Twenty-five scholars attended the 2018 Summer Institute “Global Histories of Disability.” They are listed here, together with the title of the projects on which they worked during the institute. This is the printable (PDF) version.

Michael Accinno, Music, University of California, Riverside,
I am a musicologist who specializes in nineteenth-century American history and its intersections with disability, especially blindness. I am working on a book that explores musical training at schools for the blind in the United States and Great Britain, building on the work that I began in my dissertation. I am particularly interested in tracing the transatlantic spread of ideas about disability and education (a recurring theme in my book!), and I am hopeful that the NEH institute’s global emphasis will help me generate new ideas about cross-cultural exchange. I currently serve as an officer in the disability interest group of the American Musicological Society. I am originally from the New York area, and I am a lifelong Yankees fan (sorry, Red Sox scholars!). Pronouns: he/him/his.

Project title: John Sullivan Dwight, Blindness, and Music Education

José Alaniz, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Washington,
José Alaniz, associate professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Comparative Literature (adjunct) at the University of Washington, directed the UW’s Disability Studies Program from 2014 to 2018. He mostly writes on disability representation in graphic narrative and cinema, in 2014 publishing Death, Disability and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond (University Press of Mississippi). Current projects include those related to disability in Russo-Soviet film and in European/US alternative comics.

Project title: Disability in Russian Cinema

Nicole Belolan, Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH), History, Rutgers University-Camden,
I am a historian of the material culture of everyday life in early America. I hold the position of Public Historian in Residence at Rutgers University-Camden. The NEH institute will help me broaden the historical context for my book project (“Confined to Crutches”: The Material Culture of Physical Disability in Early America) and my complementary exhibition and digital projects. The institute will also influence the way I integrate accessibility and inclusion in public history in my programming roles at Rutgers’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities and as co-editor of The Public Historian and digital media editor of the blog History@Work, both published by the National Council on Public History.

Project title: “Everyday Design in Early America: The Case for Gout”

Jason (Sony) Coráñez Bolton, Latinx and Latin American Studies, Amherst College,
I am an Assistant Professor of Latinx and Latin American Studies in the Department of Spanish at Amherst College. I previously was Assistant Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Arizona. I am writing a book connecting Latinx and Filipinx cultural, political, and social formations as a way to both re-conceptualize long standing critiques of US imperialism in the Pacific and to regenealogize it as foundational to our understanding of global disability history. As a disability studies scholar, I’m interested in how imperial and colonial logics have historically relied on a persistent assumption in the cognitive debility of the “native” in order to render occupation and expropriation not only morally just but also “rehabilitative.” I’m very excited to be joining the NEH seminar! I’m looking forward to listening and learning as much as I can in DC. I’m originally from the Philippines but consider myself local in North Chicago. I received my PhD in American Studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. My preferred gender pronouns are he/him/his.

Project title: “The Visual Culture of US Benevolent Rehabilitation”

Project description: My project for the NEH Global Histories of Disability Institute examined how eugenics, evolutionary biology, and scientific racism influenced turn of the twentieth century visual representations of human difference. I argued that eugenics was visualized in political cartoons, ethnological photography, and anthropometrics. What was depicted was a visual economy of racial-cognitive impairment. That is, visual representations of eugenics portrayed “psychophysical ability” in a hierarchized fashion. The political effect of this was making the US project of colonialism of the Philippines a rehabilitative project of racial uplift by first disqualifying Filipinos from the rationality and intelligence required for self-government following their victory in the Spanish-American War (1898). Ultimately, I claim that “cognition” should not be understood a biological capacity that humans have per se. Rather, it is a pliant field of political signification that we can locate historically, from which we can exclude and include entire populations based on racial ideologies.

Ryan Lee Cartwright, American Studies, University of California, Davis,
I’m an assistant professor of American Studies at the University of California, Davis and a former museum professional. My research and teaching examine disability, gender, and sexuality from the spatial and social margins. My first book manuscript, Peculiar Places: A Queer/Crip History of Rural White Nonconformity, is under contract with the University of Chicago Press. My next project will examine the idea of “friendlessness” as it relates to kinship, care, and social welfare. During the NEH summer institute, I plan to develop a transnational American Studies class called “Disability and Social Safety Nets.” I’ve rekindled a love of reading for fun this year, and I’ve been devouring books by Nnedi Okorafor. Pronouns: they/them.

