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Imagining (dis)topia: Community Work in Disability Love -
Four images excerpted from a disability justice zine created for a final class project

Tulane University’s SISE4950 disABILITY Class Spring 2020: 
BAKER, Ryan; BIRDWELL, Charlie; CLARK, Sophia; CONNOR, Delaney; FIELDS, Wash; FLEMING, Lauren; KESSLER, Laurel; KLAUSNER, Danielle; PILLAR, Zoe; SILVER, Madelyn; TRUSCOTT, Sasha; CLEARY, Krystal ( Tulane Department of Communication: Gender and Sexuality Studies Program); WOMACK, Anne-Marie (Tulane Department of English); LAZARUS, Cathy (Tulane School of Medicine), STEINHAUER, Rafe (Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking)

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Three images excerpted from Imagining (dis)topia: Community Work in Disability Love (2020), a disability justice zine cocreated in the course SISE4950: disABILITY. “My disabled body is divine” was created by Charlie Birdwell. “A Cultural Wave of Access” was created by Delaney Connor. “Imagining (dis)topia: Community Work in Disability Love-Front Cover” is a collage of eleven students’ images and is accompanied by image descriptions on the inside front cover image. As Prof. Cleary explained in the assignment prompt, “Long used as affordable mediums of political expression and culture-making [especially in queer and disabled communities], the zine format is inherently aligned with many of the principles that have animated our disABILITY seminar: interdependence, collective knowledge production, and accessibility.” Thus, Zines showcase novel design techniques and aesthetics that both originate in “non-center” cultures and influence cultures away from white, male, Eurocentric norms. This work subverts assumptions about “who publishes” (11 undergraduates, four of whom identify as disabled) and “final project” (a collective publication, rather than individual, confidential work). This zine was influenced by the course curriculum, which not only examined critical theories such as the social model of disability, and intersectionality, but also included discussions with and presentations by eight disability self-advocates.

Keywords: disability, zines, critical pedagogy 

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About the Author(s)

SISE4950: disABILITY Class Spring 2020 was a class offered in the 2020 Spring Semester as an elective in Tulane School of Architecture’s minor Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (SISE). The class, referenced as the authors of this submission, consisted of eleven students and four professors. Five of the co-authors (four students and one faculty) have chosen to openly identify as disabled in the creation of this work. Of the fifteen co-authors: all are affiliated with Tulane University, thus share a positionality in higher education affiliation (if not in equal access or inclusion in its benefits); eleven use “she/her” pronouns; two 2 use “they/them” pronouns; two use “he/him” pronouns; all consider the United States home; we did not collect how people identify in terms of class or belief status, but our course conversations suggest representation from different classes and religious affiliation; we did not collect information on race, but we should have done so (without exact numbers on self-identification, we can share that the class identifies either predominantly or exclusively as white). Students represent a diverse range of majors, minors, and academic programs. The faculty represent three different schools at Tulane (Newcombe-Tulane College, School of Architecture, and School of Medicine).

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