The New Paradigm of Disability

Three wheelchair users, Inge Lizdenyte, Lake Kowell, and Don Carney are examining a crab held in Inge’s hand.

It has been forty years since the beginning of the contemporary Independent Living Movement. It was a time when the previously separate groups of people with disabilities began to collectively fight for the respect, and demand the civil rights, enjoyed by mainstream America. There are now the first generation of laws protecting the rights of disabled people. Access to employment, transportation, education, and public accommodations is now mandated by Federal law for disabled people. More than ever people with disabilities are participating in American life. But, the mainstream media barely recognizes that disability is an inherent, integral, and inevitable component of the human experience. Nor do newspapers, television, and movies portray the role that society plays in marginalizing and stereotyping disabled people. More often the antiquated myths and stereotypes about people with disabilities are the norm.

From disabled activists using civil disobedience for social justice to university professors with disabilities researching and teaching disability studies, a new, clearly articulated analysis of the disability paradigm has emerged and is taking root throughout the nation and around the world. This new perspective on the human condition needs to be integrated into mainstream media.

Following on the successful Disability Messenger project of the President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities this bibliography is intended as a catalyst to further articulate, amplify, and promote this new perspective of disability to allies, potential allies, academics, and policy makers and the media. This bibliography is further demonstration of the power of a community defining itself and articulating its members own collective and individual identity.

Katie Murphy

Katie Murphy works at San Francisco State University, satisfying her special interest in higher education while fulfilling her lifelong dream of herding cats professionally. In her off time, and to the concern of her parents and physicians, she does more paid and volunteer work as a freelance audio describer and autistic self-advocate. When she’s not scrutinizing grant proposals or creating tailormade audio description, Katie writes critical and transformative works about speculative fiction from a disability studies perspective. As she applies her two gender studies degrees in her characteristically scatterbrained-but-hyperfocused way, Katie remains unsurprised that she hasn’t been invited to serve on any alumni panels.


Renee Starowicz

Renee Starowicz is a native of Syracuse, New York where her love for morning walks near bodies of water began. She delights in developing multimedia art projects, the effects of bleach on clothes and learning about other folks’ passions. She began studying Critical Disability Studies at Syracuse University and has continued as an educational researcher in the Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education at San Francisco State University and the University of California, Berkeley. Locally, she has worked with the Paul Longmore Institute on Disability for their exhibit “Patient No More.” She enjoys exploring and expressing her experiences of disability, anxiety and PTSD through meditation and creative non-fiction writing.

Fran Osborne

Fran Osborne grew up in a farming family in the UK and loves to grow things and give away seeds. She also loves connecting people who need to meet each other, and thoroughly enjoys her financially precarious career as an independent consultant for museums and cultural organizations. In 2015 she curated two exhibitions with the local disability community: “DIS/PLAY: a disability take-over” at SOMArts in San Francisco and “Patient No More” with the Longmore Institute on Disability at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley. She was an Equity Fellow at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and is a board member of Cultural Connections. She has a BA (Hons) in Typography & Graphic Communication from Reading University and worked as a freelance designer and educator in London before moving to California in 2008. She completed her masters in Museum Studies at San Francisco State University in 2011 and is excited to be starting a Social Justice Residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute in Feb/March 2018. You can reach her directly via

Anthony Tusler, photo by Crissy Pascual

Anthony Tusler

Since discovering the disability community in 1972, Anthony Tusler explains, and enjoys the world through, and from a disability perspective. In his professional and personal activities his goal is to improve the lives of people with disabilities and encourage disability self-determination and culture. Tusler is a writer, photographer, consultant, trainer, and advocate on disability issues. He was the founding Director of the Disability Resource Center at Sonoma State University for 22 years. He co-curated probably the first fine art show, D&A2, that had disability as its explicit subject matter. He has helped to launch a number of non-profits, including the Institute on Alcohol, Drugs, and Disability, Community Resources for Independence, Disability Associates, and the National Center on Disability and Journalism. His photographs are currently featured at the Ed Roberts Campus, Berkeley, and numerous independent living centers across the United States. His photos have been shown at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, Atlanta, SomArts, and the de Young Museum, San Francisco.

For More Information Contact:

Anthony Tusler

ATusler@AboutDisability. com


P. O. Box 1030
Penngrove CA 94951
707 795-0515 voice

Anthony Tusler
707 795-0515

#DisArts #DisArtsBA