About the DHA

The Disability History Association (DHA) is an international non-profit organization that promotes the study of disabilities throughout history. This includes, but is not limited to, the history of individuals or groups with disabilities, perspectives on disability, representations/ constructions of disability, policy and practice history, teaching, theory, and Disability and related social and civil rights movements.

We define both history and disability widely. This organization is both inclusive and international, reflected in our diverse topics and approaches. Membership is open to scholars, institutions and organizations, and others working in all geographic regions and all time periods.

The DHA offers its members a community of active and interesting historians; access to our resources page, which includes a newsletter, conference information, sample syllabi, a new Zotero library, and helpful links; as well as an opportunity to help build an exciting field.

Board of Directors

Nicole Belolan (DHA Board Member) is the Public Historian at Rutgers University-Camden, where she serves as the Co-Editor of The Public Historian and the Digital Media Editor, both for the National Council on Public History (NCPH). She also directs the continuing education program in historic preservation at Rutgers’ Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities (MARCH). She is a scholar of the history of disability and material culture (objects ranging from crutches and artificial limbs to adult cradles and easy chairs) in early America and is working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Confined to Crutches”: The Material Culture of Physical Disability in Early America, and a complementary exhibition project. She is the author of peer-reviewed and popular publications on disability history and other topics. Nicole earned her PhD from the History of American Civilization program and her MAs in American Material Culture and history, both at the University of Delaware. Nicole is also an avid collector of disability history artifacts from all time periods. She is dedicated to helping everyone interested in history link history practice, outreach, and learning in inclusive and accessible settings. You can find her on Twitter.

Kathleen Brian (DHA Board member and Treasurer) earned her M.A. (2009) and Ph.D. (2013) in American Studies from George Washington University. After completing her post-doctoral appointment as Visiting Professor of American Studies at George Washington, she became, and currently serves as, a Lecturer in Liberal Studies at Western Washington University. Her work has appeared in the History of Psychiatry, the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, and the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Her current book project is titled “Where Ends Meet: Suicide and Eugenics in America,” and her co-edited volume on historical intersections of disability and masculinity is forthcoming from Oxford University Press (2017). She serves as co-editor of H-Disability and H-Eugenics, and has held fellowships with the Pennsylvania Area Consortium for the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine and the New York State Archives.

Susan Burch, Ph.D. (DHA Board member), is a professor of American studies and former director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Middlebury College in beautiful Middlebury, Vermont. She is the author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War II (NYUP, 2002) and coauthor with Hannah Joyner of Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson (UNCP, 2007). Susan’s co-edited anthologies include Women and Deafness: Double Visions (with Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Gallaudet UP, 2006), Deaf and Disability Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches (with Alison Kafer, Gallaudet University Press, 2010), and Disability Histories (with Michael Rembis, Univ. Illinois Press, 2014). Susan also served as editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of American Disability History (Facts on File, 2009). An activist-scholar, Susan enjoys collaborative projects, dancing, and being a member of the vibrant disability history community.

Iain Hutchison (DHA Board member) is a research associate in the Centre for the History of Medicine at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He is the author of A History of Disability in Nineteenth-Century Scotland and of Feeling Our History, and he is lead author of Child Health in Scotland. He has been a board member of the Disability History Association since 2009, and is also is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Iain is reviews editor for H-Disability and in this respect he is always interested to hear from authors about their new books, and from scholars who would like to review books in their areas of expertise. He can be contacted at iain.hutchison@glasgow.ac.uk.

Caroline Lieffers (DHA Board member and Graduate Student Representative) is a Ph.D. Candidate in the History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. Her dissertation, “Imperial Mobilities: Disability and American Expansion, 1865-1930,” examines the relationship between disability and U.S. imperialism in the context of the Omaha Tribe, the Spanish-American War, and the Panama Canal. Caroline has curated a number of exhibits in the U.S. and Canada and published widely on the histories of food, travel, health, and domestic life. She can be contacted at clieffers@gmail.com.

Headshot of Aparna NairAparna Nair (DHA Board member and VP for Communications) is an assistant professor in the Department of the History of Science at the University of Oklahoma-Norman. She received her Ph.D. from the Australian National University. Her work examines disability, race, and colonialism in the Global South. Her teaching encompasses medical humanities, disability studies and disability history. Her first book, Fungible Bodies: Histories of Disability in British India, 1850-1950, is under contract with the University of Illinois Press. She can be contacted at aparna.nair@ou.edu.

