The Society for Disability Studies Irving K. Zola Award

The Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies is given annually for a scholarly paper in disability studies suitable for publication that is written by an emerging scholar or scholars. Founded originally by the late Professor Zola’s colleagues at Brandeis University, this annual award recognizes excellence in research and writing that shares the values and commitment to disability studies exemplified by Irving K. Zola’s life and scholarship. 

Application information is typically posted and circulated late in the year of the award and submissions are due in the early winter months of the following year.

The Society for Disability Studies 2021 Irving K. Zola Award Winner

The Society for Disability Studies is pleased to announce that Cora Segal has won the 2021 Irving K. Zola Award for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies for her paper “Against Productivity & Liberal Pity: A Case Study in Prison Abolition & Disability Justice.”


Cora Segal (she/her pronouns) is a first year Master’s student in Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work examines how state and capitalist violence such as borders, policing, prisons, and colonial occupation create what is considered a normative body-mind. As a scholar-activist of disability justice and racial capitalism, she is particularly interested in anti-capitalist, anti-state and abolitionist disability politics and resistance.

Portrait of Cora S
Cora, a fat white woman with brown medium-length curly hair and glasses. She is wearing a brown snakeskin-print top over a white turtle-neck top. She has a blue beret on.

Previous Awardees of the Irving K. Zola Emerging Scholar Award

  • 2020: Lezlie Frye (Honorable Mention: Hangping Xu)
  • 2019: Robin Roscigno
  • 2018: Michael E. Skyer (Honorable Mention: Sona Kazemi and Patrick Smyth)
  • 2017: Lydia X. Z. Brown, (Honorable Mention:
    Sara Acevedo and Alyson Patsavas)
  • 2016: Krystal Cleary, Renee Mullaney, Jean Fanzino
  • 2015: Priya Lalvani (Honorable Mention: Sonya Loftis)
  • 2014: Amanda Cachia (Honorable Mention: Jessica Waggoner)
  • 2013: Cassandra Hartblay
  • 2012: Jina Kim
  • 2011: Bethany Stevens
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