“Who raised you?”: Black women’s indispensable conceptualizations of mothering for theorizing and researching DisCrit

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Traditionally, the academic field of special education has resisted critical perspectives. Despite their advanced skills, epistemological approaches, and ways of knowing, special education scholars enacting qualitative inquiry have often described inadequate support from their academic community. In a parallel manner, Black mothering in historical and contemporary spaces, especially in mothering disabled children, has often been dismissed for its valued expertise. This essay is a methodological, theoretical, spiritual, epistemological, and deeply philosophical intervention on the roles of Black mothers in all spaces who grapple with the tensions in the field of special education. The authors build upon Black Feminist epistemology and use Disability Critical Theory as a framework, documenting the journeys of two Black women mother and scholars through duoethnographic storytelling. Realizing that people who are mothering have their own agency and choose what they want to build with the nurturing Black mothers offer, we center multidisciplinary dialogues that lead to deeper understandings of qualitative research methods. Through these exemplars, we highlight how mothering and othermothering, whether through birth, ancestral, or academic kinships, are used to advance ways of knowing about how to best support disabled youth whose futures are pervasively threatened.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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