2021-2022 Board of Directors
The Board of Directors is a group of members of SDS elected to serve three-year terms; an election is held each year to replace vacated seats as terms end. All members of SDS are eligible to vote and to be nominated to run for a seat on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors includes an Executive Committee of several officers who take a leadership role on the board. Officers are elected by and from within the members of the Board each academic year.
- Karen Nakamura, Co-President
- Joseph Stramondo, Co-President
- Toni Saia, Vice-President
- David Hernández-Saca, Secretary
- Carol Goldin, Treasurer
- Paulina Abustan
- Vandana Chaudry
- Cassandra Hartblay
- Emily Nusbaum
Student members of the Society for Disability Studies elect two Student Representatives, who are invited to attend the meetings of the Board of Directors. The inaugural 2021-2022 Student Representatives are:
- Shariese Katrell Abdullah
- Preethi Srinivasan
Dr. Karen Nakamura
Development Committee Co-Chair
Karen identifies on the neuroqueer spectrum and as a mad scholar. She does work on disabilities in Japan – her first project was on Deaf politics and sign language movements, then did a book and two films about living in a community of people with psychosocial disabilities.
Communications Committee Co-Chair
Program Committee Co-Chair
SDS Vice President
Toni identifies as a disabled woman with a deep commitment to social justice, inclusion, and equity for all. Her professional work history has involved advocating for a progressive understanding of disability. Toni is currently the Project Leader, Foundations of Inclusion and Accessibility: Building Organizational Capacity in Cultural Institutions with the Museums, Arts, and Cultural Access institutions across NYC. Additionally, she serves as Adjunct Faculty at both the University of Arizona, San Diego State, and Hofstra University teaching both disability studies and counseling courses. In 2019, she graduated from the University of Arizona with her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision. Her dissertation focused on the role of disability cultural centers in higher education, one of the only studies on this topic.
Carol Goldin has spent most of her professional career as an administrator in higher education, primarily in academic program development. She is currently associate dean for assessment at the Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy at Rutgers University. In addition, she actively supports a range of advocacy organizations in the community. Her expertise in developing organizational strengths has grown in tandem with her interest in complex organizations as vehicles for education, for advocacy, and for self-development. In addition, she is deeply involved in interprofessional education and understand the diverse (and sometimes conflicting) needs/interests of different disciplines, as well as the imperative to communicate across boundaries.
Carol earned her PhD as a cultural anthropologist at U Penn, but her professional career has been far from the traditional boundaries of one discipline. In her earliest attempts to combine scholarly love of anthropology with commitment to equal rights and opportunities, She developed a research agenda focused on what today would be called social justice. Specifically, she focused on the intersection of societal norms and the emergent norms that those on the “outside” were developing for themselves. Today even the names of these identities are contested (“gay people,” “the blind,” “the mentally ill,” “the criminally insane”). Much of her own work focused on how individuals chose to identify themselves, and even more importantly to her work, how they formed advocacy groups and lived within organizations to support their own definitions of self.
Carol has been a member of SDS for many years; during those years the conversations have become clearer and more forceful – and the whole field of disability studies has flowered. The tension between advocacy and scholarship continues – but today there are far more ways to express the complexity of these relationships and work through the possibilities.
David I. Hernández-Saca is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). His research agenda is problematizing the common sense assumptions of what learning disabilities (LD) are. He has three lines of inquiry:
- The emotional impact of LD labeling on conceptions of self
- The role of emotion and affect in teacher learning about social justice issues
- Examining violence within the academy against historically multiply marginalized and non-hegemonic scholars at their intersections of power and identities for their well-being and healing.
Overall, Hernández-Saca investigates these three lines of inquiry as they relate to historical equity issues in general education and special education and current national and international movements for inclusive education at the boundaries of traditional special education and Disability Studies in Education.
Awards & Nominations Committee Co-chair
Pronouns: Any pronouns, genderfluid
Dr. Paul/Leena/Paulina Abustan (any pronoun, gender fluid) centers the alternative worldmaking of intersectional disability justice and queer critical race feminists found within elementary school, youth popular culture animated storytelling, and decolonial Pilipinx and BIPOC coalitional activist spaces. Their critical intersectional feminist ethnography dissertation highlighted the ways in which elementary school members participate in alternative worldmaking everyday through building an interdependent community, prioritizing rest, and honoring differences. Their previous research publications showcased the collective alternative worldmaking of transgender and queer students of color activists in higher education along with transgender and queer Indigenous and diasporic Pilipinx community leaders, activists, and educators. Their current and future research gathers stories from sick, disabled, transgender, and queer educators and youth of color of what their dream learning spaces feel like and how dream worlds are imagined within youth popular culture animated storytelling and coalitional Pilipinx and BIPOC activist spaces. Dr. Abustan is a 9th year higher education instructor and is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Western Washington University’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and an Affiliate Assistant Professor of University of Washington, Bothell’s Educational Studies, University of Washington’s Disability Studies, and Highline College’s Ethnic and Gender Studies.
Nominations & Awards Committee Co-chair
Vandana Chaudhry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the City University of New York – College of Staten Island. She came to CSI in 2012 after completing her doctoral studies in Social Work and Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on disability in the Global South, neoliberal governance, culturally and structurally competent practices, and disability justice. Her multi-year ethnographic work explores disability at the nexus of development, globalization and the politics of subject-formation in rural South India, through the examination of microfinance, community based approaches and disability pensions. She theorizes rural disability within the framework of capacity and debility produced through transnational processes of collective precarity, rural underdevelopment, and structural violence, along the intersecting lines of caste, class, gender, location, and the state. In doing so, her work moves away from dominant liberal Euro-American disability and social work paradigms and towards decolonizing disability epistemologies, methodologies and practices from the perspective of the Global South. Dr. Chaudhry has published widely across the disciplines of disability studies, social work, and interdisciplinary social sciences, with her work appearing in Disability and Society, International Social Work, and Qualitative Inquiry, among others.
