News & Events

female nude with Braille text, Leon Ferrari

Kate Noson of UC Berkeley, Oct 22, 5pm, ODE 220

Please join us for this lecture exploring queer sexuality and blind epistemology in Italian literature.

University of Washington Disability Studies Program presents

Speaker: Kate Noson

Title: “Other limits and other borders”: The Queer Country of the Blind in Gabriele Pedullà’s “Miranda”

Date: Thursday, October 22, 2015, 5:00pm

Location: Odegaard Library 220, University of Washington

Access information:

The room is wheelchair accessible. Please do not wear any scents. ASL interpretation and CART captioning will be provided.

To request another disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email

Abstract & bio:

In this lecture, Noson theorizes literary “transability” as an appropriation of disabled modes of being and knowing, to read Gabriele Pedullà’s story “Miranda” as an expression of anxiety regarding both queer sexuality and blind epistemology.

Kate Noson is Lecturer of Italian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, where her fields of research are disability studies, modern Italian literature, and gender and sexuality studies.

Full description: At the intersection between disability theory, Italian literature, and gender and sexuality studies, in this talk, I theorize a literary form of “transability,” by which nondisabled characters temporarily appropriate a given impairment as a means to enlightenment, vis-à-vis the experience of “disabled” ways of being and knowing. The lecture focuses on Gabriele Pedullà’s short story, “Miranda” (2009), as one instance of this phenomenon, where Miranda’s blindness is portrayed as acting to cancel binary divisions, allowing a traversal between categories (male/female, animal/human, heterosexual/queer). The sighted Stefi understands Miranda’s “language” as one that necessitates corporeal contact, and thus, blindfolded, she simulates Miranda’s blindness, giving her access to a new mode of knowing that is grounded in the tactile as opposed to the visual. Inseparable from this epistemological shift is a sexual awakening – a relation that stems from a conflation of various types of “reading” – both literary and sexual. Embedded within Pedullà’s story is an anxiety about border crossings, which stand in for the boundaries between disabled and nondisabled, heterosexual and queer. The crisis of identity that ensues following Stefi’s experiment leads her to question the reality of her own experience, as well as the possibility of a blind or disabled mode of knowing. 

Capitol Hill crawl ADA protest

Open House in the new DSP offices!!

Fri Oct 9th, 4-6pm, in Smith 017 & 019. All are welcome! Access info

Hi everyone,

We're hosting an OPEN HOUSE in the new Disability Studies Program offices!

Please stop by to say hello, check out the new digs, and enjoy snacks and tea.

When? Friday, Oct 9, 4-6pm

Where?! Smith 017 is the DS main office / TA office Smith 019 is Joanne's office

All invited! The same day, the D Center is hosting a welcome party 6-8pm, in MGH 024.  Visit both events for a great evening of disability community building!

Access information for the DSP Open House:

Correction 10/08: We will have an ASL interpreter for this event.

Smith Hall is not kept scent-free.  In the DS offices, please do not wear fragranced products or clothes that have been recently smoked in, for the health and safety of community members with chemical sensitivity or injury.  For more info, go to  We will have scent-free soap available.  There is an air purifier in each office.

The accessible men’s and women’s restrooms are located on the first floor.  The DSP offices are on the ground floor.

Details about where we are located -- how to get to Smith Hall, how to get into Smith Hall, how to get to the ground floor (garden level?) -- can be found here:

Contact me if you have any questions or issues with finding us (, office phone 206-616-7580).

cheers! Joanne

UW Red Square rainy day

Oct 16, Disability Studies Meets Special Education meets Pizza!

Fall's first brown bag talk (12:00) and welcome pizza party (1:15), Fri Oct 16, in MGH 024 RSVP to

The first UW Disability Studies Program Brown Bag Seminar of the 2015-2016 year will be:

Date: Friday, Oct. 16, 12-1pm

Location: Mary Gates Hall 024 (the D Center)

Title: "A Gentle Hijacking: Disability Studies Meets Special Education"

Presenters: Jacob Hackett (UW Education), Kayla Brown (UW Social Work) and Sara Goering (UW Philosophy) discuss their Huckabay-funded project to create a Disability Studies-infused syllabus for special education teachers in training.

The presentation will be followed by a social gathering to celebrate the new year!  Food & drink -- PIZZA!

Friday, Oct. 16, 1:15-2:30pm

Mary Gates Hall 024 (the D Center)

This party is a great opportunity to learn more about the UW Disability Studies Program.  Connect with faculty, the program advisor, and current students and graduates!  Please come visit us on Friday. We would appreciate your RSVP, to Joanne


ASL interpretation and CART captioning will be provided at these events.

