EVERYDAY SURVIVAL AND COLLECTIVE ACCOUNTABILITY: What We Can Learn from Disabled Workers in Higher Education

The  pandemic has raised startling questions about everyday life—for example, “How is it possible that I am required to do a full-time job while also providing full-time care for my family?” or “How can I negotiate questions of ‘safety’ with my co-workers, my community, even my closest loved ones?” But these questions were already active topics of conversation in small, interdependent communities of people who are disabled, BIPOC, queer, and marginalized in other ways. In this talk, Margaret Price draws upon data from a survey and interview study with disabled faculty to highlight themes such as “time,” “cost,” “technology,” and “accountability.” These themes not only teach us more about the everyday lives and strategies of disabled faculty members, but also demonstrate that all participants in higher education will benefit from a cultural shift toward shared accountability and interdependent forms of care.

Dr. Margaret Price is an Associate Professor of English and Director of the Disability Studies Program at the Ohio State University. Price’s book, Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life, explores the contested boundaries between disability, illness, and mental illness in the setting of U.S. higher education.