Project title: Reconsidering the FSA Archive: Disability in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, 1938-1943

Rachel Ellen Clark, English, Wartburg College,
I study early modern English literature and teach all British literature classes at Wartburg College, a small liberal arts college in northeastern Iowa. In graduate school, I was trained in the history of the book, but my current monograph on dismemberment is moving me into the realm of disability studies. I also plan to create a new course on disability in literature. As a relative newcomer to these conversations, I look forward to developing my ideas further through this NEH institute. To recharge, I like to play the piano and make pottery, even though most of what I make is still lopsided. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: Islamophobia, Castration, and Dismemberment in Philip Massinger’s The Renegado 

Ashley Elrod, History, Duke University,
I am a historian of early modern Europe, currently transitioning from my last post at Duke University to a new position at Northeastern Illinois University this fall. I’m working on adapting my dissertation into a book manuscript, which examines the legal culture surrounding guardianship, mental competence, and financial mismanagement in early modern Germany. I teach courses on European history as well as a course on U.S. disability history. My goal for this institute is to revise my disability course through a comparative framework that places western disability themes in a global context. I also want to strengthen how I represent disability themes in all my courses, like my existing course units on gender, race, and class difference. I have worked in disability advocacy on campus and in the Independent Living movement in NC. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: Disability in European History, 1350-1950: A Reflection on the Curating Process

Leah Hagedorn, History, Tidewater Community College,
I am a historian of the United States South and teach U.S. history and African American Studies. My students include large numbers of active-duty military members, veterans and people with disabilities. My early-career work was on Jews in the American South and on Walter Francis White, the novelist and NAACP leader. I’m interested in how the fight for civil rights for African Americans shaped the disability civil rights movement in the South, and how the region’s cultural commitment to military service has inflected understandings of disability. I have a strong interest in rehabilitation engineering and policy; for the past 8 years I have served on the professional standards board for RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America. I’m accompanied everywhere by Olsen, a mobility service dog from Canine Assistants. I’ve recently become fascinated by how much more willingly businesses make accommodations for Service Dogs than for wheelchairs, and I am currently writing a paper on Service Dog Access in the 1920s and ‘30s.

Project title: “Nashville Accepted the Dog:” Service Animals in the United States, 1927-1946

Katie Healey, History, Yale University,
I am a PhD candidate at Yale in the Program for the History of Science and Medicine. My dissertation examines hearing, deafness, and audiology during World War II and argues that the war fundamentally changed how Americans listened and heard. Surrounded by medical historians at Yale, I hope to reinvigorate my project with Deaf and disability scholarship through readings and discussions at this NEH institute. I am also deeply committed to Universal Design for Learning and am looking forward to conversations about accessible teaching. I am going on the market and completing a marathon this fall and am terrified of both these things. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: The Din of War: Hearing, Deafness, and Aural Citizenship in World War Two America

Allison Hobgood, English, Willamette University,
I am Associate Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. I work in/on literary and cultural histories, performance studies, and queer and disability theories. I primarily study early modern England and am author of Passionate Playgoing in Early Modern England (2014), and co-editor of Recovering Disability in Early Modern England (2013) and Disabled Shakespeares (in Disability Studies Quarterly, 2009). I am completing a second monograph called Beholding Disability in the English Renaissance. Lately, I’ve started a new project on disability and art activism in Japan. I just served a five-year term on the Modern Language Association Division Executive Committee on Disability Studies.

Project title: “Art and Literature as Disability Activism in Japan”

Bill Kirkpatrick, Communication, Denison University,
I am a cultural historian of broadcasting teaching in the Communication Department at Denison University, and I also teach in the Queer Studies program. I came to Disability Studies through my work on early radio policy (when there was a lot of discussion about radio for disabled veterans). I recently co-edited (with Elizabeth Ellcessor) an anthology, Disability Media Studies (New York University Press, 2017), bringing media studies and disability studies into dialog. I am currently working on a monograph on early radio in relation to health, disability, and the medical profession, which is the project I’ll be bringing into the Institute. Pronouns: he, him, his.