Please do not wear any scented products or clothes that have been recently smoked in, for the health and safety of our community members with chemical sensitivity. The D Center is a fragrance-free space.

We will not be able to provide vegan or gluten-free food options at this event. 

To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office, preferably at least 10 days in advance, at: 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), 206.685.7264 (fax), or email

Contact Joanne if you have any questions (

SDS conference: proposals due Dec 1

Consider going to the Society for Disability Studies annual conference in Phoenix!  June 8-11, 2016.

Great opportunity to give a paper & network. And dance.

The deadline for proposals is December 1, 2015.

Conference website:

Theme: Disability in the Public Sphere

The Program Committee of the 29th annual meeting of the Society for Disability Studies invites you to consider the multiple and significant possibilities at the intersections of disability, media, education, and public policy.  Please join us in Phoenix and make your voice heard.


·      Communities and Cultures

·      Critical Design, Media, & Technology Studies

·      Power, privilege and state policies

·      Professional development

·      Translational research in health sciences and disability studies

·      Disability History

We welcome proposals in all areas of disability studies, but especially those submissions premised on this year's theme.

Communities, activists, artists, advocates, students, scholars, and allies—local, national, international—are encouraged to participate in the SDS conference.

NOTE: We strongly encourage full panel submissions (3-4 papers).  Individual paper submissions on any theme are welcomed as well.

Contact for questions : SDSCONF2016@GMAIL.COM

Please go to the conference website for the full CFP with detailed instructions on how to submit your proposal.

DS Graduate Interest Group

Supported by the Simpson Center for the Humanities in 2015-2016. Contact Heather Evans to learn more!

The University of Washington has no graduate-level program for scholars working in the field of critical disability studies (known as disability studies or DS.) Disability studies is a quickly growing field that approaches disability from a social-justice perspective. TheDisability Studies Graduate Interest Group (DS GIG) brings together young scholars from an array of fields—including sociology, social work, public policy, education, law and society, gender and sexuality, rehabilitation medicine, information and technology—to nourish each other’s scholarship, build an intellectual community, and support graduate student publication in the field.

The group has three main functions. First, it serves as a writing accountability group. Participation from students at differing stages of their graduate careers and from different departmental homes enrich the ability of participants to draft, workshop, and polish publication-worthy manuscripts targeted toward interdisciplinary academic journals. Second, in addition to building networks laterally among graduate students, the group works to increase vertical networking opportunities through quarterly interactive Skype sessions with leading disability studies scholars throughout the country. Lastly, the group partners with UW Disability Studies faculty to organize a symposium at the end of the academic year to engage with the larger DS community on campus and in our region to strengthen the existing undergraduate DS program and promote the intellectual mentoring of our senior colleagues.

Riva Lehrer portrait of Neil Marcus

DIS ST 430: Disability in World Literature

Check out this great new AUT course!

DIS ST/LSJ/CHID 430: Disability in World Literature
T, Th 10-11:50

This course explores the human experience of disability as represented in novels and stories from the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. What strategies do authors deploy to contain, complicate and challenge cultural preconceptions of the disabled body? How does disability intersect with other major identity categories, such as sexuality, nationality and race? Relying on the work of literary critics as well as Disability Studies scholars, we will examine how disability signifies through the written word. Authors include Leo Tolstoy, Salman Rushdie, Katherine Dunn and Alina Bronsky. All readings in English.

CFP: Critical Disability Studies, Popular Culture Association conference (Seattle, March 22-25)

Deadline for proposals: Oct 1, 2015. Questions? contact

CFP: Critical Disability Studies, Popular Culture Association conference in Seattle, March 22-25, 2016.

Proposed panels in Critical Disability Studies:

Panel I: 25 years of Implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  Papers are sought that deal with the American with Disabilities Act 25 years after its implementation. Papers with a focus on policy, but also with different approaches are welcome. What are the achievements and the failures of the Act (or of American society), and how are these represented, and by whom? How does policy need to be reshaped, changed, adjusted to improve implementation. Can it be done so as to forward greater rights for all Americans? And what is the impact of the Act on other, foreign jurisdictions?

Panel II: c. Film and Media and Disability. Papers are sought that look at the representation of disability in film and media. Is there any noticeable shift in such representations, do individual cases give us any particular insight into this area of study? Has disability simply become one of the flavours of the month, only to be pushed underground by the reality show trend, no matter the prominence the genre might seem to provide? Is disability simply “normal,” and somehow normative? What do films and media tell us about our understanding of disability?