Her article “Living at the Edge: Disability, Gender, and Neoliberal Debtscapes of Microfinance in India” received the 2016 Affilia Award for Distinguished Feminist Scholarship and Praxis in Social Work. Her work has been supported by the Ford Foundation, National Science Foundation and CUNY, among others. She is currently working on a book project that examines contradictions of neoliberal governmentality for people with disabilities in the context of disability microfinance projects of the World Bank in rural areas of south India. She is also working on a second interconnected project that examines politics of disability assessment, certification and state pensions in light of digital governance and techno-mediated surveillance in India. As a scholar of and with disability, Dr. Chaudhry’s research is oriented towards building knowledge that embraces disability as intrinsic to human diversity, and to promote policies that enable self-determination and full participation for all.
Communication, International, and Development Committees
Pronouns: she/her/hers or they/them/theirs
Cassandra Hartblay is Director of the Centre for Global Disability Studies and Assistant Professor in the Department of Health & Society at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and University of Toronto graduate faculty in the Department of Anthropology and Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies. She is author of the book I Was Never Alone or Oporniki: An Ethnographic Play on Disability in Russia (University of Toronto Press 2020), numerous peer-reviewed research articles, and a past recipient of the Irving Zola Award from the Society for Disability Studies. Recent projects include the #CripRitual exhibition, which Hartblay co-curated with Aimi Hamraie and Jarah Moesch as a project of the Critical Design Lab. She conceptualizes her role on the board as a nondisabled ally working in solidarity, approaching administrative labor as care work (in Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s terms) or administrative activism toward a more just future (as conceptualized by Max Liboiron).
Program Committee Co-chair
Emily’s academic and community-based work is centered in interdisciplinary disability studies and in partnerships with disabled community scholars of color. She currently teaches in teacher education, interdisciplinary DS, and qualitative research methods at a range of universities. Emily has taught undergraduate, masters, and doctoral level courses in DSE, and has collaboratively developed interdisciplinary certificates in disability studies at undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as creating a doctoral strand of courses focused on DSE and critical intersections. She has recently begun consultant positions with universities related to the development of intersectional disability studies and associated coursework. Her current research focuses on the advancement of critical, qualitative research by centering the disabled bodymind and disabled researchers, the ideology of inclusive education, and collaborative, narrative explorations of epistemic violence, which becomes personal violence, in the academy. Many of her efforts have also focused on creating partnerships with community scholars such as Leroy F. Moore, Jr., Alice Wong, and the late Stacey Millbern Park (among others).
DREAM Academic Mentor and Advisor, Shariese Katrell, is a current Rowan University doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership This educational leader, assist and helps expand the knowledge of college students with development dis/Abilities. After serval years of researching students with hidden disabilities, she created the Hidden Disability Alliance in 2016 to ensure awareness and transformational equity. Shariese was a student instructor at William Paterson University for three years teaching Freshman Seminar.
Her primary research interests are universal design, ethnical leadership, diversity and inclusion, intersectionality and gender studies, disability studies, and African American History. Specifically, she is interested in motivational enrichment and faculty development. In 2021 Shariese earned the Rowan University award for Community Diversity and Awareness. Shariese a community activist for Indigenous marginalized groups and a BlackLivesMatter activist. She continues to advocate for individuals with disabilities like herself.
Pain has the potential to spark passion and ignite people to work for change. After experiencing wrathful stigma for being a wheelchair user, I felt the need to formally educate myself in Disability Studies and attempt to change the system from a place of knowledge and strength.
I have had good fortune of growing up all over the world and gain exposure to the cultural and socio-political realities of several countries as an inhabitant, not a visitor. My family kept moving almost every year and consequently, the 12 years of school, I went to 9 different schools in three different continents. I was an accomplished swimmer and cricketer. However, as an active 18-year-old, when an inexplicable accident left me quadriplegic, my sense of identity was shattered in the span of a split second because I began to feel invisible, began to be treated as a non-entity.
While I had always been excellent in academics, I was rejected from joining a long-distance learning program in a reputed Indian University because I was wheelchair user. I was told, “why do people like you even bother? There are no lifts (elevators), no ramps and 15 days of practical classes to attend, so don’t join!” I was heartbroken and lost. However, when I started hearing horror stories of paraplegic women being forced to commit suicide by their own families, I could not keep quiet. I started an NGO by the name “Soulfree” (www.soulfree.org) and started fighting the system.
After some hard-fought battles, I have become perhaps the first woman with quadriplegia to ever gain admission into the PhD program of one of India’s most reputed educational institutions, in its illustrious history.
In the Global South, disability is considered a shame and burden, if not a curse. Women with significant impairments are discarded from mainstream society and forced into a life of subjugation. I feel passionately that the uncensored and explicit truth of their lived experience must be highlighted globally through raw narratives, so that they may raise awareness and enrich the study of disability and humanities as a whole.
My vision for SDS is that it succeeds in reaching deeper into embodied experiences and struggles of the most marginalised and invisible segments of the disabled community, with a special focus on the Global South, as there is a dearth of Raw and Real Narratives from the Global South that reach the international arena.
What I would like to do during my term in the SDS is work as much as possible at the grassroots level to ensure that more and more voices emerge out of the Global South. This means, every child with disability, especially a girl child’s story, becomes valuable and visible in the socio-political prism both national and internationally. Fundamental political and policy level changes can be brought about only through international pressure and by raising awareness in a way that causes a fundamental shift towards the creation of a more empathetic and inclusive society.