New book by School of Education professor examines link between perceptions of race, disability
New book by School of Education professor examines link between perceptions of race, disabilityMay 14, 2006Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.eduBeth A. Ferri, associate professor in teaching and leadership, cultural foundations of education and disability studies in the School of Education, has just published “Reading Resistance: Discourses of Exclusion in Desegregation and Inclusion Debates” (Peter Lang Publishing). The book, by Ferri and co-author David J. Connor, traces the interconnected histories of race and disability in the public imagination through a nuanced analysis of editorial pages and other forms of public discourse, including political cartoons and eugenics posters.
By uncovering how the concept of disability was used to re-segregate students of color after the historic Brown decision, the authors argue that special education has played a role in undermining school desegregation. In its critical, interdisciplinary focus on the interlocking politics of race and disability, “Reading Resistance” offers important contributions to educational research, theory and policy.
“‘Reading Resistance’ presents an important and timely discussion of the intersections between white privilege and ableism and the interconnections between IDEA [Individuals with Disabilities Education Act] and Brown v. Board of Education,” says Ellen Brantlinger, professor of curriculum and instruction at Indiana University, Bloomington. “Of key value is the overview of how race becomes an organizing principle of social life and how mainstream classrooms are constructed through rhetorics of ability, ideologies of normalcy and rituals of exclusion.”
Ferri coordinates the School of Education’s masters program in secondary inclusive education and the doctoral program in special education. She serves on the advisory board for the women’s studies program, where she is also an affiliate faculty member. She received her Ph.D. in special education and graduate certificate in women’s studies at the University of Georgia. For her interdisciplinary scholarship in feminist disability studies and critical disability inquiry, she was recently recognized as an Outstanding Young Scholar in Disability Studies in Education.
Connor is an associate professor of special education at City University of New York, Hunter College. His doctoral research, which focused on the intersections of disability, race, and class, was awarded the Teachers College President’s Grant for Student Research in Diversity. He earned his Ph.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University.