Panel III. Codifying Disability Practice: Institutions and the Ever-Changing World of Disability. Papers are sought that examine how institutions codify disability practice. How this practice is shaped, by whom, to what ends, and what is to be gained or lost by creating policy blueprints that might, at least superficially, appear to advance the rights of those with disabilities.

Panel IV. Disability and Health Care. Papers are sought that look at, examine and present findings on the interaction of disability and health care. Do the two work well, could they work better? What is lacking for that to happen? Does disability need to disable health care in its present state, and make it work better? Or vice versa? Or should the two work together, but apart?

Panel V. The Culture(s) of Disability. Papers are sought that examine the culture(s) of disability. Is there one disability culture still? What are the disability cultures, and how do they mingle? Is there a disadvantage to disability cultures, a profound loss if there is no monolithic (or otherwise fashioned) disability culture?

Panel VI. Theory of Disability. Papers are sought that look at the theory of disability, and examine where the field is placed in relation to a number of other fields that seek, among other actions, to secure basic human rights for individuals who have faced and still face discrimation.

Panel VII. Autism. Papers are sought that look at the various representations of autism, as well as papers that look at the challenges to the autism community, and to society as a whole, as it both learns and shapes autism into a social code for discussing interpersonal relationships at work and in private.

Panel VIII. Mental Health/PTSD/CPTSD and Disability. Papers are sought that examine the connections between mental health, PTSD, CPTSD, and disability. How are the disability community, and the mental health community, dealing with the growing awareness about PTSD and CPTSD? Are there ways these communities can create synergies, are there ways that they impede each other? What is the current, and changing view on the connections between mental health and disability?

To submit your paper proposal for any of these panels, please go to:

 If you should have any comments or questions, please feel free to email me at:

Thank you, and please forward this to other interested colleagues.

Claude Desmarais

Job posting: D Center

Deadline: August 30, 2015. UW Hires website: Search for "Counseling Services Coordinator" at the HUB, Req # 123789.

This is a part-time position advising/ coordinating student programming at the UW D Center (The UW's Deaf and Disability Cultural Center). Please forward to anyone you think would be interested.

The D Center Advisor will support D Center operations and staff while collaborating with other D Center workers and affiliates to develop and fulfill the mission of the Center. The D Center serves as an umbrella organization intended to support the growth and success of students and to enhance the visibility and engagement of disability experiences on campus. These diversity focused activities enhance the University’s cultural efforts and student leadership opportunities for Disabled and Deaf student populations. The D Center strives to create an inclusive, accessible space affirming of all bodies, minds and identities by fostering a culture of social justice and pride.

Req #:123789


Job Location:Seattle Campus, Mary Gates Hall

Posting Date:08/18/2015

Closes On   08/30/2015

Salary: Salary and benefits are competitive. Salary is commensurate with qualifications and experience. 

Limited Recruitment:
Limited Recruitment Other:on and off campus 

Notes:As a UW employee, you will enjoy generous benefits and work/life programs. For a complete description of our benefits for this position, please visit our website, click here.

The Husky Union Building (The HUB) has an outstanding opportunity for a part-time 50% Counseling Services Coordinator. 


Coordinate, advise, and assist D Center student staff with programming, administrative functions, daily operations, and budget management.  

Coordinate and assist in the development and implementation of programs and services designed to enhance the intellectual and leadership development of students.  

Collaborate with and serve as a liaison with other campus entities including but not limited to: Disability Resources for Students, Disability Studies, Deaf Studies, HUB Student Activities Office, ASUW, GPSS, and the Services and Activities Fee Committee. 

Advise students with a student-centered approach to advocacy focusing on the D Center’s goal to empower students. 

Ensure that D Center programs and operations are in compliance with applicable campus, federal, and state policies, rules, and regulations (e.g., personnel, budget, risk and liability, contracts). Ability to interpret and outline intent of policies and procedures to staff and volunteers. 

Provide training and evaluation of student staff and leaders.  Advise staff in program development and implementation including the use of services and facilities on campus.  
Advise and serve as liaison with on- and off-campus programming entities and assist with preparation of programming contracts and agreements. 

Coordinate and assist with promotions, outreach, and awareness. 

Create a training curriculum for staff, volunteers, students and UW community members.  Supervise volunteer activity coordination.  Track volunteer hours. 

Advise supervisors about trends, issues, and concerns related to the Disabled and Deaf student community. 

Perform budget analysis and collect program data to evaluate programmatic impact. 

