Barriers and Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability (WY UCEDD)

May 8, 2017

The Wyoming Institute for Disabilities (WIND) is pleased to announce the recent publication of Barriers and Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability, published in February 2017 by Temple University Press. WIND is Wyoming's UCEDD, and the Disability Studies Minor is a key component of our pre-service education core function.

Edited by UW Disability Studies faculty members, Michelle Jarman, Leila Monaghan, and Alison Quaggin Harkin, Barriers and Belonging incorporates a collection of 37 personal narratives about the nature of disability, asking larger questions about disability, societal rights, and perceptions of self.

The essays explore a wide range of themes, including what it means to be disabled and why disability studies matter; they further invite readers to engage with individual writers' experiences on profoundly personal and empathetic levels. Says Jarman, "These disability narratives allow readers to inhabit bodies, minds, and histories different from their own and to reorient, through authors' reflections, their critical thinking about disability."

The personal essays in Barriers and Belonging address numerous types of disability, from deafness, blindness, autism, and psychiatric diagnoses, to physical and acquired disability. In addition, the narratives address issues of life experiences and environment, including urban and rural perspectives, diverse national, ethnic and social backgrounds, and the multiple intersections between disability and other personal identities.

The content in Barriers and Belonging is designed primarily for the undergraduate classroom as a narrative introduction for students new to the field. In addition, these essays also provide unique material for faculty in a broad range of disciplines to expand their coursework to include and address issues of disability. Content can be excerpted and included in course materials for a variety of disciplines, including composition, literary studies, gender studies, psychology, education, health science courses, anthropology, law, or sociology.  In a field that has relatively few texts for introductory undergraduate students, Barriers and Belonging can assist in bridging disability studies content to a broader interdisciplinary environment.

If you are interested in learning more or adding Barriers and Belonging into your curriculum, or  are interested in additional information about the contributors, please contact Michelle Jarman, at [email protected]. Barriers and Belonging is available at:

About the authors:

Michelle Jarman is Associate Professor of Disability Studies, Wyoming Institute for Disabilities at the University of Wyoming.

Leila Monaghan, formerly at the University of Wyoming, is a Lecturer in Anthropology at Northern Arizona University.

Alison Quaggin Harkin is Temporary Assistant Lecturer of Disability Studies, Gender and Women's Studies, and English at the University of Wyoming.