Project title: “The Fourth Body: Embodiment and Biopolitics in Early U.S. Radio.”

Project description: “Radio, as the first communications medium regulated and controlled by the state, occupies a special position in the history of biopolitics. Unlike previous technologies of governmentality, such as schools, hospitals, asylums, prisons, or the family, radio was unable to get at bodies directly or surveil them in space. Instead, the imagined fourth body regulated the other three, became the reference and disciplining mechanism for the speaker, the listener, and the state.”

Maren Linett, English, Purdue University,
I’m a professor of English at Purdue University in Indiana, and I focus on modernist literature (Joyce, Woolf, etc!). My first book focused on Jewishness in modernist literature, and my second, Bodies of Modernism (U of Michigan Press, 2017) focuses on physical disability in modernism. I’ve taught various levels of disability studies classes. My current book project is an exploration of bioethical issues about disability and animality in literature. During the seminar I hope to make progress on an article about what disability studies offers to the “New Modernist Studies,” a contribution to a collection edited by Douglas Mao. Pronouns: she, her, hers.

Project title: “Disability’s Disruptions: Embodiment and the New Modernist Studies.”

Zhiying Ma, Anthropology, University of Michigan,
I am an incoming Assistant Professor at the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago. Trained in cultural and medical anthropology, my first project examines families’ involvement in the care and management of persons with serious mental illnesses in China, focusing on how this involvement is shaped by psychiatric institutions and the country’s recent mental health legal reform. My second project traces the re-emergence of community mental health in China. As a woman with disability, I have been involved in some disability rights advocacy in China, and I am constantly thinking of how to develop a third project to look at this nascent social movement as both an academic and a participant. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: Intimate Institutions: Psychiatry, Family, and the Rise of Biopolitical Paternalism in Contemporary China

Elizabeth McFayden, History, University of Illinois at Chicago,
My background is diverse and includes Anthropology, Native American Studies, Communication Studies, and Theatre. However, the “discovery” of Disability History in my MA program resulted in the pursuit of this newly-found intellectual passion at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where I am a PhD candidate. My interests in disability history include Randolph Bourne and the intellectual history of disability, the study of efficiency and its impact on people with disabilities, and the intersection of masculinity and disability. I am originally from North Carolina but have lived and worked all over the US. Attending this Institute was a life-changing experience for me, having a profound impact on the way I will teach in the future, as well as how I approach disability history in my own work.  Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: Bulga non intellectum

Project description: A spoken word performance based on my experience at this Institute, incorporating the work of several of our guest scholars, and ultimately arguing that the budget as we know it is an able-bodied document.

Yoshiko Okuyama, Japanese Studies, University of Hawaii at Hilo,
I am a professor of Japanese Studies and Linguistics in the Department of Languages at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. My areas of specialization include Japanese popular culture and disability studies, particularly deaf studies. I was ta teaching fellow at Nanzan University in 2014 and was a Japan Foundation research fellow at Kokugakuin University Graduate School in 2017. My publications include a book titled Japanese Mythology in Film: A Semiotic Approach to Reading Japanese Film and Anime (Lexington Books, 2015) and journal articles, Use of Text-Messaging by Deaf Adolescents in Japan (2011, Sign Language Studies) and Semiotics of Otherness in Japanese Mythology (2017, Disability Studies Quarterly). I hope this NEH institute will help me with the final revisions of my current book, Disability in Manga (contracted with the University of Hawaii Press), craft a proposal of my next book about mental illness in Japan, and strengthen my knowledge to contribute to the field of disability studies. I’m a long-term learner of ASL and am originally from Tokyo, Japan. My pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: 1) Disability in Manga; 2) Autobiographical Comics about Mental Illness

Project description: Both are book projects. The former is about the comic book representation of disability with semiotic analysis. Its research was funded by the Japan Foundation, and I am at the final stage of revising the manuscript. The latter is a new book that features the emergence of autobiographical comic titles about mental illness and other similarly stigmatized conditions in Japan. I have secured a grant for research including interviews, archival research, and book purchase. One publisher offered a contract and another is in the process of writing one. I plan to send out a few more proposals until I find the best fit.

