as a video essay (5-8 minutes in length), alongside a process paper. Students may also produce a thesis driven essay as a final project.

Intended Audience:

Anyone curious about disability history and culture are strongly encouraged, as well as anyone interested in working for/with disabled people. No experience in disability studies and/or media production is required!

Class Format:

Hybrid: Mondays will be virtual, Wednesdays will be in person.


DIGITAL 458 - Seminar in Digital Studies
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

Textbooks/Other Materials

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