Summer 2020 - GSWS 319 C100

Special Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (4)

Crippin' the Norm

Class Number: 4831

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Distance Education

  • Prerequisites:

    30 units including three units in GSWS or WS or GDST.



A specific theme within the field of gender, sexuality, and women's studies, not otherwise covered in depth in regularly scheduled courses, will be dealt with as occasion and demand warrant.


The dominant way of thinking about disability is as a medical or health “problem” that requires “correction” if possible. This course provides a fundamentally different perspective on disability and challenges these notions at the heart of medical and scientific knowledge, as well as multiple forms of cultural production.

This course is grounded in critical feminist disability studies, which defines disability as a product of relations of power and privilege. Within this framework, disability is not understood as a physical deficit or defect inherent in certain bodies or brains, but as a fictional ‘other’ to the equally constructed ‘norm’ of ability. This perspective provides a way of thinking about bodies rather than describing something that is wrong with bodies.


Through this course, you will:

  • Gain a comprehensive overview of contemporary theoretical perspectives on disability and connect these issues to your own experiences
  • Gain an understanding of the construction of dis/ability and its role as a system of oppression
  • Enhance critical analytic skills and capacity to conduct original research
  • Improve written and verbal communication through exercises and discussions, group project work and assignments
  • Develop creative thinking and intellectual curiosity

You will not learn medical definitions of particular forms of disability. This course offers a critical, cultural perspective on disability and the nature of the body, not a medical, biological or health sciences approach.


  • Weekly Discussions 20%
  • Short Paper 20%
  • Accessible Date assignment 10%
  • Final Paper Proposal 5%
  • Group Project 10%
  • Peer Evaluation 5%
  • Final Paper 30%


Special Topic:  
 "Crippin' the Norm"



About Canada:  Disability Rights (2012), Sienstra.
ISBN: 9781552664629

Cockeyed:  A Memoir, Public Affairs (2006), Knighton.
ISBN: 9780143051855

Centre for Online and Distance Education Notes:

All CODE Courses are delivered through Canvas and internet access is required.

Required Readings listed on the course outlines are the responsibility of the student to purchase. Textbooks are available for purchase at the SFU Bookstore on the Burnaby campus or online through the Bookstore's website.

All courses have an Additional Course Fee of $40

Exams are scheduled to be written on the SFU Burnaby campus at the noted time and date (unless noted as a take-home exam). 
If your course has a take-home exam, please refer to Canvas for further details. 

Students are responsible for following all Exam Policies and Procedures (e.g., missing an exam due to illness).

This course outline was accurate at the time of publication but is subject to change. Please check your course details in your online delivery method, such as Canvas.

*Important Note for U.S. citizens: As per the U.S. Department of Education, programs offered in whole or in part through telecommunications, otherwise known as distance education or correspondence are ineligible for Federal Direct Loans. This also includes scenarios where students who take distance education courses outside of their loan period and pay for them with their own funding, and attempt to apply for future Federal Direct Loans. 

For more information about US Direct Loans please visit and to read our FAQ on distance education courses, please go here:


Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.