Call for Panelists for OAH 24

The Disability History Association seeks participants for a solicited panel on teaching disability history at the Organization of American Historians conference in April 2024. 

The panel will be chaired by Jenifer Barclay. We aim to create a space for sharing approaches to class design, strategies for crafting accessible and compelling syllabi, and ideas for effective lessons and activities centered on any aspect of American disability history. We hope to highlight diverse perspectives and experiences as well as creative approaches to pedagogy. 

The OAH prohibits participants from appearing on the program more than once, so eligible participants cannot already be participating in another panel at OAH 24. Interested scholars should email a 100-word abstract, a brief biographical statement, and full contact information (affiliation, email, phone, and address) by May 5, 2023 to Sarah Handley-Cousins,

Call for Applicants: Director of Awards (Board of Directors, Disability History Association)

If you want to support, promote, and celebrate the history of disability, the Board of Directors of the Disability History Association (DHA) invites you to apply for the open position of Director of Awards. In addition to participating in the general governance of the organization as a DHA board member, the person in this directorship:

  • oversees the DHA’s portfolio of awards, working with other directors to ensure that these opportunities are advertised, adjudicated, and awarded on schedule;
  • consults with members of the greater disability history community to ensure that the adjudication process is fair, transparent, and relevant to the community’s needs;
  • recruits individuals to serve on award committees; and
  • develops and amends descriptions, policies, and procedures related to awards, as needed.

This is a volunteer, non-profit board position with a time commitment of approximately 2-5 hours per week. Directors serve for three years and, during their tenure, are ineligible for awards sponsored or co-sponsored by the DHA.

Deadline.  The Board will accept applications through the end of Monday, April 10, 2023.  

To Apply.  Please contact with 1) a current CV or resume and 2) a brief letter (maximum one page, please) describing your interest in the position.

Anti-Oppression Commitment.  Individuals from marginalized and equity-seeking communities, as well as community-based scholars and those who are precariously or under-employed, are particularly encouraged to apply. The successful applicant will be elected by the Board of Directors and notified by email.

New DHA Partnership: University of Illinois Press Disability Histories Prize

From the University of Illinois Press:

The University of Illinois Press is pleased to announce a new prize in partnership with the Disability Histories series and the Disability History Association. The Outstanding Dissertation in Disability History prize will be awarded annually, beginning in 2023, to recognize and reward exceptional work in disability history done by early-career scholars.

The winner will receive $1000 and an advance contract with the University of Illinois Press to publish their revised manuscript in the Disability Histories series. The prize award is contingent upon the author’s acceptance of the contract with the University of Illinois Press.

The prize is open to any dissertation written in English and defended within the three years preceding the award’s submission deadline. For the 2023 prize, we will consider dissertations defended between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022. Revised dissertations are welcomed and encouraged. Eligible dissertations may be submitted more than once for this prize.

To apply, please send a screen-readable PDF of your dissertation (or revised dissertation), CV, and cover letter with contact information to Alison Syring ( with the subject line “Outstanding Dissertation in Disability History” by May 30, 2023. Receipt of the application will be acknowledged, and the winner will be announced by September 30, 2023.

Upcoming Workshop: Requesting and Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation

Image Description: The poster contains a white background with two cut spheres composed of graded purple lines in the background. One sphere is in the top right corner and the other, larger sphere is in the centre to the left, with three purple lines in descending order of length on top of it. In the foreground, at the top, there is black text reading “The Disability History Association: Requesting and Writing Letters of Recommendation.” In the bottom right quadrant, there is text reading “Interactive Workshop with Susan Burch and Kim E. Nielsen, Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 2-5pm EST. For more details visit” At the bottom left is a QR code and the bottom right has the logos for Body Language Productions and White Coat Captioning.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023, 4:00-5:00 PM EST

In this interactive workshop, Susan Burch and Kim E. Nielsen will offer guidance on requesting and writing letters of recommendation. The workshop will address the “why” and “how” of content, format, and tone.
Issues spotlighted in this session include common and complicated questions regarding seeking and composing letters of recommendation: 

  • Context
  • Disclosure
  • Pronouns
  • Audience
  • Tips for tailoring letters.

There will be sample materials, checklists, and intentional time for discussion. 

Intended Audience: Graduate students, professional academic historians, colleagues working in history-related fields and institutions. 

Please register by clicking this link. Captioning and ASL will be provided.

Podcast Episode 39 – Black Disability Politics

Guest host Emma Wathen interviews Sami Schalk about her new book, Black Disability Politics.

Episode Image: Cover of Black Disability Politics by Sami Schalk. The words are a faint yellow color set against a black background, with red horizontal bars above and below the title “Black Disability Politics.”

Download mp3 file here.
Download pdf transcript here.

About Our Guest

Dr. Sami Schalk (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Schalk’s interdisciplinary research focuses broadly on disability, race, and gender in contemporary American literature and culture. She has published on literature, film, and material culture in a variety of peer-reviewed humanities journals. Dr. Schalk’s first book Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction  (Duke University Press 2018) argues that Black women writers of speculative fiction reimagine the possibilities and limits of bodyminds, changing the way we read and interpret categories like (dis)ability, race, gender and sexuality within the context of these non-realist texts. Her second book Black Disability Politics (Duke UP 2022) explores how Black cultural workers have engaged disability as a social and political issue differently than the mainstream, white-dominated disability rights movement. In doing so, Dr. Schalk argues that because Black disability politics take on different qualities, the work has been overlooked or misrecognized within disability studies and Black studies alike. Dr. Schalk also writes for mainstream outlets, serves as a board member for Freedom Inc., and once twerked with Lizzo. You can follow Dr. Schalk on Twitter.