Deficit-Laden Use of Constructs in Anti-Oppressive Curriculum


  • Vonzell Agosto University of South Florida
  • Ashley White University of South Florida
  • Maria Migueliz Valcarlos University of South Florida


Dis/Ability Curriculum Communications Rhetoric


In this paper, the authors draw from critical disability scholarship (narrative prosthesis) and communications (intersectional rhetoric) to interrogate and illustrate how anti-oppressive curriculum advances deficit-ladenenss associated with dis/ability. They categorize deficit-laden constructs as negatively or positively oriented. Negative oriented constructs used to advance racial justice (i.e., color-blindness, color-mute, dysconscious racism, racial dyslexia) remind people not to be (blind, mute, dysconscious, dyslexic) racist. Positive oriented constructs (i.e., standpoint theory, voice, visible or non-visible disability) privilege ways of being, sensing, and expressing resistance to oppression using unimpaired abilities. The authors offer spectral curriculum theory based on materialist criticism to intervene in the deficit-laden use of constructs in anti-oppressive curriculum.