Core Faculty in the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies
Assistant Professor; PhD, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, PhD, Université de Montréal)
Dr. Agnès Berthelot-Raffard is an Assistant Professor in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program in the School of Health Policy and Management at York University.
Her works focus on Black Health Studies/Black Disability Studies. She analyses the impact of racism and racialization on all dimensions of health and well-being. She also tries to examine the consequences of epistemic injustices in the healthcare system for those who are on the margins. Dr. Berthelot-Raffard is currently leading a Pan-Canadian project on the socio-determinants of Black Students’ Mental Health (funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada). As principal investigator, she is also working on Black women’s reproductive health (with Relais Femmes, a feminist community partner in Quebec).
In her PhD, she analyses the ethical and political stakes on the recognition of caregiving. As a political philosopher, she published several papers about the rights of caregivers, and the ethical aspects of caring for an elderly or someone living with a disability, a chronic illness or a cognitive impairment. She also published feminist philosophy papers on Black feminist epistemology, and about the care workers’ rights in a transnational perspective.
Before joining York, she worked as an advisor in the ethics of research board (Direction de santé publique de Montréal). She taught bioethics, medical ethics, and ethics of public health. She was also an Assistant Professor of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. Knew as an expert of Black feminism, Dr. Berthelot-Raffard created the first accredited university course in the francophone world devoted entirely to this political thought (UQAM, Montreal, Quebec).
Research interests: caregivers’ rights; disability rights; autism and neurodiversity; ageing; ethics of care and vulnerability; impacts of epistemic injustices and racism on health; “coloniality of power” and historical legacies of slavery in the social institutions; intersectionality as critical theory and praxis; mental health; women's health; health equity; socio-determinants of health; ethics of public health; bioethical approaches in critical disability studies.
(Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director, Critical Disability Studies; PhD, University of Toronto)
Address: Room 315, Stong College
Dr. Rachel da Silveira Gorman is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Critical Disability Studies at York University, and an artist working in dance theatre, performance, and curating. Da Silveira Gorman’s research engages theory and method from fine arts, humanities, and sciences. Her writing has appeared in Auto|Biography Studies, American Quarterly, Somatechnics, thirdspace, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. Da Silveira Gorman has created and choreographed 14 dance-theatre and site-specific productions, ten of which have been remounted or screened at festivals.. Since 2009, she has been on the curatorial committee at A Space Gallery in Toronto, where she has curated four exhibitions. In 2017, she received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts for a performance-based research-creation project Year Five of the Revolution. Da Silveira Gorman spent the nineties working in social services and as a feminist and union organizer; and the aughties in anti-occupation organizing and in disability and queer arts scenes.
Research interests: transnational social movements; anticolonial and revolutionary aesthetics; anti-racist disability theory; institutional ethnography and critiques of ideology in corrections, health, community, and social service sectors.
Dr. Geoffrey Reaume has research interests in the following areas: mad people's history; history of people with disabilities; psychiatric consumer/survivor movement; class, labour and disability; archiving the history of psychiatric consumer/survivors; accessible history. His dissertation on the lives of psychiatric patients at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane was published in 2000 as "Remembrance of Patients Past: Patient Life at the Toronto Hospital for the Insane, 1870-1940" (Oxford University Press; reprinted University of Toronto Press, 2009, 2010). Part of this study was made into a play by a local theatre group involving psychiatric consumer/survivors in 1998-2000 and by a high school students' theatre group in 2016. His second book was published in 2007 "Lyndhurst: Canada's First Rehabilitation Centre for People with Spinal Cord Injuries, 1945-1998" (McGill-Queen's University Press). He is also a co-editor with Brenda LeFrancois and Robert Menzies of "Mad Matters: A Critical Reader in Canadian Mad Studies" (Canadian Scholars' Press, 2013).
Research Interests: Mad people's history, history of people with disabilities, medical history, psychiatric patients' labour history, archiving psychiatric survivor and disability histories, labels, terminology, activism and self-identity among psychiatric survivors/consumers, connecting the past with contemporary social justice struggles.
Dr. nancy viva davis halifax is Assistant Professor in the Critical Disability Studies graduate program. She brings interdisciplinary and activist experience to her teaching and research which is located at the intersections of embodiment, difference, debility and disability, and intimate perspectives on violence and biomedicine. She has worked broadly in health research using the arts and documentary, participatory methods with economically displaced
persons in Canada. Her research uses the arts for sustaining and creating conversations around social change, self-determination, social auto/biographies, and for engaging communities in social development, and has been located in community and institutional settings; research has received funding from SSHRC as well as the arts councils. Her theoretical orientation uses the feminisms (new materialisms, crip, poststructural, affect) and experiments with the polyphonic. Her last book "hook" published by Hugh MacLennan Poetry Series, McGill Queen's Press was written to address the ongoing extremity of suffering within Canada, and the systemic violences sustained by those at the margins.
Research Interests: Arts-based research & research creation; crip arts praxis; critical auto/ethnography; body/s and embodiment/s; the more-than-human; theory/s in the feminisms (crip; poststructural; new materialism; affect); language and representation; imaginative ethnographies; social death and abandonment; intimate perspectives on biomedicine and psychiatry; polyphonic and lyrical theory/s.
Dr. Sean Hillier is a queer Mi’kmaw scholar and a registered member of the Qalipu First Nation. He is an assistant professor and York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy & One Health at the School of Health Policy & Management & Special Advisor to the Dean on Indigenous Resurgence in the Faculty of Health. He is Co-Chair of the Working Group on Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous racism in the Faculty of Health and the Chair of the Indigenous Council of York University. Additionally, Sean is a Board Member of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT).
