Introduction by series curators Shanna Katz Kattari and Stephanie L. Kerschbaum

Person wearing a white mask and giving a thumbs up
Person wearing a white mask and giving a thumbs up
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash

Over the past few decades, disability rights and disability justice movements have helped support disabled and chronically ill individuals claim disability as an identity and set of lived experiences, not simply a diagnosis. In turn, more and more people are claiming this identity, connecting in communal spaces of all kinds, and working towards dismantling ableist concepts. However, there are still incredible challenges surrounding disabled identity for faculty members in the academy, despite the benefits of having disabled faculty on campus. For example, many of us have been told to downplay or even not disclose our identities and experiences when feasible in order to get a job or tenure, have experienced high rates of ableist microaggressions (as well as explicit ableism), and have dealt with extreme tokenization while simultaneously fighting for basic accommodations to be made for our bodyminds. …


By Susan Mahipaul and Erika Katzman

Neon sign on a side of a building, “time is precious”
Neon sign on a side of a building, “time is precious”

Resisting Ableism and Redefining Work: A Conversation Between Allies

We are two critical disability scholars who came together to talk about ableism through our embodied experiences in academia. Despite having remarkably similar qualifications, one of us secured a tenure track faculty position and the other remains precariously employed as a sessional lecturer (part-time instructor). One of us is visibly disabled and the other is not. Both of us are impacted by expectations of (hyper)productivity in our academic workspaces: our workloads are assigned by task without clear indication of the time we are expected to contribute; lunch hour meetings are the norm; we always seem to be squeezing in another task, extending workdays well beyond a conventional 9–5; and the boundary between weekday and weekend easily erodes as deadlines appear on any day of the week. …


By Katta Spiel

Small children sitting on a classroom floor as a teacher reads a book
Small children sitting on a classroom floor as a teacher reads a book
photo by CDC on Unsplash

In 2016, I attended a major conference in my field for the first time. I was early in my PhD studies and while I was involved in founding a group advocating for self-representation of chronically ill and disabled academics, I was somewhat shy to disclose my own discussions with my immediate colleagues within the field. The conference held a so-called ‘Diversity and Inclusion Lunch’. …

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National Center for Institutional Diversity

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