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Searching for disability as biodiversity in digitized natural history collections

By Kaitlin Stack Whitney

Rochester Institute of Technology

This module uses digitized natural history and biodiversity collections to explore if, how, and whether disability can be studied in nonhumans as a form of biodiversity.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group Fall 2019 BLUE FMN

Additional materials available

Version 1.0 - published on 27 Mar 2020 doi:10.25334/BC3C-BK60 - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms



In this module, we're reading about, researching, and discussing on disability and bodily difference in nonhumans - and how those representations and discusses reflect back on human values, human bodies, and human cultures. As is true in many of our conversations, the nonhuman is never separate from the implications for humans - how we discuss this topic matters. As a class focused on biodiversity in all its forms, it's critical to remember to respect the experiences, identities, and pluralism of everyone in our classroom and on campus - in alignment with campus policies and the course topic. 

This module includes activities that can be together and discussion based with pre-assignment work at home, partner or small group activities, or completely asynchronous and remote. This module originally was being used in a blended format but then went fully online, remote and ascynchronous for COVID-19 in Spring 2020. This is a module for an upper level / graduate nonmajors Environmental Studies / Science Studies course "Biodiversity and Society" taught by Dr. Kaitlin Stack Whitney. This module has been classroom tested and could be appropriate for a range of courses, majors, and year/grade level- especially with adjustments in the assigned reading.  There's a pre-assignment activity period (could be remote or in class), there's a lab activity (could be remote individually, as is it here- or in pairs together in a computer lab or classroom), and a discussion activity with reading (could be online or together in person). 


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This version is current as of March 2020 for its first classroom deployment. It will be updated once it is taught again, likely in 2021.

Image Source: "White Tiger Variation6" by Fotografik33 - is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Fall 2019 BLUE FMN

Fall 2019 BLUE FMN group image

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