Maintain and update historical records and files related programs and services. 

Prepare reports and statistical data as required by the Services and Activities Fee Committee and Student Life. 

Related/other duties as assigned.


A bachelor’s degree is required. 

Two to three years substantial and demonstrated experience working with the Disabled and Deaf community, preferably in a higher education setting. 

A high commitment to and experience with coalition building, outreach, and advocacy around multiple marginalized communities. 

Experience with helping students navigate large systems and the systemic issues that might result. 

Demonstrated leadership in development of new programs.  Interpersonal and communication skills to work effectively with a diverse group of students, faculty, and staff.    

Equivalent education/experience will substitute for all minimum qualifications except when there are legal requirements, such as a license/certification/registration.


Fluency in American Sign Language. 

Knowledge of universal design and social model of disability. 

Knowledge of assistive technologies for people with disabilities. 

Knowledge and understanding of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the ADA, and other pertinent federal and state laws that provide for an accessible higher education experience for disabled students.

Condition of Employment:

Appointment to this position is contingent upon obtaining satisfactory results from a criminal background check 

Application Process: 
The application process for UW positions may include completion of a variety of online assessments to obtain additional information that will be used in the evaluation process.  These assessments may include Work Authorization, Criminal Conviction History, Cover Letter and/or others. Any assessments that you need to complete will appear on your screen as soon as you select “Apply to this position”. Once you begin an assessment, it must be completed at that time; if you do not complete the assessment you will be prompted to do so the next time you access your “My Jobs” page. If you select to take it later, it will appear on your "My Jobs" page to take when you are ready. Please note that your application will not be reviewed, and you will not be considered for this position until all required assessments have been completed.

f2-logo.pngThe University of Washington is a leader in environmental stewardship & sustainability, and committed to becoming climate neutral.

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 / 206-543-6452 (tty) or

Aug 24 extended deadline: Fall 2015 TAships in Introduction to DS

August 24th application deadline for Teaching Assistant positions.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Positions in Disability Studies


LSJ / CHID / DIS ST 230 Introduction to Disability Studies

Lectures on Mon. & Wed. 10:00-11:20, and quiz sections on Tues. & Thurs.

Date available:

Autumn Quarter 2015

Application deadline:

Monday, August 24, 2015, 5pm

General duties:

1.     Attending all lectures.

2.     Leading quiz sections (format will usually be discussion of readings and lecture materials).

3.     Reading all course materials.

4.     Holding office hours and responding to email from students.

5.     Grading all assignments submitted by the students in your quiz sections and maintaining grading records.

6.     Attending regular meetings with the instructor.

7.     Optional: prepare and deliver one or two lectures.

Hiring criteria:

Graduate students in any discipline with a background in the academic field of disability studies are encouraged to apply.


Salary is commensurate with academic standing, qualifications, and experience.

How to apply:

If you are interested, please send a one page description of your experiences in teaching, research, and disability studies, your curriculum vitae, and the name/contact information for a faculty member who knows your background and skills.  Applications should be sent to Joanne Woiak at by Monday, August 24, 2015, at 5pm.  Notification of decisions will be made by Sept. 7.

Application inquiries may be made with:

Joanne Woiak, Disability Studies Program,


These appointments are dependent on final funding allocation.

This job classification is governed by a negotiated labor contract and is subject to union shop provisions. For information:

The University of Washington is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact the Disability Services Office at 206.543.6450 (voice), 206.543.6452 (TTY), or

2015 Harlan Hahn and Dennis Lang award winners

Congratulations to these people who were awarded grants through the UW DS Program

The Dennis Lang Student Award is given annually to a student who embodies Dennis’s spirited commitment to and academic excellence in the field of Disability Studies.  The winner of the 2015 Dennis Lang Student Award for Disability Studies and Activism is Tash Hansen-Day.  Tash served as this year’s Outreach & Programming Coordinator of the D Center and is graduating this spring with their major in Disability Studies.

Harlan Hahn Endowment Fund Disability Studies grants 2015

1. Tiffany Woelfel, student pursuing both Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health, & Megan Roake, undergrad majoring in Psychology and LSJ

They will create a pilot program for a monthly student group that would provide a safe space for students to come share their stories, ask questions, or add input to how we can create a more inclusive campus and support one another as students with disabilities surviving sexual assault. One outcome would be to create a list of recommendations for campus stakeholders on ways to meet the needs of students surviving campus sexual assault with disabilities. They would present a poster about this project at the Society for Disability Studies and submit an article for publication in an academic journal or as a blog post. 