Lindsey Patterson (DHA Board member, Vice President) is an independent scholar of disability studies. She received a Masters in Deaf Studies from Gallaudet University and a Ph.D. in History from The Ohio State University. Her research interests on community identity, deaf women, social movements, and disability rights has been published in the Journal of Social History and Journal of Women’s History (co-authored with Susan Burch). She is completing Accessing Citizenship: The Origins of the Movement for Civil Rights and Accessibility, 1950-1973.

Headshot of Sara ScalengheSara Scalenghe (President) is an associate professor of history at Loyola University Maryland. She received a B.A. in Arabic with Persian from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, an M.A. in Arab Studies and a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and North African History from Georgetown University. Her first book, Disability in the Ottoman Arab World, 1500-1800 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2014. Paperback, 2016), won the 2016 Disability History Association Outstanding Book Award, as well as an Honorable Mention in the 2015 British-Kuwait Friendship Society Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies. It examines blindness, deafness, madness, and intersex in early modern Egypt and Greater Syria. She is currently writing a book on disability in the Arab world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In the summer of 2018, she directed Global Histories of Disability, a four-week National Endowment for the Humanities Institute for College and University Teachers held at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. Sara serves on the Editorial Review Board of Disability Studies Quarterly and on the Manuscript Review Board of Review of Disability Studies.

Sandy Sufian (DHA Board member, on leave 2018-2019), PhD, MPH is an associate professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Disability and Human Development at University of Illinois-Chicago where she teaches courses on history of medicine and history of disability. She is also an affiliated faculty member in the History Department. Her research interests include the history of infectious disease, global health, the history of disability, and the history of adoption and the family. She is the author of Healing the Land and the Nation: Malaria and the Zionist Project in Mandatory Palestine, 1920-1947 (University of Chicago Press, 2008) and Reapproaching Palestine: New Perspectives on Israel/Palestine (Rowman Littlefield, 2008). She has published in the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Disability Studies Quarterly, Dynamis, Science in Context, and the Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth. She is the co-founder of the Disability History Mentorship Program, Chair of the Disability History Association, and was the Chair of the Task Force on Disability of the American Historical Association. She is the project director of an NEH-funded project whose aim is to deliver health humanities curriculum in a new, innovative wayShe is also the co-founder of the Cystic Fibrosis Reproductive and Sexual Health Collaborative (CFReSHC), a patient-driven project that works towards establishing a research agenda to improve the sexual and reproductive health and well being of women with CFSufian is currently working on a book about the history of children with disabilities in American adoption in the twentieth century.

Jaipreet Virdi (DHA Board Member) is an Assistant Professor of history of medicine, technology, and disability at the University of Delaware. She received a B.A. from York University, a M.A. and PhD from the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology at the University of Toronto. She is currently completing her first book, Hearing Happiness: Fakes, Frauds, and Fads in Deafness Cures, to be published by the University of Chicago Press. She is also working on three other projects: Objects of Disability, an online resource database of historical artifacts used by, and/or crafted by disabled people; a second book project, From Prevention to Conservation: American Research on Hearing Impairment, 1910-1960, which focuses on collaborative programs that constructed hearing loss as a public health issue; and a co-authored project with Dr. Coreen McGuire on scientific research on deafness, nutrition deficiencies, and breathlessness, titled instrumental Injustices: Women Scientists and the Politics of Disability in Interwar Britain. She is also Contributing Editor of the journal Pharmacy in History and Co-Editor of Communiqué, the newsletter of the Canadian Society for  the History and Philosophy of Science

White woman, early 20s, with shoulder-length brown hair and brown eyes, smiling, wearing bright pink lipstick

Charlotte Schreyer (DHA intern) is a senior at Loyola University Maryland. She is a proud member of Delta Alpha Pi, the national honor society for disabled students, serves on the school’s ADA Advisory Board, and as a member of the Green and Grey Society works to use her position on campus to promote diversity and inclusion. She plans to graduate in May 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Writing with a Computer Science Minor.

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