According to the World Health Organization, at least one billion people live with some form of disability - yet still all too rarely does theology engage with disability and disabled experience. Often, religious communities fail to consider disability in any depth or beyond a simplistic medical model of individual bodily defect in need of repair, whereas in fact the lived experience of disability is considerably more complex and nuanced than this - and indeed can expand and deepen all manner of theological reflection and religious life. This course introduces students to the key concepts and debates of disability studies, from the different definitional models through to recent developments in crip theory. At the same time, students practice thinking practically about disability theology as they read some of the important texts of disability and religion that have emerged in the past twenty-five years since Nancy Eiesland's field-defining The Disabled God. Questions of definition, of inclusion, of healing and cure, are among the theoretical and theological issues to be explored; while disability is also considered in terms of its practical implications for accessibility, scripture, and preaching.
- Professor: Max Thornton