Lee Pennington, History, United States Naval Academy,
I received my Ph.D. in Japanese History from Columbia University and have been teaching Japanese History, Asian History, and World History at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, for the past ten years. I also teach a course at the Academy titled “Medicine and War Since 1850” that explores the evolution of modern-day intersections between warfare and medical care. My book Casualties of History: Wounded Japanese Servicemen and the Second World War (Cornell UP, 2015) examines the experiences of Japanese disabled veterans during the first half of the twentieth century. I am currently working on follow-up projects concerning war disability and Japanese society and am beginning a book-length study of civilian medical care in Japan during World War II. My hope is that this NEH Summer Institute will help me to articulate and pinpoint some theoretical ideas concerning war disability both inside and outside of Japan. Nearly a decade ago I served for a brief stint as the Treasurer of the Disability History Association. Pronouns: he/him/his.

Project title: Japan’s Displayable Veterans: War Wounds, Adversity Narratives, and the Shōkeikan

Project description: My project examines the creation and objectives of the Shōkeikan, a museum-archive established in Tokyo in March 2006 by the Japanese Disabled Veterans Association.  I am interested in how narrative strategies used at the Shōkeikan–and employed by Japanese disabled veterans of the Second World War–have affected larger public understandings in Japan of the wartime and postwar experiences of ex-servicemen with cognitive, physical, and sensory disabilities.

Rebecah Pulsifer, English, Kettering University,
I am an assistant professor of English at Kettering University, where I teach classes on biomedical ethics, twentieth-century literature (including modernism), science and literature, and science fiction. I am writing a book on the concept of intelligence and representations of intellectual disability in narratives from the mid-twentieth century. I intend to collaborate with engineering colleagues in developing a team-taught course entitled “Disability and Design.” Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: “Fantasies of Control: Intellectual Disability and Sexual Agency in the Second Wave”

Leah Richier, History, University of Georgia,
I am a historian of death and disability in the 19th-century U.S. South. In 2017-2018, I was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Washington and Lee University, where I taught courses on the U.S. South, Sex in the Civil War, and Death in the Nineteenth Century. In 2018-2019, I will be a Digital Humanities Fellow at the University of Georgia, where I will work on digitizing coroner’s inquests and death certificates. My research is on U.S. Southern state lunatic asylums in the nineteenth century, particularly Georgia and South Carolina. I am writing a book on the “Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum” that focuses on the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on patients and their families in both their lived experiences and their treatment in death. I am particularly interested in the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality with disability and death, especially during and after times of crisis, such as war and emancipation. I am especially intrigued by women’s mental health issues, such as those during or after pregnancy, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder in civilians, soldiers, and veterans. I greatly enjoy reconstructing 19th-century lives and deaths with newly available data, such as asylum admissions, disability pensions, and death records. I love cemeteries, nature/animals, and obsessive amounts of research. I am hoping this NEH institute will deepen my understanding of disability history, provide nuance in my research and teaching with the inclusion of different perspectives, people, and places, and advance intellectual conversations among historians of disability. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: How to Structure Disability History, Or: A Quiet Plea for Help

Octavian Robinson, Deaf Cultural and Creative Studies, Rochester Institute of Technology,
I am an assistant professor of American Sign Language, Interpreting Studies and Communication Equity at St. Catherine University. My Ph.D. is from The Ohio State University in history with fields in women, gender, and sexuality, modern U.S., and African-American. I now teach courses about language, power, linguistic human rights, deaf studies and deaf history, and interpreting. My current primary project is a book about white manhood, respectability politics, and relationships to the state among deaf Americans during the early 20th century. In addition to the book project, I also have a series of articles about disability justice and am developing a primary source reader on global disability histories with a colleague. My pronouns are him/his/he or they/theirs.

Project title: Primary Source Reader for Global Histories of Disability

Project description (optional): Developing a 200-page collection of images and primary source texts for the study of disability across history.

