Awe of What a Body Can Be: Disability Justice, the Syllabus, and Academic Labour


  • Jess Dorrance University of California, Berkeley
  • Julia Havard Dartmouth College
  • Caleb Luna University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Olivia K. Young Rice University


This article explores the practice of critically and lovingly manifesting access in syllabus construction and examines how axes of oppression shape our classrooms via the syllabus. We are a collective of multi-racial queer and trans disabled academics writing from our personal experiences and our engagements with performance studies and Disability Justice. We argue that the academy must shift from discussions of accommodations to access, surface questions of Disability Justice and teaching labour in graduate school and higher education at large, and offer a series of questions for teachers to examine their approach to disability in their classrooms.

Author Biographies

Jess Dorrance, University of California, Berkeley

Jess Dorrance is a PhD candidate in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies at UC Berkeley.

Julia Havard, Dartmouth College

Julia Havard is a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Theater at Dartmouth College.

Caleb Luna, University of California, Santa Barbara

Caleb Luna is a University of California President's and Andrew W. Mellon Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Feminist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Olivia K. Young, Rice University

Olivia K. Young is assistant professor of Art History at Rice University.