Freedom, Power, and Disability


ACLS Fellowship Program


Political Science


Disabled people are often considered by definition as extremely limited in their freedom because they are supposedly unable to do a wide variety of things. Examining political theories of freedom from the seventeenth century to the twenty-first and comparing them to concrete experiences of disability written by scholars in a wide range of disciplines, this project argues that disability facilitates a reimagining of what freedom means on a variety of levels, from what counts as an obstacle or barrier; to how desires are constructed, produced, and expressed; to the role of the body in the formation of the will. How relations of power shape the complex real-life experiences of disability is key to understanding the concept of freedom.