Jennifer Row, French, University of Minnesota,
Jennifer Row is an assistant professor of French at the University of Minnesota. Her publications in the ASAP/Journal, Exemplaria, and other journals focusing on French and English early modern theater, queer and feminist theory, dance studies, and affect theory. In 2016 she was awarded the Solmsen Fellowship in pre-1700 studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her book with Northwestern University Press, Queer Velocities: Time, Sex and Biopower on the Early Modern Stage, takes up canonical tragedies by Racine, Corneille and Dryden to examine the affective speeds and slownesses of queer erotics onstage and the theater’s relationship to governing the time of life. This summer she will be breaking into research for her second book project, The Body Perfect: The Aesthetics of Ableism in the Early Francophone World, which looks at the iterative, aesthetic production of an able body-mind as a particularly racial and sexed endeavor. She has previously held positions at Boston University, the Université de Paris- Sorbonne, and the Lycée Louis-le-Grand. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: “Architecturing the Body: Disabled Veterans in Early Modern France”

Project description (optional): This is a new research project based on an archive I found at the Folger Shakespeare library in DC while attending the NEH seminar. The book describes the architecture of the Hotel des Invalides from 1670, and I explore the ways that the veterans’ bodies are re-incorporated as part of the state glory under the Absolutist Sun King Louis XIV.  How are disabled veterans instrumentalized (in rhetoric, engravings, poems, etc.). Are they treated as inmates or as rehabilitable soldiers? How does the locus of the Hotel in the metropole (Paris) reconfigure their national identities (including many soldiers who come from far-off regions, or even foreigners)? How are different kinds of disabilities classified and treated? What does early modern accessibility look like?

Paola Schiappacasse, Archaeology, University of Puerto Rico,
I am an archaeologist who specializes in the colonial Spanish Caribbean. Currently, I serve as adjunct professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus. I have no prior background in Disability History or Studies. I am attending this NEH institute because I want to develop a course titled “Archaeology of disabilities.” Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: Archaeology of Impairments and Disability

Delia Steverson, African American Literature, University of Florida,
Delia Steverson is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at the University of Florida. Her interests include disability studies, black feminism, and southern studies. She teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in African American literature and disability studies. She is currently working on a manuscript that seeks to formulate a methodological approach of reading African American literature through a critical disability studies lens and she hopes that this institute will give her more of an understanding of the historical background in which the authors she researches are writing.

Project title: The Black Disabled Veteran in Toni Morrison’s Sula and August Wilson’s Fences

Jess Waggoner, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Houston,
I am a postdoc in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Houston where I teach courses in disability studies and queer theory. My current book project, Crip Moderns: Race, Gender, and the Roots of Disability Consciousness in U.S. Literature and Culture, traces how disabled women, queer people, and African Americans used expressive culture to protest their exclusions from disability and health reform in the early twentieth century.

Project title: Race, Gender, and the Exclusions of Psychiatric Narrative

Eileen Wallis, History, Cal Poly Pomona,
I am a historian of late nineteenth and early twentieth century United States history at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (better known as CPP or Cal Poly Pomona). My research focus is on California and the American west during the Progressive era. I am in the early stages of a research project on the institutionalization of disabled Californians between 1880 to 1970 that uses the former Pacific State Hospital in Spadra, CA, as a case study. I am also going to be exploring the possibility of developing a General Education class on US Disability History for my campus. I am from California originally and am happy to be back in California. Pronouns: she/her/hers.

Project title: Who Tells the Story? Digital History and Disability History in the Classroom

Chao Wang, History, University of Chicago,
I am a historian of twentieth-century China and modern East Asia at the University of Chicago, where I am completing my dissertation on the social history of blindness in late Qing and Republican China. It explores the regulation of disability by tracing the endangered economy of occupational communities of blind people (singers/entertainers, fortune tellers, and masseurs), as well as the way welfare systems, medical and social, intervened the everyday lives of blind people through defining visual disability in terms of language (Chinese braille), the body (standardized measurement of vision and its defects) and work ethics (rehabilitation). I look forward to this NEH institute to help me get comparative insights from scholars working on different kinds of disability, historical periods and regions. I am from Beijing, China. Pronouns: he/his/him.

Project title: Blind Singing Girls, Artistic Labor, and Urban Entertainment in Early Twentieth-Century Guangzhou (Canton), 1900-1927

Last updated on September 23, 2018.