Applying Universal Design Principles to a Digital Humanities Project: Further Information

Poster session at Digital Humanities 2011

Project overview

Our work combines digital humanities expertise with the important insights of disability studies in the humanities, an interdisciplinary field that considers disability “a way of interpreting human differences,” in the words of Rosemarie Garland-Thomson. Digital knowledge tools that assume all end-users approach information with the same abilities risk excluding a large population of people.

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composition / pedagogy / disability

A somewhat general request: I need pointers to extant scholarship on composition pedagogy for vision- and hearing-impaired students. And if that scholarship takes a historical view as far back as the nineteenth or eighteenth century, I would be especially interested.

Some (hopefully not confusing) background to my question:

  1. The South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind (SCSDB) is quite literally right down the road from my house. Spartanburg, SC is a small enough town that I happen to be friends with the former director of that school, Sheila Breitweiser, and have had an informal conversation with her over coffee about writing and disability, which fueled my curiosity and enthusiasm.
  2. The archives of the SCSDB go back to the mid nineteenth century, and I’d like to embark on a scholarly project using those archives.
  3. The results of that project could be some combination of the following:
    1. a historically-grounded article on the development of composition pedagogy for such students;
    2. a digital archive of the materials currently housed in that analog archive (and perhaps contributed to the state-wide project);
    3. a “best-practices” framework for creating digital archives with the needs of vision-impaired users in mind.
  4. My initial interest in these issues was sparked while in graduate school, when I worked with Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (and several others, while she was a fellow at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities) on developing “DISC: A Disability Studies Academic Community”
  5. I’m fairly new to the fields of composition and disability studies.
  6. My background is in orality/literacy studies and eighteenth-century studies, and I see this as a logical extension of that background as well as my digital humanities training.

Any advice or feedback would be much appreciated!