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Disability Studies Minor


2017 marks the 10th anniversary of UCLA’s Disability Studies minor. Over the last decade we have grown in the number of disability studies courses offered every year and the numbers of students completing the minor. The Summer 2017 edition of UCLA's College Magazine, which is available both online and in PDF version, highlights our 10 year journey of "Re-defining Normal." We also invite you to take a look at our Anniversary Edition Newsletter, which highlights the last decade and our vision moving forward.


Dear Disability Studies community,

I write with terribly sad news. Dr. Doran George whose contributions to the study of disability and its intersections with LGBTQ studies, whose work inspired a course and an international conference on Disability as Spectacle this past Spring at UCLA, among so many other things, has passed away. Doran’s indefatigable spirit coursed its way through all their projects, lectures, essays and personal encounters. They were a charismatic leader and close confidant in numerous communities, including ours. Doran’s great love and generosity informed all their actions, and at the same time, Doran had the ability to be a shape-shifter, a disrupter, and mischievous thinker, who encouraged us to live our vision, to court discomfort, and in so doing to vibrate with our possibility. If you worked with Doran, or met them, I know you will miss their laugh, and their uncanny ability to surprise us. Alongside you, I will miss Doran terribly.

Victoria Marks
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
UCLA’s School of Arts and Architecture
Professor, Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance
Chair, Disability Studies minor

Campus Memorial: The Doran George Memorial has been postponed until January 2018. For more information, please visit LGBTQ Studies.


With 54 million Americans identifying as disabled, UCLA is committed to graduating leaders who will advocate for a world that values the contributions of all individuals, affirms the achievements and life experiences of the disabled, and celebrates the full range of human potential.

Disability Studies is a groundbreaking field that challenges and changes society’s attitudes toward disability. Led by some of UCLA’s most distinguished faculty, Disability Studies examines the meaning, nature and consequences of disability from a variety of perspectives, including arts and humanities, health sciences, social sciences, public policy, technology, and education. At UCLA, the conversation around disability has shifted: from exclusion to inclusion, from limitations to possibilities..


Disability—whether physical, mental or intellectual—is part of the fabric of universal human experience, and yet it is often regarded as a deficit to be fixed, cured or hidden, with disabled individuals cast as unfortunate victims. UCLA’s robust Disability Studies program is challenging this view, changing attitudes and redefining ‘normal.’

By exploring disability as a social issue, rather than a medically defined condition, we prepare students to use the experience of disability as a lens to re-envision models of access, inclusion, participation, communication, and equality.

The result is graduates with deep insights into the human condition, keen analytical and observation skills, empathy, and capacity for self-reflection—part of a new generation that understands and embraces disability.