The new Journal of Critical Study of Communication and Disability is paving the way for open, global communication built on equity.
The work of scholars, educators, clinicians and researchers studying communication and disability sometimes reflects hidden biases that reflect racism, ableism, heteronormativity, sexism, classism and Eurocentrism. In addition, various methods and styles of communication used by people from different cultures and identities are sometimes unfairly judged or seen as abnormal by others who may not understand or appreciate these differences without pathologizing or deeming them strange. To recognize and respect the diverse ways people express themselves and communicate, Adelphi University Libraries created the Journal of Critical Study of Communication and Disability. The first issue was published in May 2023.
The first scholarly journal to be published through the University Libraries’ new open access digital publishing program, it serves as a platform for generating new knowledge based on principles of fairness, justice, inclusivity and decolonization and encourages interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary discussions. Following its launch, plans are to publish it twice yearly, with the next issue planned for Fall 2023.
According to Reem Khamis, PhD, professor and director of Adelphi’s Neurophysiology in Speech-Language Pathology Lab and the journal’s managing editor, it is a “scholar-initiated project that was conceived from a collective desire to create a space that brings together scholars, educators, clinicians and community members interested in promoting transformative research, policy and practices related to critical examinations of communication and disability as they intersect with race, gender, class and other sociopolitical constructions.”
The Speech, Language, Hearing Scientists Equity Action Collective (SLHS-EAC)—eight faculty members around the country from marginalized groups—came up with the idea for the journal in September of 2021. The SLHS-EAC then got approval and assistance from the dean of libraries at Adelphi, Violeta Ilik.
The new journal implements principles of equity, justice, inclusivity and decoloniality and dismantles all forms of “-isms” in the way that people communicate, explained Dr. Khamis, adding that the most important factor in a manuscript’s review is its contribution to critical understanding of communication and disability.
“We intentionally built in processes to encourage and support scholarship from authors who are often marginalized by mainstream academic publishing,” said Betty Yu, PhD, professor at San Francisco State University. The journal is as much a space for building community as it is a venue for expressing ideas—as symbolized in the JCSCD logo, which is designed to convey “our wish to ignite ideas, to illuminate paths, to fuel activism and to burn down barriers.”
“We frequently hear from other scholars that JCSCD has ’caught fire’ because so many of us have finally found the intellectual home and family we have been seeking,” Yvette Hyter, PhD, professor emeritus at Western Michigan University said.
Christopher Barnes, PhD, assistant professor and digital publishing librarian at Adelphi, noted, “[We] were able to publish a first issue that demonstrates the need for such an interdisciplinary journal and the groundbreaking work being done in the area of critical studies of communication and disability.” Dr. Khamis concluded, “Colleagues are writing to us with such excitement about having this venue—some comment on how they were looking for a venue that is appropriate for their work, and now they have it.”