Grad Research: Disability History in Canada

PhD Student Sandy Barron is focusing on disability history in Canada – an emerging field that is exploring not only the experiences of people with disabilities, but also how disability challenged and changed social and political life for everyone.

“People with disabilities and Deaf people were at the forefront of developing educational and social institutions that we now take for granted, both as recipients and political activists,” said Barron.

Barron is looking at how the politics around education of youth with sensory disabilities (such as deafness and blindness) were more local than national, and very influenced by American models.

“I am also interested in the emergence of Deaf communities in Brandon and Winnipeg – specifically in histories of labour in the printing industry, and how Deaf people advocated for their own political inclusion,” said Barron.

Barron’s article The World is Wide Enough for Us BothThe Manitoba School for the Deaf at the Onset of the Oralist Age, 1889-1920 was published recently in the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies.

“The paper argues that oralism – which means banning sign language in schools and teaching speech/lip reading – was not implemented at the Manitoba School for the Deaf until much later than other Canadian and American schools,” said Barron.

Read the full story on the Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs site.