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Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship

The Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship honored the life and scholarship of Chris Bell, disability scholar and activist, former Society for Disability Studies president, and co-founder of the SDS People of Color Caucus.

It was funded for 5 years by a generous anonymous donor, this award is no longer available. However, the work it funded and Chris Bell’s work which it celebrated continues to impact us all to see more broadly and more deeply. We list it here to honor that work.

In his article “White Disability Studies” (published in the Disability Studies Reader, editor Lennard Davis) Bell makes a strong case for including issues of race within the field of disability studies. His essay “To Act is to be Committed” discusses the challenges of activism with/in the academy. Chris’s work explored issues of race, disability, AIDS, illness, class and sexuality.

At the time of his death in 2009, he was an ARRT Fellow at the Center for Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies at Syracuse University. The Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship seeks to support people of color and non-white racial minorities doing scholarly work in the field of disability studies with preference for those whose work aligns with Chris’s commitment to intersectionality, identity politics and activism.

The Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship is funded through the generosity of an anonymous donor who shares Bell's commitment to diversifying both SDS and disability studies. The scholarship carries a member-match requirement. If you share Bell's vision as described above, consider making a donation that enables SDS to match donor funds.

The Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship will not be awarded this year as we are not having a conference.

Previous Chris Bell Memorial Scholarship Recipients:

  • 2015: Jina Kim (Honorable Mentions: Washington Opiyo and Akemi Nishida)
  • 2014: Nookayaju Bendukurthi (Honorable Mention: Geoffrey Wilson)
  • 2013: Haydee Smith (Honorable Mention: Tania Xalitla Ruiz-Chapman)
  • 2012: Vandana Chaudhry and Aimi Hamraie (Honorable Mentions: Jagdish Chander and Eloise Tyler)