There are hard truths we must acknowledge about the presence of disability in academic spaces, including both face-to-face and online spaces. Actually—to restate more accurately—there are hard truths we must acknowledge about ourselves, and the spaces we’ve already built. Access must not be seen as a problem created by or solely applicable to “those people over there”—and, as scholars in computers and writing have shown, the marking of “those people” may pertain not only to disability, but also to class, race, gender, and sexuality.
In this webtext, we’re calling for concrete and immediate changes to academic infrastructures. However, I want to be clear that the changes we’re calling for are not a simple retrofit of academic beliefs and practices which can be added on to our current systems of interaction, production, and assessment. Retrofit is an important concept to grasp when talking about disability studies and digital rhetoric, because quite often discussions of disability in academic culture assume the necessity of retrofitting.