Dr. Hillier’s collaborative research program spans the topics of Indigenous Health Policy & Governance with a focus on understanding Infectious Disease and Antimicrobial Resistance through a One Health approach. He continues to work in the area of HIV research and is an Investigator with the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network. Dr. Hillier has been successful in receiving funding from each of the three federal granting agencies, with more than 10 external grants. He is a Principal Investigator on the Project: One Health Modelling Network for Emerging Infection, this 2-year NSERC funded project will build a modeling network that seeks to enhance early detection, warning, and response to emerging infectious diseases in Canada, using a multi-species, multi-system OH approach. Sean is also a Principal Investigator and Executive Team member on the CIHR funded project entitled: One Health Network for the Global Governance of Infectious Diseases and Antimicrobial Resistance, where he leads the work plan related to equity and diversity. He is also an Investigator and Executive Team member for the SSHRC funded research project: Imagining Age-Friendly ’communities within communities’. Finally, Sean has been involved in the Public Health Agency of Canada funded project to create a national AMR Network to implement the National AMR Action Plan.
Research Interests: Indigenous health; Health Policy; One Health; Indigenous Peoples living with HIV; 2-Spirited & LGBTTIQQA rights; community-engaged research.
(Assistant Professor; PhD in Critical Disability Studies, York University, 2017)
Address: Room 354A, Stong College
Dr. Vorstermans is an Assistant Professor in the Critical Disability Studies program in the School of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Health at York University. Her research makes critical interventions into the field of international experiential and service learning and global citizenship, engaging plural ideas of human rights, disability and equity in our current neoliberal world. She uses Critical Disability theory and the lens of intersectionality to complicate North-South encounters engaging impairment and disablement. Her ongoing work engages community-based research, centers the perspectives and desires of those in the South and takes up equity, critical care in community, disability & North/South relations.
Before this appointment, she held a Postdoctoral fellowship on a large multi-partner longitudinal study at Ryerson University, The Inclusive Early Childhood Services System Project. The project uses institutional ethnography to map the experiences of families of disabled children in the institutional system in Ontario.
Throughout her PhD and as Executive Director of a small international experiential learning organization that is partnered with 10 partners in the Global South, her research has focused on centering the desires and perspectives of those in the Global South who welcome and host Northern volunteers to their small NGOs working in the fields of rights, disability, health equity, the environment and community work. She has deep and long-lasting relationships with these organizations and has collaborated on research with them to understand their experiences. Over the past fifteen years, she has lived, worked and completed research in Ecuador, Cuba, Guatemala, Paraguay, the Dominican Republic, and the Netherlands.
Research Interests: International experiential and service learning and global citizenship; Critical Disability Theory; Human Rights, Disability and Equity; Disability and North/South relations.
Full Members of the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies
Dr. Farah Ahmad is a health service researcher with a focus on primary care settings, psychosocial health, vulnerable communities and eHealth innovations. She applies health promotion and equity perspective in her research to understand and improve health and health care systems. Dr. Ahmad uses mixed-method research designs which range from randomized controlled trials to in-depth interviews, focus groups and concept mapping. Her doctoral students are examining the multi-layered complexities surrounding chronic issues of interpersonal violence, mental health, caregiving, and cancer screening especially in racialized communities. MA students have studied equity across primary care models; eHealth and privacy; cancer screening and risk construction; work and pregnancy among immigrant women; and refugee determination process.
Dr. Ahmad has published extensively with nearly seventy publications. She is recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award; an Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation, and was recognized as a York U Research Leader in 2015. In recognition of her mentorship activities, she also holds Kiran van Rijn Award of 2013 from the CIHR Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research (STIHR) in Health Care, Technology and Place.
Dr. Ahmad teaches GS/HLTH 5404/CDIS 5110 Research Methods Seminar to graduate students in the School of Health Policy and Management.
Research Areas of Interest: Primary care settings; psychosocial health; vulnerable communities; eHealth innovations.
Dr. Melanie Baljko leads a program of research and provides advanced training (via graduate student supervision) in the area of digital media: interaction and experience design (human-computer; human-human mediated by computer) and critical technical practice, with an emphasis on the domains of assistive and rehabilitation technologies. She teaches a number of different courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and is involved in a number of activities within the university and research communities.
Research Interests: Digital media, interaction and experience design (human-computer; human-human mediated by computer), domains of assistive and rehabilitation technologies.
Dr. Mary Bunch is an Assistant Professor In Cinema and Media Arts and affiliated with Theatre Studies, and Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA). Dr. Bunch’s teaching and research interests include interdisciplinary and collaborative critical disability, feminist, queer studies and critical theory, research creation and arts-based methodologies. She works at the intersection of the political imagination and its visual / sensory expressions. Her current project on Ecstatic Freedom engages theoretical, activist, and arts epistemologies as these re-envision the forms that democratic participation, political belonging and justice take. She has published articles in the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies; Feminist Theory; Culture, Theory and Critique; and the Canadian Journal of Human Rights. Dr. Bunch has taught at McGill University, the University of Toronto and Western University.
Research Interests: Interdisciplinary and collaborative critical disability, feminist, queer studies and critical theory, research creation and arts-based methodologies
Dr. Chris Chapman is Associate Professor of Social Work at York University. They are co-editor of Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada (Palgrave, 2014), author of various articles and book chapters relating to disability and mad studies through interlocking oppression analyses, including “Colonialism, disability, and possible lives: The residential treatment of children whose parents survived Indian Residential Schools” (2013), “Cultivating a troubled consciousness: Compulsory sound-mindedness and complicity in oppression” (2013), and “Becoming perpetrator: How I came to accept restraining and confining disabled Aboriginal children” (2014). With A.J. Withers, they are co-author of A Violent History of Benevolence: Interlocking Oppression in the Moral Economies of Social Working (University of Toronto Press, 2019). Their research is concerned with the moral denigrations and material violences of helping profession and state responses to people in distress and/or material need, as well as with how real people navigate these and other violences in attempts to live more ethically.
Research Interests: Imprisonment and disability, mad studies, oppression
Dr. Christo El Morr is an Associate Professor of Health Informatics, the Health Informatics Certificate Coordinator, at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University; he is also a Research Scientist at North York General Hospital, Toronto. His cross-disciplinary research is community based. His research interests focus on Health Virtual Communities and e-collaboration for chronic diseases management.
El Morr is also a theologist and a poet. His poetry celebrates life and love and gives voice to the marginalized, oppressed, and forced migrant. His work in theology relates to love (Eros and Agape) and freedom and the need for resistance to power to protect both. His work in critical theology analyzes the link between social/economic structures, psychology, and contemporary religious thought-and-practices as they manifest among Christians in Arab society. He was one of a small group who exposed institutional child abuse in the church in Lebanon.
He is an Associate Editor of the International Journal of Mental Health (IJMH) and the International Journal of Extreme Automation and Connectivity in Healthcare (IJEACH), and the founding editor of the “Telos Magazine”, a theology magazine with a focus on West Asia and North Africa (launching date: November 1st, 2019).
Research Interests: Chronic diseases management; health virtual communities; decision support systems; readmission to hospitals; eHealth.
Dr. Iris Epstein focuses her research on the relationship between health, technology and place and the effectiveness of knowledge translation strategies for changing practicum placements (sites) outcomes. She is currently the principle investigator (PI) of the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) insight development grant that focus on exploring nursing students who identify with disabilities (SWD) experiences in nursing practicum placements. She also the PI of an interdisciplinary York University Academic and Innovation (AIF) grant that focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of a Smartphone Accommodation Resource Toolbox (SmART) a web-based interactive website for supporting the use of smartphone video app in teaching and learning practice-based skills. At York University, school of nursing, Dr. Epstein teaches graduate and undergraduate research, ethics and practicum based courses. She published both in national and international peer review journals on nursing education; e-learning; assisted technology and participatory design methodology.
Research Interests: students who identify with disabilities and practicum placements (sites); technology assisted learning (accommodation); knowledge translation; e-learning; participatory design; health technology and place; critical geography
(Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Faculty of Health, Echo's OWHC Chair in Women's Mental Health Research, York University; PhD, Wayne State University)
Address: York Lanes, 270G
Research Interests: Mothering children with developmental disabilities; refugee health.
Dr. Thomas Klassen is a Professor in the Department of Political Science, and School of Public Policy and Administration at York University. His research interests include the politics of aging, age discrimination in the workplace, disabilities in the workplace and labour market, perceptions of people who stutter, treatment of stuttering, gambling policy.
Thomas is a political scientist and sociologist who teaches about, and writes on, retirement, pensions, unemployment, immigration, gambling, discrimination, and how to ensure students succeed. His teaching is focused on public policy, particularly in labour market policy, income security and retirement.
Dr. Klassen’s has published widely in a number of fields. His most recent book is the co-edited Routledge Handbook of Global Public Policy and Administration published in 2017. He is co-author of How to Succeed at University (and Get a Great Job!): Mastering the Critical Skills You Need for School, Work and Life that was published in late 2015. Read the FREE ebook version HERE.
He has conducted extensive research for local, national and international agencies and governments. At various times he has been called to be an expert witness at tribunals, hearings and commissions. During 2014 to 2016 he was Visiting Professor at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.
Research Interests: The politics of aging, age discrimination in the workplace, disabilities in the workplace and labour market, perceptions of people who stutter, treatment of stuttering, gambling policy.
(Professor, PhD in Community Psychology, OISE/UT 1997)
Address: Room 314C, Stong College
Dr. Marina Morrow is the current Chair of the School of Health Policy and Management. She has a research focus in critical health policy that explores the following themes: 1) Mental health reform, service provision and access to health services, 2) Mental health and social inequity, 3) Mental health, citizen engagement and social justice, 4) Neoliberal reforms, gender and health and, 5) Intersectional theory and approaches in mental health. Before joining the School of Health Policy and Management Marina was a charter faculty member in the Faculty of Health Sciences as Simon Fraser University in BC. Marina is the lead editor of Critical Inquiries for Social Justice in Mental Health, forthcoming University of Toronto Press. Marina’s research strongly supports public scholarship and collaborative research partnerships with community-based organizations, health care practitioners, advocates and policy decision makers.
Research Interests: Critical health policy; mental health reform; service provision and access to health services; mental health and social inequity; mental health and citizen engagement and social justice; neoliberal reforms; gender and health; intersectional theory and approaches in mental health.
Graduate Faculty Membership, Critical Disability Studies
Graduate Faculty Membership, Health Studies
Before joining York University, Dr. Nielsen was a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. From 2015-2017 she was a full-time Instructor in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies also at the U of A. In 2013-2015 she was a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Social Sciences at Quest University in Squamish, BC.
Her scholarly writing has appeared in academic journals such as Disability Studies Quarterly, Mosaic: A Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Literature, Performance Research, Re-public: Re-imagining Democracy, Canadian Woman Studies as well as in literary journals across Canada. Surge Narrows (Leaf Press, 2013), her debut poetry collection, was a finalist for the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Her second collection of poetry, Body Work (Signature Editions, 2018), was a finalist for the Fred Cogswell Award for Excellence in Poetry, a Lambda Literary Award and the League of Canadian Poets’ Pat Lowther Memorial Award. She is the author of the scholarly text Disrupting Breast Cancer Narratives: Stories of Rage and Repair (University of Toronto Press, 2019.)
Research Interests: Health , Arts and Culture, Medical and Health Humanities, Critical Disability Studies, Feminist Queer Crip Cultural Studies, Research-Creation, Lifewriting, Poetry and Poetics
Dr. Gillian Parekh is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University and Adjunct faculty with the Faculty of Community Services, Early Childhood Education at Ryerson University. As a former special education teacher and research coordinator with the Toronto District School Board, Gillian's research interests include critical disability studies, critical analysis of special and inclusive education, structural barriers to education, academic streaming and structured pathways through school, and system-wide trends relating to the social and economic replication of privilege. Her work can be found in the Canadian Journal of Education, Disability and Society, Canadian Review of Sociology and Education Policy Analysis Archives.
Research Interests: Critical Disability studies, critical analysis of special and inclusive education, structural barriers to education, academic streaming and structured pathways through school, and system-wide trends relating to the social and economic replication of privilege.
Dr. Dennis Raphael works in the area of public policy, political economy, and the social determinants of health The most recent of his over 300 scientific publications have focused on the health effects of income inequality and poverty, the quality of life of communities and individuals, and the impact of government decisions on Canadians' health and well-being. Dr. Raphael is editor of Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives, Tackling Health Inequalities: Lessons from International Experiences and Health Promotion and Quality of Life in Canada: Essential Readings, co-editor of Staying Alive: Critical Perspectives on Health, Illness, and Health Care and author of Poverty in Canada: Implications for Health and Quality of Life, all published by Canadian Scholars' Press. Two new books: Immigration and the Modern Welfare State and the 2nd edition of Health and Illness are being published this Fall. He is also co-author of Social Determinants of Health: The Canadian Facts which is a primer for the Canadian public that has been downloaded over 300,000 times from http://thecanadianfacts.org.
Research Interests: Human development; social determinants of health; the quality of life of communities and individuals, and the impact of government decisions on Canadians' health and well-being.
Dr. Mohamed Sesay graduated from McGill University with a Ph.D. in Political Science, specializing in International Relations and Comparative Politics. He is an Assistant Professor in Criminology and International Development Studies, both programs in the Department of Social Science, York University. He is also a UKRI Visiting Fellow at the LSE Centre for Women, Peace and Security where he serves a co-investigator in the Global Challenges Research Fund, Gender, Justice and Security Hub. Mohamed Sesay’s research and teaching interests are in development, transitional justice, international criminal justice, rule of law, customary justice, peacebuilding, and post-conflict reconstruction particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. His works have appeared in African Affairs, International Studies Perspectives, Cooperation & Conflict, and the European Journal of International Security which recently published “Hijacking the Rule of Law in Postconflict Environments” (2019).
Research Interests: Peacebuilding, development, rule of law, customary justice, international criminal justice, Africa, Sierra Leone, and Liberia
BSc (York), MA, PhD (Toronto), MFA (OCAD), Associate Professor (Law and Society).
Address: Room S730A, Ross Building
Research Interests: Socio-legal knowledge production; material, experiential, and conceptual conditions of order/disorder, discipline and transgression; Colonial institutions (law, science, education) and processes of institutionalization; the archive; madness and ‘mental illness’; politics of difference; dangerous art, graffiti and representation; visual, experimental and post-qualitative methodologies; research-creation and arts-based praxis; anti-colonial epistemologies and pedagogies; and practices of narrative inquiry.
Instructor Members of the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies
(PhD, Critical Disability Studies, York University)
Brendon Pooran teaches Critical Disability Law at York University, is the Past-President of Community Living York South and is a founding director of PLAN Toronto. He is also a lawyer member on the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board and provides performance management solutions to organizations in the human services arena.
Brendon D. Pooran is the founder of and a principal lawyer at PooranLaw. He is involved in most areas of the firm’s practice and regularly provides advice to individuals, families, organizations and government in the areas of: wills & estates planning; disability law; and corporate law for not-for-profit and charitable organizations.
Brendon has been involved with various disability organizations as a member, volunteer, employee or director for most of his life. His practice, which is primarily built around disability issues, is inspired by the challenges people with disabilities face throughout their lives. He created Pooranlaw to provide support to this community and to serve as a resource for accessibility issues throughout Ontario.
Prior to founding PooranLaw, Brendon worked for a large multi-national law firm where he practiced labour and employment law and at a boutique law firm that specialized in accessibility issues. Before entering the legal profession, Brendon spent several years as a management consultant where he regularly provided strategic advice to human services clients in the United States.
Research Interests: Disability law
Adjunct Members of the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies
(PhD in Management 2014, McGill University)
Dr. Fatou Bagayogo currently does research projects examining the organization of cancer care. One of them is about inter-professional collaboration and practice change in the care of older cancer patients. The other one is about explaining organizational and professional processes that influence healthcare utilization (specifically emergency room visits) by endometrial cancer patients. In her research, she mostly uses case studies involving semi-structured interviews with physicians and nurses, document analysis and administrative records. For theoretical bases, she draws from the literature on organization studies and sociology of professions. Her post-doctoral work involved collaborating with a multidisciplinary team of healthcare management researchers to rethink the way care processes can be optimized in a large urban hospital. She spent about 3 years collecting data in this hospital and participated in a number of invited presentations to its professional and administrative staff. She is a member of the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research and the Quebec Network on Nursing Intervention Research (RRISIQ).
Research Interests: Cancer care; elderly cancer patients; emergency room visits.
Dr. Alexis Buettgen has a PhD in Critical Disability Studies from York University and an MA in Community Psychology from Wilfrid Laurier University. Alexis is currently the Senior Research Officer at the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies Inc. operating as Eviance and Assistant Clinical Professor (Adjunct) in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. As a community engaged scholar, her research aims to bridge the gap between academic knowledge and community action using a critical theoretical and intersectional approach. Alexis engages in emerging research that promotes transformative change in poverty reduction, social policy, and the progressive realization of human rights for diverse and historically marginalized communities with a particular interest in disability. Her research is informed by over a decade of experience working in a variety of clinical and community settings providing direct support to individuals with various experiences of oppression and marginalization. Alexis continues to work closely with advocates and activists promoting social, economic and political inclusion. These community experiences have informed her research program to critically examine various ways of knowing, subjective well-being, and intersectional approaches to promote health and social justice in the context of our current economic and political environment. As a teacher, Alexis draws on these experiences to support students to move beyond individualistic approaches to health and well-being toward a greater understanding of social contexts through the development of critical thinking and consciousness raising.
Dr. Buettgen also has extensive experience in program evaluation and community based participatory and emancipatory research that has been local, provincial, national and international in scope. She is skilled in various evaluation and applied research methodologies, including qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.
Research Interests: poverty reduction and elimination; disability and employment; critical political economic theory; intersectionality; program evaluation; human rights; international development; social, political and economic inclusion; social welfare; community based applied research
(PhD, Critical Disability Studies, York University)
Dr. Cameron Crawford has worked prolifically for many years in the field of disability. He has provided direct support to individuals with disabilities and has consulted widely with community-based disability rights advocates, academics, government officials and private sector leaders. His PhD (from the Critical Disability Studies Program at York University) was on the policy, social and other factors strongly associated with people obtaining decent work after the advent of disability that significantly impacts employment. Cameron’s postdoctoral research drilled down further into decent work as defined by the International Labour Organization. That research operationalized measures to pinpoint occupations and industries where people with disabilities hold high vs low quality work, the people most likely to hold such jobs, and the conditions that support high quality work. He has written nearly 60 published books and monographs, 90 professional/technical reports, and 30 articles and contributions to collected works, has delivered over 120 professional presentations at conferences and symposia, and has completed many other pieces of work on disability, rights and inclusion. Cameron has conducted his work from human rights and social model perspectives, mindful of intersectionalities that affect the realization of people’s rights and human potential. Cameron presently serves as the Senior Data and Policy Officer for the Canadian Centre on Disability Studies, operating as Eviance. He was previously the President of the Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS), and of The Roeher Institute, both think tanks on the social inclusion and human rights of people with disabilities. He is an Adjunct Professor and sessional instructor with the School of Disability Studies at Ryerson University, and has taught for the disability studies programs at York University and Western University.
Research interests: Ongoing research interests concerning people with disabilities are employment, income support, the organization of social services, education, transportation, and conditions of personal safety, security and empowerment in the context of people with disabilities’ higher risks of experiencing violence, poverty and many other harms.
Adjunct Professor (Inclusive Design)
OCAD University, Toronto
Accessibility Program Manager
D2L Corporation, Toronto (ON)
Tel: +1 416 709 6270
Dr. Sambhavi (Sam) Chandrashekar is an inclusive design researcher and a certified professional in accessibility core competencies. Her passion is to promote access and inclusion in education through accessible technology and inclusive pedagogy. She holds an M.Sc. in Human-Computer Interaction from University College London, UK and a PhD in Information Systems from the iSchool, University of Toronto. She was a Mitacs Elevate post-doctoral fellow with the University of Toronto for two years.
Sam has cross-sector experience in accessibility practice across academic, non-profit, and commercial sectors for over 15 years. She is an Adjunct Professor with OCAD University, Toronto in their Master of Design program in Inclusive Design since 2012. As an award-winning inclusive educator, she has taught several courses and supervised around 25 student research projects. As a member of the Inclusive Design Research Centre, Toronto since 2005, she has engaged with the disability community in Ontario and participated in several multi-partner, government-funded research projects involving accessibility and technology. Since 2017, Sam leads the accessibility initiatives at D2L Corporation, an educational technology company, as their Accessibility Program Manager.
Sam is a member of the Ontario government’s Post-Secondary Education Standards Development Committee working on accessibility standards for education under the AODA. She completed the CPACC certification (Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies) from the International Association of Accessibility Professional (IAAP) and is a member of IAAP’s Curriculum Development and Recommendation Committee. Sam was one of the expert evaluators of the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 standards before its release in 2008. Currently, she is a member of the Silver Accessibility Guidelines Community working on W3C’s next generation accessibility guidelines.
Research Interests: Inclusive design of digital technologies; accessible user experience for people with disabilities; assistive technologies; inclusive pedagogy; universal design for learning; accessibility perspectives of people with disabilities; perception of online information credibility by people with vision impairments.
(Professor; Educational Leadership and Foundations of Education, University of Alabama)
Nirmala Erevelles is Professor of Social and Cultural Studies in Education at the University of Alabama. Her teaching and research interests lie in the areas of disability studies, critical race theory, transnational feminism, sociology of education, and postcolonial studies. Specifically, her research focuses on the unruly, messy, unpredictable and taboo body – a habitual outcast in educational (and social) contexts. Erevelles asks: Why do some bodies matter more than others? In raising this question “why,” the tenor of her scholarship shifts from description to explanation to highlight the implications exploitative social/economic arrangements have for making bodies matter (or not) in particular historical and material contexts. Erevelles argues that disability as a central critical analytic can have transformative potential in addressing issues as varied as inclusive schooling, critical/radical pedagogies/curricula, HIV/AIDS education, facilitated communication, school violence, multicultural education, and the sex curriculum. Her insistence on an intersectional analysis foregrounds the dialectical relationship between disability and the other constructs of difference, namely race, class, gender, and sexuality and its brutal implications for (disabled) students in U. S. public schools and (disabled) citizens in transnational contexts. Additionally, transforming her theoretical leanings to committed praxis, she deploys the lens of disability studies to urge her students to think harder, deeper, and more courageously outside the confines of normative modes of education and social theory that only seek to discipline bodies rather than empower them
Erevelles has published articles in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Theory, Studies in Education and Philosophy, the Journal of Curriculum Studies, Teachers College Record, Disability & Society, Disability Studies Quarterly, & the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, among others, along with her book, Disability and Difference in Global Contexts: Towards a Transformative Body Politic.
Research Interests: Disability studies; critical race theory; transnational feminism; sociology of education; postcolonial studies.
Dr. Annicia Gayle-Geddes is a graduate of the University of the West Indies with a PhD in Social Policy. She is a public policy development, monitoring, and evaluation professional whose work has spanned the Caribbean for over 17 years. Her work as a Social Development Analyst at the Caribbean Development Bank includes strengthening the participation of marginalised groups in socioeconomic projects, including indigenous peoples, youth, children, women/girls and persons with disabilities. She also spearheads Technical Assistance to conduct groundbreaking Disability Assessments in four Caribbean countries: Grenada, St. Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica.
Annicia is the foremost scholar in disability and development in the English-Speaking Caribbean, with published papers, book and book chapters on the subject. She is the author of the seminal book on Disability and Inequality: Socioeconomic Imperatives and Public Policy in Jamaica, published by Palgrave Macmillan. She is a disability advocate and has served as Member of the Jamaica Society for the Blind Scholarship Committee; Member of Jamaica’s National Disability Advisory Board; Member of the Legislation Committee for a Disability Act; and Chairperson of the National Consultation Committee for a National Disability Act. A decade later, the Jamaican Government passed The Disabilities Act, 2014.
Annicia recognizes the need for rigorous academic scholarship to inform evidence-based public policies and programmes. She therefore provides the practical perspectives of developing countries into the global discourse of disability and development.
Research Interests:Critical disability studies; social protection; poverty; health; participatory community development; citizen security; gender and intersectionality analysis.
(Professor; Journalism/New Media in the Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies at Towson University, Maryland)
Tel: (410) 704-2442
Address: Dept. of Mass Communication &
Communication Studies, Towson University
8000 York Rd., Towson, MD 21252-0001
Beth Haller is Professor of Journalism/New Media in the Department of Mass Communication & Communication Studies at Towson University in Maryland, where she has been a full-time faculty member since 1996. She is the author of Representing Disability in an Ableist World: Essays on Mass Media (Advocado Press, 2010) and the author of Byline of Hope: Collected Newspaper and Magazine Writing of Helen Keller (Advocado Press, 2015). She was formerly co-editor of the Society for Disability Studies’ scholarly journal, Disability Studies Quarterly, (2003-2006). She is adjunct faculty for the City University of New York’s Disability Studies master’s and undergraduate programs and for York University’s Critical Disability Studies graduate program in Toronto, Canada.
Beth Haller was a Fulbright Specialist at the University of Sydney, Australia, and Curtin University Australia in February 2015 for the project, “Disability, the Media, and Digital Technology: Issues, Challenges, and Future Research.” In 2013-14 Haller participated in the MIUSA Empower Partnerships for Inclusive Communities Professional Exchange Program, a state department-funded project to partner with a disability organization in Serbia, Centre LIVING UPRIGHT, and a journalism school in Serbia, Novi Sad School of Journalism (NSSJ). She has provided media and disability consulting to the Open Society Institute Disability Rights Initiative for media training for the African Youth with Disabilities Network, to the University of Russian Academy of Education, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia for its center training journalists to cover disability issues, to the media monitoring project of Disability Rights Promotion International, Toronto, Canada, and research support for the Center for an Accessible Society, San Diego, Calif., 1998-2003.
Haller currently maintains a blog on disability issues in the news, Media dis&dat. She has been researching media images of disability since 1991, when she did a master’s thesis at the University of Maryland-College Park on the coverage of Deaf persons in The Washington Post and New York Times. Her Ph.D. dissertation at Temple University investigated elite news media coverage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Her media and disability research has been published in Disability Studies Quarterly, Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, Disability & Society, Journalism Studies, Journal of Popular Film and Television, Research in Social Science and Disability, Journal of Comic Art, Journal of Magazine and New Media Research, Mass Comm Review, and Journalism History. Haller is a native of Fort Worth, Texas, and received her undergraduate degree in journalism from Baylor University.
Research Interests: Media images of disability and disability issues; alternative press, ethnic press, disability press (historical and modern); copyright issues in cyberspace; freedom of expression.
(Associate Professor, University of Ottawa)
Tel: 613-562-5800 ext. 2917
Ravi Malhotra joined the Critical Disability Studies program as adjunct faculty in 2016. He obtained an LL.M. from Harvard in 2002, and completed his S.J.D. at the University of Toronto in 2007, having been awarded a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship. His doctoral dissertation dealt with the implications of globalization for labour law in the context of workers with disabilities. While he was an S.J.D. candidate in residency at the University of Toronto, Professor Malhotra was an adjunct faculty member at the University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law where he taught International Human Rights. His primary research interests are in the areas of Labour and Employment Law, Human Rights, Globalization and Disability Rights Law.
Professor Malhotra is a member of the Human Rights Committee of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and the Education Committee of the Canadian Centre for Disability Studies.
Research Interests: Labour and employment law; human rights; globalization and disability rights law.
(Professor, Concordia University, Montreal)
Tel: (514) 848-2424 ext. 5852
Erin Manning is Professor in the Department of Studio Arts in the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, and Interdisciplinary PhD in Humanities Graduate Program Director at Concordia University in Montreal. Dr. Manning directs the SenseLab at Concordia (www.senselab.ca), a laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement. Her current art practice is centred on large-scale textile installations that facilitate emergent collectivities. She presented Stitching Time at the 18th Biennale of Sydney in 2012, will present Stitching Time - Traces at the 5th Moscow Biennale in 2013 and is preparing a work entitled The Knots of Time for the opening of the new Flax Museum in Kortrijk, Belgium. Publications include Always More Than One: Individuation's Dance (Duke UP, 2013), Relationscapes: Movement, Art, Philosophy (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2009), Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement, Sovereignty (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2007) and Ephemeral Territories: Representing Nation, Home and Identity in Canada (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2003). Her forthcoming co-written manuscript (with Brian Massumi) is entitled Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience (Minnesota UP).
Research Interests: Relational movement.
Robert McRuer does work focusing on queer and crip cultural studies and critical theory. He is the author of Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability and The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities (both also available from NYU Press). With Anna Mollow, he co-edited the anthology Sex and Disability. He also wrote Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance, considering locations of disability within contemporary political economies and the roles that disabled movements and representations play in countering hegemonic forms of globalization. His first book centered on contemporary lgbt writers, particularly lgbt writers of color, and his most recent book attends to cultural sites where critical queerness and disability contest heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness.
Research Interests: Queer and crip cultural studies and critical theory; sex and disability.
(Director/Curator; A Space Gallery)
Vicky Moufawad-Paul is a Toronto based curator and writer. She is the Director/Curator at A Space Gallery. She has curated exhibitions at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Carlton University Art Gallery, Gallery 101, MAI: Montréal arts interculturels, Latitude 53, Museum London, McIntosh Gallery, Contact Photography Festival, InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art, A Space Gallery, and 16 Beaver.
She has an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario and an MFA in Film and Video from York University. She was a member of the Board of Directors at Trinity Square Video, and the Advisory Board of AluCine Media Arts Festival and the Toronto Palestine Film Festival. She was the founding director of the Toronto Arab Film Festival and has worked at the Toronto International Film Festival. She served a three year term on the Visual & Media Arts Advisory Committee at the Toronto Arts Council and has been invited to adjudicate grants for arts funding bodies as well as arts organizations.
Vicky has published texts on several artists including Harun Farocki, James Luna, Emily Jacir, Wafaa Bilal, Paul Dennis Miller, Deirdre Logue, Mohammed Mohsen, Jacqueline Hoang Nguyen, Juan Ortiz-Apuy, Basil AlZeri, Erica Lord, John Halak, Rehab Nazzal, Jorge Lozano, Mike Hoolboom, Taysir Batniji, Adam Broomberg, Oliver Chanarin, Akram Zaatari, and Yto Barrada.
Research Interests: Video and Disability; Photography and Citizenship; Arab Art; Archival Recovery; Intersectional Curating.
Joseph J. Murray is Professor of Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University. He is co-editor of Deaf Gain: Raising the Stakes for Human Diversity (2014, University of Minnesota Press); In Our Own Hands: Essays in Deaf History 1780-1970 (2016, Gallaudet University Press); and The Legal Recognition of Sign Languages: Advocacy and Outcomes Around the World (2019, Multilingual Matters). He was guest editor for two issues of Sign Language Studies and has published widely in deaf studies, applied linguistics, human rights, and deaf history. Dr. Murray has presented in over 40 countries around the world in his two decades of human rights work. He is currently President of the World Federation of the Deaf.
Research interests: Deaf Studies, Deaf history, human rights, linguistic human rights, transnationalism, translanguaging, plurilingualism, multimodality, social approaches to difference and diversity.
(Assistant Professor, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies, Carleton University)
Tel: 613-520-2600 ext. 5042
Address: 1317 Dunton Tower, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa Ontario K1S 5B6
Dr. Xuan Thuy Nguyen examines the ways girls and women with disabilities in the global South participate in research to claim their rights. Her research project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) [2016-20], aims to challenge gaps of knowledge on girls with disabilities within existing research on disability studies, inclusive education, human rights, and girlhood studies by connecting knowledge, research, and activism for their inclusion. Dr. Nguyen’s work provides opportunities for graduate students, academics, and activists in Canada to engage in transnational work for social justice with disabled girls and women in the global South. This research builds on her work on inclusion in the context of disability rights. Dr. Nguyen’s new book, The journey to inclusion, published by Sense Publishers, critically engages with the politics of inclusion and exclusion through the emergence of disability rights, development, and inclusive education discourses at the global, national, and local levels. Focusing on the context of Vietnam, the book offers critical insight into contemporary debates on inclusion for people with disabilities in the face of neo-liberal, neo-imperialist, and neo-colonial ideologies. It challenges academics and activists to engage more deeply with the meanings and politics of inclusion in the intersection between global and local histories.
Research Areas: Critical disability studies; critical policy studies; inclusive education; critical theory; human rights and post-colonial studies; visual methodologies; historiography.
Dr. Michael Orsini is a Professor and currently Vice-Dean in the Office of Graduate Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Orsini was Fulbright Visiting Research Chair at Vanderbilt University's Centre for Medicine, Health and Society. His main areas of research interest are in health politics and policy, and the role of social movements in policy processes. His substantive areas of interest include autism, HIV/AIDS and illnesses that affect marginalized people. Professor Orsini is currently working on a project that explores the roles of emotions and stigma in three key policy fields, as well as a CIHR-funded project on the impact of criminalization discourse on HIV/AIDS advocacy.
Research Interests: Autism; Critical Disability Studies; affect and emotions in politics; health policy; interest groups; gender and public policy; social movements; HIV/AIDS; qualitative research; interpretive policy analysis; autism politics and policy; contested illnesses; critical obesity studies.
Research Interests: Narratives of body, identity, and difference in the passage to womanhood; Arts-based inquiry into everyday experiences of women with disabilities and physical differences in social and health care encounters; qualitative research into girls' accounts of body image as an equity issue within educational settings.
