Talk Description: Learning from Stories of Access Fatigue: Building Interdependence into Pedagogical Design The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the realities of inaccessibility. As the abrupt shift to remote work and
Learning from Stories of Access Fatigue: Building Interdependence into Pedagogical Design
The COVID-19 pandemic has drawn attention to the realities of inaccessibility. As the abrupt shift to remote work and schooling has forced people to operate under conditions of precarity, the problem of inaccessibility—of one’s needs not being met—has become palpable for many. People with disabilities have always operated under inaccessible conditions and yet, it remains uncommon to encounter spaces (virtual or otherwise) where accessibility is a priority.
Universal Design for Learning offers useful strategies for building access into the design of educational spaces and experiences. In this talk, Dr. Konrad will help faculty build access into the design of their educational spaces and experiences by drawing upon firsthand accounts of the daily labor that disabled people have always performed for access. Through an original concept called “access fatigue,” developed from life history interviews with people who are blind and visually impaired, Dr. Konrad names the everyday pattern of constantly needing to help others participate in access, a demand that can be so taxing and so relentless that, at times, access is simply not worth the effort. Dr. Konrad will share accounts from study participants who describe years—if not decades—building the courage to advocate for their own access needs, and still, at times, dis-engage out of a need for self-preservation.
By sharing these narratives, Dr. Konrad will help faculty identify pressures we all unknowingly perpetuate that make the pursuit of access fatiguing. As a solution, Dr. Konrad will propose a pedagogy of interdependence and care, which offers a framework for reorienting norms in educational, professional, and public life. Through a pedagogy of interdependence, disabled and non-disabled people alike can uptake and transfer a structure of habit for access.
Dr. Konrad’s research centers around the question, why is it so hard to communicate about disability? She explores this question at the intersections of Disability Studies and Rhetorical Studies, examining how access is a fundamentally rhetorical phenomenon that we all unknowingly participate in. Dr. Konrad teaches writing courses on rhetoric of disability and accessibility at Dartmouth College, where she is a senior lecturer in the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. Her article, “Access Fatigue: The Rhetorical Work of Disability in Everyday Life” was recently published in College English. She has published other work on rhetoric, disability, and writing in Composition Forum, Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, and Reflections.
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(Wednesday) 12:15 pm - 1:15 pm