2. Michael H. V. Nguyen, 2nd year medical student

He will present two posters to the American Public Health Association annual conference, discussing disability representation in health education about prenatal genetic testing, and addressing access to family planning services. Attending this conference will allow him to meet and network with people in the Disability Section, doing work in disability and health. His contributions will help medical professionals gain a better understanding of how genetic testing and access impact people with disabilities

3. Yonas Seifu, Master of Business Administration student

He will write and present his journey as disabled person over the past 8 years. Yonas writes: “My young career trajectory was abruptly paused by a stray bullet that penetrated a window and a wall to strike me in the back of the head, leaving me critically wounded. During the months and years following my injury, I had to relearn how to speak, read, and write through intensive therapy. … Being disabled, immigrant and African American male has given me some powerful insights.” He plans to present his story and writing at various scholarly venues and brain injury support groups, and develop his work through discussions with these groups.

4. Marcella Ascoli, undergraduate majoring in Science, Ethics, and Behavior at UW Bothell

Marcella will conduct an ethnography of public parks in the King County Area, that will include producing photos, maps, and interviews with disabled users about accessibility beyond ADA guidelines. The project will result in a paper and an interactive online map to evaluate the accessibility of parks. 

5. Kai Kohlsdorf, PhD student in GWSS

He will present work from his dissertation “Re-Signfying Sexuality: Towards a Trans Disabled Erotics of Care” at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference and next year’s Society for Disability Studies conference. Kai’s project sits at the cross-sections of Queer Theory, Trans Studies, and Disability Studies, and pushes these fields to engage more deeply with one another through a focus on sexuality as a process of demedicalizing “deviant” bodies and through an engagement with erotic performance.

6. Heather Evans, PhD student in Sociology and Project for Interdisciplinary Pedagogy (PIP) Teaching fellow at UW Bothell

She will present her paper “Uncovering: Disability Stigma and Identity Management” at the SDS conference this month in Atlanta. Her dissertation uses phenomenological and discourse analysis techniques to unpack the meanings of ‘disability’ among adults who have acquired non-apparent or episodic impairments through chronic illness or injury.

7. Carrie Griffin Basas, completing her M.Ed. in College of Education in Education Policy, and starting PhD in College of Education’s Social and Cultural Foundations program

Her project is titled “The Pain of Difference:  Quieting the Un-American and/or Disabled in Seattle’s Schools through Corporal Punishment.” The focus of her dissertation will be how categories of disability were constructed historically within the school system, and to what extent those demarcations were based on immigration status and race. She writes: “The hidden curriculum of education and its sorting mechanisms teach us a great deal about whose lives matter and what values we expect schools to transmit.  The first step in this project is an inquiry into how corporal punishment, as a form of de facto citizenship education in Seattle Schools has been used historically to quiet and conform disabled and racialized bodies. To what extent were special schools in Seattle used to expand categories of disability and to enforce control and conformity over minority residents’ bodies and minds, particularly around issues of citizenship?”

8. ET Russian, physical therapist UW Medical Center

The grant will support the research phase of their current project, an installation piece titled Casting Shadows. They write: “Casting Shadows is a multi-sensory video installation piece of short comics portraying stories of people with disability and chronic illness. Each short video will feature pen/ink illustrations with text captions, edited with a soundscape. The collection will include approximately seven video comics in total, each roughly three minutes in length. I will exhibit the work as an installation piece in a variety of venues including art, public, and academic spaces. As an installation piece each video will be projected onto various surfaces within the exhibition space. The intent is to create the sense that there are multiple people in the room having a cultural conversation that the viewer is invited to witness. I was drawn to create this piece because story telling is vital and the disability experience is characterized by isolation. People living with disability and chronic illness are commonly thought of as individuals with problems, rather than members of a social minority who share a rich cultural experience and social history.”

9. Sherrie Brown faculty, Research Professor, College of Education, Adjunct Research Professor, School of Law, Associate Director, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

Project titled “Youth with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and Juvenile Justice: Investigating the Special Education Connection in Washington State.”  She will conduct research, write a paper, and deliver a presentation at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. The project will involve data collection necessary to help explain why youth with disabilities are disproportionally incarcerated in juvenile facilities.  Additional information is being collected through a qualitative study of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) of youth with I/DD currently incarcerated in one juvenile facility in Washington.  With information from both the quantitative and qualitative research, changes can be proposed to ensure that instead of punishing youth due to their impairments, we deliver supports and services appropriate to their needs so that they are not criminally institutionalized.