Teaching with Trauma: Disability Pedagogy, Feminism, and the Trigger Warnings Debate

Disability Studies Quarterly. 2015;35(2) DOI 10.18061/dsq.v35i2.4652


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Journal Title: Disability Studies Quarterly

ISSN: 1041-5718 (Print); 2159-8371 (Online)

Publisher: The Ohio State University Libraries

Society/Institution: Society for Disability Studies

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: HTML



Angela M. Carter (University of Minnesota)


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Time From Submission to Publication: 10 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Recently, a heated debate has risen in Academia following numerous student initiatives petitions for the formal incorporation of rigger warnings in course syllabi. When contextualized within the intersecting politics of disability and feminist pedagogies, a number of fundamental contentions within this debate become apparent. First, grave misunderstandings remain regarding about practices of accommodation and the possibility of establishing the classroom as a “safe space.” Second, resistance within the academy to understand trauma as a pedagogical issue illustrate a failure to consider experiences of and responses to trauma as issues of disability (in)justice. Through an exploration of these issues, it becomes evident that the conflicting approaches to trauma in the classroom demand the more integrated, collaborative praxis of a “Feminist Disability Studies Pedagogy” (FDSP). When approached through this hybrid pedagogy, the conversation shifts from whether we should use trigger warnings, to why trauma itself is an imperative social justice issue within our classrooms.