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Election Results

Thank you for your participation in the 2021 election of Board members and student representatives this summer. We are pleased to announce the election of these new SDS Board members who will serve a three-year term:

    • Paulina Abustan
    • Emily Nusbaum
    • Toni Saia
    • Joseph Stromondo

Congratulations to these candidates who will serve for two years as student representatives to the Board:

    • Shariese Katrell-Abdullah
    • Preethi Srinivasan

The Society for Disability Studies Announces Part-Time Opportunities, July 2021

As our organization has grown, we recognize the need to adopt an administrative structure that balances our many different organizational needs with the talents of a larger pool of specialized workers and a larger group of active volunteers. Our new structure calls for several part-time roles, with closely coordinated responsibilities. We are posting three positions:

    • SDS Administrative Manager
    • SDS Website Coordinator
    • SDS Listserv Moderator

Full descriptions of the positions are on this page and can be downloaded here: Society for Disability Studies Announces Part Time Opportunities.

If interested, candidates are welcomed to submit applications for more than one opening. Send application materials or inquiries to SDS Co-Presidents Holly Pearson and Suzanne Stolz. Applications should be submitted by July 16 for full consideration.

SDS Annual Membership Meeting & Virtual Retirement Party, July 30, 2021

The 2021 Society for Disability Studies Annual Membership meeting will be held virtually on July 30, 2021 at 8am(PT)/11am(ET).

The meeting will be followed by a short break, and then proceed with a retirement celebration in honor of Devva Kasnitz and Susan Fitzmaurice at 9:15am(PT)/12:15pm(ET) - 10:15am(PT)/1:15pm(ET).

Both events will be hosted online via Zoom, and the link will be sent to SDS members via email.

ASL and captioning provided by SDS. Please contact cassandra (at) with questions or access requests.

About the honorees

Devva Kasnitz will retire this year from her current position as Executive Director of the Society for Disability Studies. Devva was a founding member of SDS, and became an inaugural board member when SDS was first incorporated as a non-profit in 1986. At that time an early career scholar, Devva received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Michigan in 1981, and subsequently held postdoctoral appointments at Northwestern University and the University of California San Francisco. She has tirelessly promoted disability policy as a consultant, educator, and scholar. In 2013 she was awarded the SDS Senior Scholar Award in recognition of her landmark scholarship and mentorship as an anthropologist doing disability studies. She has served as the Executive Director of SDS since 2016, a role that she has held in tandem with academic appointments in disability studies at institutions including Miami University Ohio and CUNY.

Susan Fitzmaurice joined SDS in the 1990s, and her volunteer labor has been invaluable to the organization. Many members know Susan because for over 20 years she has been a welcoming presence at (the in-person) SDS conferences, greeting people as they arrive and checking in members at the conference welcome desk. Susan - along with her son and fellow member Teddy - can often be found during the conference sitting at the desk surrounded by the T-shirts and buttons that Teddy designs. In addition to her service at conferences, Susan has been running the SDS member email listserv for 22 years, moderating content and coordinating member requests on a volunteer basis. Her work has led to the list we know and value today. She also built the SDS website and worked to establish the SDS membership management system. Susan's technical skills and volunteer commitment to SDS is irreplaceable. Recently Susan has been stepping back due to ill health and handing off her roles to a new generation.

SDS Awards Announcements

We are delighted to announce this year's award recipients. Dr. Brenda Brueggemann is the 2020 SDS Senior Scholar Award honoree. Dr. Lezlie Frye is the 2020 Irving K. Zola Emerging Scholar Award recipient. Dr. Hangping Xu received honorable mention in the Zola Award competition.


Statement in Solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives

The Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) stands in solidarity with the ongoing response by the Movement for Black Lives to police brutality and mass incarceration. We stand with those who take to the streets to protest the systemic racism and white supremacy that enabled the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).

At the core of our organization is a firm commitment to social justice. We recognize that we are complicit in a system that upholds white supremacy, and that silence perpetuates our racist system. We are committed to continuously dismantling those interconnected and global systems of oppression (e.g., racism, classism, ageism, ableism, imperialism, and sexism), and to bring an anti-racist, intersectional, and anti-capitalist lens to our work, as BIPOC live at the intersections of multiply marginalized identities. We recognize that while many of us might consider our scholarship to be a form of activism, we must do more. Black communities are shouldering the risk of their physical, emotional, spiritual, and psychological integrity in fighting anti-black racism in the streets. We unequivocally support the Movement for Black Lives and the many grassroots organizations, activists, protesters, and community organizers who have led the fight on the ground against police brutality and racialized state violence.

At a time like this, many of us are likely to feel overwhelmed with grief and to feel powerless. However, we cannot remain silent nor isolated. We understand that there are different ways of participating, whether it be protesting, educating, giving financial support, and more, and that each and every one of us must contribute in some way. But we must also work together, especially with the most marginalized and vulnerable populations who are putting their lives at risk around the world. There is no more time to wait.

The SDS Board is working on highlighting the available resources created by BIPOC communities, collecting ideas and resources from the field of disability studies, including SDS’s journal Disability Studies Quarterly (DSQ), and building anti-racist action coalitions among disability organizations. We will center BIPOC voices and lived experiences in our programming. We will develop scholarships and grants for BIPOC emerging scholars and activists. The resources linked below offer some initial information on how we can contribute.

The following pieces from DSQ draw critical attention to racism, state violence, and ableism.  The Editors and Editorial Board of DSQ offer this sampling of sources in recognition of the ongoing work of our community members, who demonstrate the utility of disability analysis in our current political moment.  This sampling also underscores the urgent need for more scholar-activist engagements in and coalitions against ableism, anti-blackness, state violence, colonization, and incarceration from local and national to transnational and global contexts.

Racism, State Violence, and Ableism

Susan Schweik, “Lomax’s Matrix: Disability, Solidarity, and the Black Power of 504,” 31, no. 1 DSQ (2011)

Sami Schalk, “Coming to Claim Crip,” 33, no. 2 DSQ (2013)

Heather Rakes, “Toward a Theoretico-practical Accountability to Difference and Relationality,” 33, no. 4 DSQ (2013)       

Nirmala Erevelles, “Thinking With Disability Studies,” 34, no. 2 DSQ (2014)

Michelle Jarman and Alison Kafer, “Guest Editors' Introduction: Growing Disability Studies: Politics of Access, Politics of Collaboration,” 34, no. 2 DSQ (2014)

National Black Disability Coalition, “Developing and Reflecting on a Black Disability Studies Pedagogy,” 35, no. 2 DSQ (2015)

Akemi Nishida, Understanding political development through an intersectionality framework: Life stories of disability activists,” 36, no. 2 DSQ (2016)

Zosha Stuckey, “Race, Apology, and Public Memory at Maryland's Hospital for the 'Negro' Insane,” 37, no. 1 DSQ (2017)

Angel L. Miles, Akemi Nishida, Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, “An open letter to White disability studies and ableist institutions of higher education,” 37, no 3 DSQ (2017)

Eli Clare, “The Ferocious Need for Liberation,” 37, no. 3 DSQ (2017)       

Adria Imada, “A Decolonial Disability Studies?,” 37, no 3 DSQ (2017)

Jordan Jaffee, “Rethinking School Safety in the Age of Empire: Militarization, Mental Health, and State Violence Laura,” 38, no. 1 DSQ (2018)

Carli Friedman, “Ableism, Racism, and Subminimum Wage in the United States,” 39, no. 4 DSQ (2019).

Carrie Mulderink, “The Emergence, Importance of #DisabilityTooWhite hashtag.”  40,  no. 2  DSQ (2020)


Black Lives Matter Resources