"Of course higher education is ableist," Jay T. Dolmage expects critics to say of his 2017 monograph Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education (35). While he agrees that ableism is so prevalent on university campuses as to be enmeshed in both architectural and rhetorical foundations, Dolmage warns of the implied dismissal conveyed through such a statement: Why talk about it if everyone knows it's true? Even if academic ableism is admitted as a problem, which certainly is not always the case, is it a solvable one? Moreover, is allocating energy to pose possible alternatives to current academic practice, which will never be perfect by nature of the neoliberal institution, a productive use of time?

In response to these questions, which may appear only rhetorical unless you, reader, have engaged in prior access efforts on your own campus, Dolmage outlines the entwined histories of 'higher' education, 'lower' education, and eugenics. While 'access' and 'inclusion' have seemingly reached buzzword status synonymous with progress, Dolmage argues that the university nonetheless values neoliberal ideals of production that are necessarily reliant on ableism. Rather than remaining vexed by the seeming antithesis of an accessible academy, however, with cautious optimism Dolmage instead proposes actionable plans for readers to interrogate how ableism manifests and functions in their own universities, departments, and classrooms. This valuable intervention is organized into three main sections that are named after iconic architectural design features signifying the shifting rhetorics of access and inclusion on campus: steep steps, the retrofit, and universal design.

First, Dolmage discusses the exclusionary history of academia embodied in steep steps. Steep steps and intimidating gateways emphasize the segregation between who has access to the academy and who does not. Additionally, Dolmage discusses the steps as demarcating the power differential between who studies and who is studied in the university, mapping "the steady pattern of setting up … sites of incarceration [including immigration centers, prisons, psychiatric hospitals, and asylums] in close proximity to universities where one group of humans could be held and studied by another"—with 'study' meaning testing on, lobotomization, and sterilization (50). In contrast, Dolmage connects this normalized framework of eugenics to marriages of university students or alumni that are celebrated for "cognitive homogamy" when "individuals with similar cognitive ability have children" (Charles Murray quoted by Dolmage, 50). Dolmage compellingly cites these examples of pervasive ableism in the academy to pose the questions: "What if higher education constructs both knowledge and disability? What if these constructions rely on one another?" (58).

Moreover, while steep steps are present at the boundary between who is inside and outside of the academy, they also point to the precarious positions of disabled students, faculty, and workers who 'make it' inside, solidifying a system of policing that is, of course, also raced, gendered, and classed to most impact those who are multiply marginalized. Thus, after laying groundwork on the history of eugenics in higher education Dolmage examines the limitations of retrofitted accommodations that are proposed as a remedy for inaccessible campuses. Architecturally, the retrofit is always considered "supplementary" and exposes how disability is treated as an individualized problem; a provided visual example of the retrofit is a poorly designed ramp that is in itself difficult to access, a "defeat device" (76-77). Concurrently, while Dolmage is clear that he does not argue against accommodations, he points out that the accommodation model enables the university to treat disabled students as supplementary, as burdens, as costs. Where a stock list of accommodations require medical documentation and are limited based on what is considered "reasonable" under the ADA, accommodations are positioned as "charity" and "tone-policed" so that students in need of any accommodations must always act fully accommodated, regardless of whether their needs are fully met (80-81).

Dolmage follows this explanation of the accommodation model by honing in on a binary of "imaginary college students"—named "Slow Samantha" and "Super Samantha"—to demonstrate the imposed deficiency of multimodal and multilingual frameworks when they are co-opted to require fluency in all formats rather than grant access via any format. While Dolmage's points in this section are effective, its relative brevity compared to other chapters leaves room for deeper engagement with how the presence of imaginary students for administration and faculty impacts real students—who are somewhat overlooked in this section to focus on neoliberal university rhetoric. As both images resonated with my experiences as a disabled graduate student, I wanted for discussion of the large percentage of disabled students who at some point choose to drop out of higher education due to an inability to maintain performance of exceptionalism mixed almost paradoxically with advocacy burnout, which has been substantially documented on Twitter. Nonetheless, one of the things I most appreciate about the text is its applicability as an advocacy resource for those who need it.

More than accommodations or multimodality frameworks, Dolmage considers universal design to be a fluid, moving approach to access. Universal design, Dolmage argues, "is not about buildings. It is about building—building community, building better pedagogy, building opportunities for agency" (118). While Dolmage does not gloss over the fact that, similar to multimodality, universal design is "becoming a neoliberal industry within higher education" as a way to elide funding accommodation services or erase "specific forms of difference"—in particular, disability and Blackness—Dolmage urges university faculty to actively participate in building strategies that value disabled students and multiple options for engagement in the classroom (140, 136). Bitingly, he informs readers that any of the strategies he proposes in the appendix of his article "Universal Design: Places to Start"—also published online accompanying Academic Ableism—"may endanger other academic values" however, "those values may need to be endangered" (151).

In the final chapter, Dolmage redirects attention to representations of disability in university by analyzing popular films such as House Bunny, Accepted, and Monsters University. While, at surface level, this chapter somewhat gestures away from the urgency of radically reimagining the university, Dolmage chooses to probe at "fantasies of segregation" embedded in the rhetoric of popular culture (155). Interestingly, in this endeavor Dolmage seeks to expose how the selection of films "distills and perhaps even comments on the epistemological nature of disability—or the ways disability might help us to think and move through higher education differently" (179). This analysis of academic ableism in popular culture thus connects to Dolmage's belief that "the classroom is a rhetorical space"—one that "can be reshaped" with that reshaping being a collective responsibility (182).

Clearly more work is needed, but I thank Dolmage for this contribution. As indicated by the title, this text is of use to those seeking contextualization of disability and ableism in the academy. It is essential reading for those of us on the receiving end of academic ableism, who find ourselves angry in precarious positions while anxious about possible complicity, and in need of articulate, effectual catharsis. Two colleagues and I used this source when making an access worksheet for our department where, until recently, disability studies was often skirted around and little discussed. I would have liked more inclusion of direct quotes from ill and disabled students, faculty, and workers—particularly those of color who are multiply marginalized—which emphasizes that this work is nowhere near done. It will be all of us who have to do it.

Academic Ableism is available open access online and downloadable as a .PDF document. Mostly plain language is used with denser, theoretical terms deconstructed throughout. Sensitive content is also generally prefaced by a trigger warning.

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