The concept of rights is central to disability studies: it reflects the clearest recognition of persons with disabilities as subjects under the law who are empowered to demand, on an equal basis with others, what they are entitled to as an integral part of the human race. This understanding marks a stark shift-and a crucial development-from the historical conceptualization of persons with disabilities as objects who lack reason and ability to make decisions, and hence who cannot be bearers of rights.

This essay may be found on page 158 of the printed volume.

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