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

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 he is a trustee of Disability History Scotland. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Iain is reviews editor for H-Disability and in this respect he is always interested 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.

Kathryn Lawton (DHA Board graduate student member, V.P. of Communications) is a Ph.D. candidate at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. Her dissertation, “Deinstitutionalization and Disability Rights: Policy and Activism in New York State,” uses case studies of the West Seneca Developmental Center and Willowbrook State School, two residential institutions for people with developmental disabilities, to explore the process of deinstitutionalization within the context of social welfare policy and the disability rights movement.

Lindsey Patterson (DHA Board member, Vice President) is an assistant professor of history at Elmhurst College. 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.

Heather Munro Prescott (DHA Board member) is Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. She is the author of A Doctor of Their Own: The History of Adolescent Medicine (Harvard University Press, 1998); Student Bodies: The Influence of Student Health Services in American Society and Medicine (The University of Michigan Press, 2007); and The Morning After: A History of Emergency Contraception in the United States (Rutgers University Press, 2011).Dr. Prescott’s teaching interests include recent U.S. history, U.S. women’s history, and the history of medicine and public health. her research interests include U.S. women’s history, the history of childhood, and, most recently, disability history. Her first book, A Doctor of Their Own, received the Will Solimene Award of Excellence in Medical Communication from the New England Chapter, American Medical Writers Association. You can read her blog, Knitting Clio, here.

Penny L. Richards (Newsletter Editor) is a researcher affiliated with the Center for Disability Studies, University at Buffalo. She earned graduate degrees in Geography (MS, University of Wisconsin, 1990) and Education (Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1996). Since 2001 Richards has co-edited H-Disability, an H-Net listserv for historians of disability. Richards’ research interests include nineteenth-century American families and developmental disability, literary representations of disability, disability and immigration, and parental narratives. She is an art educator, a Little Free Library steward, an active Wikipedia editor, and a member of Yarn Bombing Los Angeles.

Sandy Sufian (DHA Board, Chair), 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 founder of the Global Network of Researchers on HIV/AIDS in the Middle East, co-organizer 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. Sufian is currently working on a project about the history of children with disabilities in American adoption in the twentieth century.

Jordan Craig (DHA Communications Intern)

Shu Wan (DHA Communications Intern)

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