Award Announcement: 2018 DHA Outstanding Book Award

The DHA board would like to congratulate Sarah F. Rose, winner of the 2018 DHA Outstanding Book Award for No Right to Be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840s-1930s (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2017).

No Right to Be Idle rose to the top of a highly competitive group of submissions. Committee members had the following praise for Rose’s work:

It “is a much-needed examination of how ideas about bodily difference and productivity became linked during the nineteenth century, and an exploration of the contradictions inherent in the suggestion that disability meant an inability to perform labor – most importantly… in the ways that figures of authority called for the institutionalization of apparently unproductive disabled people, but at the same time reinvigorated economically-strapped institutions by giving them unlimited access to the unpaid labor of these ‘unproductive’ inmates. In this way, such unpaid labor stopped being work and became, instead, therapy.”

No Right to Be Idle “ably tackles one of the big themes of disability — its connection to the labor force — and gives us a fundamental recalibration in how people with disabilities were labeled and pushed out of the labor force rather than having ex ante impairments that made them ‘unfit’ laborers. It shows the malleability of the disability label within historical context.”

The 2018 Honorable Mention has been awarded to Molly Ladd-Taylor for Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017). Committee members offered the following praise for Fixing the Poor: “This book clearly and powerfully argues for a reconceptualization of the history of American eugenics, one … focused on the practical needs and desires of impoverished, institutionalized people themselves.” It “ties eugenics to broader welfare state policies.” “Carefully researched and powerfully argued!”

Congratulations to Sarah Rose and Molly Ladd-Taylor!

CFP: Special Issue on Disability and the History of Education (History of Education Quarterly)

“Disability is everywhere in history, once you begin looking for it,” Douglas Baynton has written, “but conspicuously absent in the histories that we write.” This special issue of History of Education Quarterly on Disability and the History of Education will render disability history more noticeably present in the field of educational history, building on and expanding beyond existing scholarship on the topic. The editors plan to publish 4-5 scholarly articles with an introductory historiographical essay by the two editors.  

We are interested in proposals from any national context, transnational proposals, and proposals from any period of history. Proposals may address disability in any of the countless places it may be found in educational history–in schools and other institutions, families, informal educational settings, art, music, and literature, and in the metaphors that help to structure culture and society. 

Topics may include, but are not limited to: 

  • The history of special education: its structures, legislation and case law, finance, teachers, curriculum and pedagogical methods, and technological aids.

  • Approaches that follow the “new disability history” and take up disability as a justification for inequality along lines of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other identities; or, as a common metaphor for incapacity, incompetence, or brokenness in education.

  • Biographical studies of people with disabilities in educational contexts: pupils, teachers and other professionals, children and adults. Disability history as a means to showcase the widest possible interpretation of disability in people’s lives, so as to portray people with disabilities in history as much more than mere diagnoses and labels but as historical actors in their own right, who encounter and make change, and who, as often as not, face barriers arising not from any physical incapacity they may have, but from the ways that societies, institutions, and individuals have historically dealt with people with disabilities

  • Scholarship that employs the history of disability in education to inform practice or policy in the present, or to intervene in contemporary debates.

  • Case studies of history of institutions or movements—disability historyin the classroom; in the formal and informal lessons in hospitals, community institutions, and higher education; in the consciousness-raising spaces of political movements.

  • Scholarship that draws on a “critical disability studies” approach in the social sciences, more traditional social histories, or other work from the range of theoretical or methodological traditions and approaches of the discipline of history.

Submissions and deadlines

Article proposal (2-3 pages), or an abstract (500-750 words) are due December 1, 2018. All  proposals or abstracts received will be workshopped with the special issue editors.

Please send proposals or abstracts to Kate Rousmaniere ( and Jason Ellis (

The deadline for selecting complete papers is August 15, 2019.  Articles received by this deadline will be sent out for peer review.

The editors will select 4-5 articles from those that successfully pass peer review in January 2020 and selected authors must return their revised or edited manuscripts by June 15, 2020

The special issue will be published as the November 2020 issue (Vol. 60, no. 4).

Submissions should follow the guidelines established by HEQ. For author guidelines refer to

Please submit complete papers through

Please address inquiries about this call for papers to Kate Rousmaniere ( and Jason Ellis ( General inquiries about the journal HEQ should be addressed to

Disability History Association Graduate Travel Grant

Disability History Association Graduate Travel Grant

As part of our commitment to promoting the work of disability historians at all career stages, the Disability History Association (DHA) is proud to invite graduate students to apply for our semi-annual conference travel award. The award is meant to support travel to professional academic conferences and is not restricted by geographic location. The fellowship committee will award up to two graduate student applicants $250 (US) each to support attendance at conferences between September 2018 and August 2019. The Association will cover expenses in currencies other than U.S. dollars if necessary.

To apply for this scholarship, applicants should provide a one-page (roughly 250-word) letter outlining when, where, and what kind of conference they attended or plan to attend. Applicants should clearly explain their reason for wanting to attend the conference and what benefits they received or anticipate receiving from the experience, especially benefits relating to their work in disability history. For example, a candidate may have been accepted to present a paper on a disability history project or may want to interview for jobs at the conference; another may want to do both or may want to learn more about subjects presented that relate to their own work in disability history. Please explain with as much detail and clarity as possible how the conference attendance intersects with the broad field of disability history.

This year’s award covers the period from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019. The first deadline for applications is October 20, 2018, which covers conference attendance between September 1, 2018 and February 28, 2019. A second deadline for applications is March 1, 2019, which covers conference attendance between March 1, 2019 and August 31, 2019.

Applicants must be members of the DHA in order to receive this scholarship. To learn more about membership, please visit

Awardees will be announced on the H-Dis listserv. In accepting the scholarship, winners commit to writing a brief reflection (500-750 words) about the conference that will be shared with our membership.

Please send applications to Professor Susan Burch: