Society for Disability Studies Logo

Joanne Woiak
Devva Kasnitz

The Society for Disability Studies (SDS) organized a strand of 7 sessions with 35 presenters. Our Friday afternoon panel, Inclusion on Campus: The Role of Anthropology, was featured as an SfAA podcast and on twitter. The other SDS sessions were: Structural Vulnerabilities, Individual and Collective Agency, and the Creation of Care, Parts I & II;Living Well with Disability: Gender, Aging, Care; “Benefits” of Disability and Framing Research; Aging into Dis/ability, Dis/ability into Aging; I’m Not Old! Early Onset Disability Experience.

The Society for Disability Studies is over 400 members strong and growing. SDS promotes the study of disability in social, cultural, and political contexts. Disability Studies recognizes that disability is a key aspect of human experience, and that the study of disability has important implications for culture and society as a whole. SDS publishes the leading multi-disciplinary journal in the field, Disability Studies Quarterly. In the past, SDS has held its own annual conference, but more recently, has begun partnering with other allied professional associations, including SfAA. For the past several years, SDS has partnered with the Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion, and Disability Conference at Ohio State University each April.  (This year, 140 SDS members will give papers at Multiple Perspectives.)  Four members of the SDS Board of Directors and 2 SDS past-presidents (one a founding member who is now Executive Director) participated in SfAA this year. We were delighted at the depth and nuance of the papers presented in our sessions, especially by emerging scholars who are integrating a critical disability studies lens into cultural and medical anthropology.

The Disability Research Interest Group (DRIG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) also convened a business meeting during the conference; SMA co-sponsors the annual conference with SfAA every other year.  A representative for the Disability TIG (Topical Interest Group) of the SfAA also met with other TIGs and the Program Chair for the 2020 conference, Lois Stanford.  At both sessions, discussion focused on:  building collaboration with other interest groups, advocating for more inclusion of disability studies in anthropology, efforts to improve the accessibility of anthropology conferences, and developing session strands for the SfAA 2020 conference.  SDS, in collaboration with the DRIG (SMA) and the TIG (SfAA) will put out a call for a joint strand at the SfAA conference in Albuquerque 2020. The CFP will be posted on the SDS website, along with information about other SDS activities and membership. 

For more information about the DRIG, please see:

For more information and/or interest in joining SDS, please

See you in 2020!

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