Student Perspectives

Melanie Stone (M.A., 2010)

In correspondence in 2018 with Professor Geoffrey Reaume in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program, Melanie Stone wrote the following:

"I continued on at Western University, doing another Masters here in Women’s studies and then staying on for the PhD where I am focusing on the experiences of mothers with disabilities and work/work seeking and workfare using photovoice. I wanted to thank you because after an exhaustive and overwhelming graduate student experience and doing it as a single parent, I got a Vanier scholarship last year for my work. It’s still a little surreal. But you are a HUGE reason why I became a better writer, thinker and critical learner and why I am so committed to social justice. For that reason i think you are also a huge reason why I got that scholarship.

Your work continues to push me to think more critically about the experiences of the past and how they shape our present and future. In fact, I routinely use my Mad People’s history knowledge when I teach Gender, Disability and Sexuality studies here at King’s college in their disability studies program.... I am plugging away at my research now and I find it incredibly rewarding. I’ve become a better writer, better advocate and better social citizen with every new course I’ve taken on. I feel lucky to have had the CDS experience and just wanted to reach out and say thanks!"

Chisomo MsomoChisomo Msoso (M.A., 2016)

My experience as a student enrolled in the Critical Disability Studies, Master of Arts program at York University, helped to broaden my understanding of disability politics, social justice, human rights and advocacy work. The professors were very knowledgeable, supportive, and accommodating, as well as, provided plenty of academic material that challenged students to think critically about disability issues and to make meaningful contributions in these research areas. Moreover, the professors encouraged students to foster a spirit of inclusion and professionalism both in and outside of the classroom. As for my classmates, they were the heart of the program and frankly I could not have made it without their encouragement and support. The classes were very lively and discussions were very informative. Through my peers’ research interest/topics and lived experiences, I learned a lot about emerging disability issues, advocacy work, systemic barriers and the numerous intersectionality’s of disabilities. Learning from others provided me with a wealth of knowledge and encouraged me to be more curious, socially aware and to be disciplined/creative in my own research work and to embody these principles in my personal life and professional career. I thank everyone that made my learning experience enjoyable.

Alexis BuettgenAlexis Buettgen (PhD, 2016)

The Critical Disability Studies (CDS) program gave me the knowledge and experience to strategically work toward addressing some of the most challenging social issues facing people with disabilities and other marginalized and oppressed social groups. I am leaving the program with a strong CV, a wide network of contacts in the scholarly and activist communities, as well as new friends and allies in the fight for social justice. The faculty include those who have helped build CDS as a field of study, as well as those who are working to move the field into its next phase of development. The CDS program faculty actively work to connect students with subject matter experts within and beyond the program and university. In this way, students have a truly interdisciplinary experience that allows us to move into any number of fields depending on our interests and the opportunities before us. I highly recommend this program to anyone who has burning questions about social justice, human rights, social policy and the critical world around us.

Cameron CrawfordCameron Crawford (PhD 2016)

This is a great program! It attracts advanced learners from diverse backgrounds, experiences and interests who are committed to solid scholarship while advancing the reaches of critical theory and enquiry. The program’s own faculty members, together with cross-appointed faculty from York and the Associate and Emeritus faculty members from the US, England, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, are exceptionally knowledgeable about human rights, social justice, social policy and critical theory. They are well-anchored in the principles and practices of critical scholarship, yet approachable, supportive and attentive to the needs of students. The program’s required courses and elective options, together with the collegial, interactive culture of the program, foster students’ personal academic and professional development goals, in ways that are consistent with the broader knowledge and competencies that the burgeoning field of critical disability studies is demonstrating – and requires – in Canada and internationally. It’s a stimulating, challenging and rewarding program. It’s world-class with a first-rate faculty. I highly recommend it.