Careers: Disability History Association and recent dissertations on disability

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In random googling of the net, I came across the Disability History Association. I've never heard of them, but they going to have their 121st annual meeting, so they must have been around for a while. Interesting sections of their website include their Teaching Resources and recent publications.


It seemed that almost all of the recent dissertations were on U.S. history or European history. I'm not sure how they came up with that list. Some poking around in Proquest / UMI reveals a huge number of dissertations with 'disability' as a keyword. Limiting it just to "disability" as a keyword and "anthropology" as a subject (for some reason, UMI didn't properly restrict to just anthro, but included related and very quasi-related ones), narrowed it down to a couple dozen.

For your viewing pleasure, here is an abbreviated list. It'll give you an idea of who is doing what where:

Communication across ability-status: A nexus analysis of the co-construction of agency and disability in Oman by Al Zidjaly, Najma, PhD GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, 2005, 334 pages AAT 3167998

Class consciousness, disability, and social exclusion: A relational/reflexive analysis of disability culture
by Gorman, Rachel Jean Katharine, PhD
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO (CANADA), 2005, 275 pages
AAT NR02595

From corporeal Bantustans to Abakhubazekile: Disability and identity in South Africa from a human rights perspective
by Laclave, Martha Mary, PhD
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, 2005, 213 pages
AAT 3189685

Parental perceptions of mental retardation as a disability: A case study of Cali, Colombia
by Cuadros, Jose Hermann, EdD
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY TEACHERS COLLEGE, 2002, 176 pages
Not Available from UMI

Adolescents living with physical disability/spina bifida: Towards a phenomenological ethnography of experience
by Kinavey, Christine Marie, PhD
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN FRANCISCO, 2002, 232 pages
AAT 3051044

Disability lore in the United States Virgin Islands: 'She was sorry for someone who was killing a goat'
by Schrader, Claudia Veronica, EdD
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY TEACHERS COLLEGE, 2002, 152 pages
AAT 3052913

Living with physical disability in the Amish community
by Huntt, Douglas Carl, PhD
THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, 2001, 157 pages
AAT 3011078

A cultural understanding of disability in regard to conceptions of disability and attitudes toward disability and toward persons with disabilities: A Korean-American perspective with biblical, theological, and missiological implications
by Kim, Hong-Deok (Daniel), PhD
REFORMED THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY, 2001, 295 pages
AAT 3002993


Disability rites: Constructing American disability culture
by Rosa, Christopher J., PhD
CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK, 2001, 288 pages
AAT 3008867


Development assistance from American organizations to deaf communities in the developing world: A qualitative study in Jamaica
by Wilson, Amy Terra, PhD
GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY, 2001, 269 pages
AAT 3038023

Race, class, and disability: Noncompliance and patient-staff relations
by Alexander, Carrie Kathleen, PhD
MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY, 2000, 175 pages
AAT 9985346

People first: Voicing disability, embodied identity and social policy in Ontario
by Epp, Timothy Dale, PhD
YORK UNIVERSITY (CANADA), 1999, 346 pages
AAT NQ43422


A cross-cultural, qualitative study of childhood physical disability in Finland, Haiti, and Latvia: Views from parents, professionals, and the community
by Grinde, Lisa Renee, PhD
VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY, 1999, 187 pages
AAT 9936698


Bodies of difference: Experiences of disability and institutional advocacy in modern China
by Kohrman, Matthew Karl, PhD
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, 1999, 354 pages
AAT 9936208


Medicines for madness: Suffering, disability and the identification of enemies in northern Nigeria
by Casey, Conerly Carole, PhD
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES, 1997, 277 pages
AAT 9818133


Two schools that weren't on my previous list showed up: Michigan State University and University of Toronto. Interesting.

Rachel Gorman's sounded great, so I pulled the abstract:


The concept of ‘social exclusion’ is central in the current theoretical and policy-related literature on disability. I problematize the use of this concept as a common-sense way of understanding disability oppression. I argue that disability oppression can be understood by examining how forms of consciousness and objectified knowledge mediate disability as a social category. My analysis of disability theory is framed by two concepts. First, I approach political consciousness as a quality related to a social group, rather than as the sum of individual ideas held by members of the group. Second, I am concerned with the dialectical relationship between theories and the social reality in which people think and act. I ground my analysis in theatrical works by members of a Toronto-based group of artist/activists with disabilities. I do not consider this group as representative of disability activists. Rather, following Dorothy Smith, I use the particularizing work that organizes this group's consciousness as a focal point for uncovering the relations of ruling through which disability oppression is organized. The group as a group becomes my entry point for an inquiry into collective, rather than individual, consciousness. My theoretical/methodological framework is based on Dorothy Smith's standpoint theory and Himani Bannerji's relational/reflexive method of social analysis. I consider testimony as a way of bridging what Smith calls the ‘line of fault’ between embodied experiences and objectified knowledge about those experiences. Through an analysis of autobiographical accounts, I discuss disability oppression in terms of the Marxist concept of ‘alienation’. I argue that the concept of ‘social exclusion’ functions as an ideology that obscures the social relations of exploitation and imperialism. I contend that social inequality organized through disability relations should be understood as an expression of class contradiction, rather than as a result of the exclusion of a particular category of people from society. My challenge to the field of Disability Studies is that we must develop a theory of disability oppression that includes an explanation of how class contradiction, expressed on a global scale through war, scarcity, and environmental destruction, causes thousands of people to become disabled on a daily basis.


p.s. My dissertation doesn't show up because I didn't include the word "disability" as a keyword. :-) Let that be a lesson to you all!
[Read other articles on Careers in Anthropology on Photoethnography.com]

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I've recently gotten several e-mails from people interested in graduate programs in Deaf Studies or Disability Studies within Anthropology. I've come up with the following list to help people narrow down their choice of schools. It's still very tentat... Read More

1 Comments

Hi! The Disability History Association started in 2004, I believe (I'm on the board, at-large member). I compiled that list of dissertations pretty much the way you describe--noodling around on the DAI, doing searches that would get me historical dissertations on disability (broadly defining both history and disability). It only included 2005 dissertations, since it was compiled in the spring, so I think it's time to do an update. I do wish DAI was a better source for non-English-language doctoral works.

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This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on August 31, 2006 6:28 PM.

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