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Disability: Between Equality and Difference?

Disability provides a useful window through which to examine divisions that have emerged in feminist/gender/sexuality scholarship in the last forty years over equality, difference, and intersectionality.

On the one hand, the disability movement has fought for equal rights and same treatment as citizens before the law. More recently, disability scholars and advocates have argued for disability as difference, which must be recognized, and hence, for the need for a more interactive, interdependent, and intersectional theory. Using international documents on disability by disability scholars and advocates, Barbara Arneil examines the standard exclusionary definition of disability as articulated by key modern political thinkers as well as the emerging alternative to these binaries which require us to rethink disability in relationship to the principles of equality and difference.

About the lecturer

Barbara Arneil (Ph.D, London) is interested in the areas of identity politics and the history of political thought. She has published a number of books including John Locke and America (OUP, 1996), Feminism and Politics (Blackwell,1999); Diverse Communities: The Problem with Social Capital (CUP, 2006); Gender and Cultural Justice (Routledge, 2004); and Disability and Political Theory (CUP, 2016). Her most recent book Domestic Colonies (OUP 2017) won APSA’s David Easton Prize, CPSA’s C.B. MacPherson Prize and the BCPSA’s Weller Prize. Previous scholarly recognition includes the Harrison Prize (UK PSA award for best article), Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship and UBC Killam Research and Teaching Prizes.


The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. The event will be followed by drinks.