Candida Rifkind has an Honours BA from Dalhousie University (Halifax), an MA from Concordia University (Montreal), and a PhD from York University (Toronto). She specializes in alternative comics and graphic narratives, Canadian popular and political writing, and life writing and auto/biography theory. Her co-edited scholarly collection, Canadian Graphic: Picturing Life Narratives (Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016), won the 2016 Gabrielle Roy Prize for the best book in English Canadian literary criticism. Her scholarly monograph, Comrades and Critics: Women, Literature, and the Left in 1930s Canada(University of Toronto Press, 2009), received the 2009 Ann Saddlemyer Award for the best book published on a Canadian theatre topic. Recent and forthcoming publications include articles on: the public memorialization of Norman Bethune; photography and Civil Rights in Lisa Quintero Weaver’s Darkroom: A Memoir in Black and White, Mountie serial fiction and kitsch; the biotopographies of Seth’s “picture novella” George Sprott; metabiography and black visuality in Ho Che Anderson’s comics biography King; scientific graphic biographies of Robert Oppenheimer; and visual nostalgias of the Canadian company town. She is currently writing a book about transnational graphic biographies with the support of a three-year Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, researching migrant and refugee comics, and coordinating a bibliographic project on Indigenous comics. She is Second Vice President of the Comics Studies Society 2017-18 (President Elect 2019-20), serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal INKS, the Advisory Board of the Canadian Society for the Study of Comics/La Sociéte canadienne pour l’étude de la bande dessinée, and regularly reviews comics and graphic narratives for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Research Interests: Comics and graphic narratives; Canadian literature and culture; Life Writing/Autobiography; Screen and Cultural Studies; Women writers
Louise Tam is a PhD candidate in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. Her research interests include the lived experiences of racialized people within the mental health system; the work of progressive mental health practitioners; movement lawyering; the institutionalization of anti-racist and intersectional frameworks in psychiatry, psychology, and social work; and the political economy of disability/disablement within contemporary settler colonial contexts. Her dissertation, Palliative States, maps racialized migrants’ navigation of Canada’s mental health, immigration, and criminal justice systems as they attempt to secure legal status, resources, and safety. Louise has published journal articles and book chapters in the fields of Ethnic Studies, Disability Studies, and American Studies on Asian American counseling psychology, mental patients’ rights movements, and psychiatry behind bars. Her research has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada and the Rutgers Center for Cultural Analysis (CCA).
(Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; PhD, Adult Education, Community Development, and Gender Studies)
Dr. Roberta Timothy is Assistant Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. Dr. Timothy’s program of teaching and research broadly addresses local and transnational dimensions of community health promotion; the unequal impact of social determinants of health across diverse communities in local and global context; and anti-oppression and community-informed interventions into health policy and equity.
She specializes in the areas of intersectionality and ethics in health; health and race; transnational African/Black and Indigenous health; and anti-oppression/anti-colonial approaches to mental health. With extensive teaching experience in universities, colleges, and in social service organizations and community settings, she has particular expertise in critical health theory and social justice health policy development and implementation.
Dr. Timothy prioritizes critical and creative approaches to knowledge production that reflect the experiences and aspirations of migrant, refugee, African/Black diasporic, and transnational Indigenous communities. Her scholarship contributes to critical race theory by examining how factors such as indigeneity, gender, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, transgenerational connections, and historical and contemporary intersectional violence impact African/Black communities health, and by centering community resistance through innovative decolonizing health practices.
Research Interests: Anti-Oppression Psychotherapy; critical expressive arts therapy; trauma and transgenerational violence; work culture and organizational change; Anti-Oppression/colonial political economy; Resistance Education, and Creative Resistance.
Dr. Jutta Treviranus is Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) and professor in the faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto. With its origins in the ATRC, which she launched in 1993, Jutta has established the IDRC as an international center of expertise in the inclusive design of emerging digital systems, networks and practices. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional centre of expertise. Jutta founded and directs an innovative graduate program in inclusive design at OCAD University. Together with Gregg Vanderheiden, she is the co-director of the Raising the Floor Consortium that coordinates the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure project. She leads many international multi-partner open source research networks that have created broadly implemented innovations that support inclusion e.g., Fluid Project, and Floe Project. Jutta and her team have pioneered network-supported personalization as an approach to accessibility in the digital domain with projects such as Web4All, TILE and FLOE. She has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally (including W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines, as well as the IMS AccessForAll and ISO 24751 standards implemented in the GPII).
Research Interests: Inclusive design of emerging digital systems; networks and practices; accessibility in the digital domain; accessibility legislation.
A.J. Withers holds a PhD in Social Work and an MA in Critical Disability Studies from York University. Their research emerges organically out of the communities they are embedded in as a queer, trans, disabled, anti-poverty organizer. Their scholarship works to produce knowledge about how power works; the practices through which groups are subordinated; how subordinated groups enact resistance; and provide tools to assist social justice movements (i.e. policy analysis, fill knowledge gaps, etc.). Their doctoral research, Mapping Ruling Relations Through Homelessness Organizing, examines how ruling relations work and how they coordinate homeless people through policy. This research was conducted from the standpoint of an anti-poverty organization using political activist ethnography, a methodology developed to support social justice organizing.
A.J is the author of Disability Politics and Theory, a ground-breaking disability studies text. They are also the co-author of A Violent History of Benevolence: Interlocking Oppression in the Moral Economies of Social Working. They have also published numerous book chapters, articles, and several creative works.
Research Interests: social construction of disability; pathologization of trans; pathologization of homelessness
Emerita Member of the Graduate Program in Critical Disability Studies
Dr. Marcia Rioux is a legal scholar with extensive experience in community based participatory research in the areas of human rights, health and social justice, particularly around international disability rights.
Dr. Rioux is a University Distinguished Research Professor in the School of Health Policy and Management and teaches Critical Disability Studies and Health Policy and Equity at York. She was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2014. She is co-Director of Disability Rights Promotion International, a multi-year project to monitor disability rights nationally and internationally. She has been an advisor to federal and provincial commissions, parliamentary committees, and international NGO's as well as United Nations agencies. She has edited a number of collected volumes and more than 70 book chapters and articles on human rights. Her most recent book was published in November 2015, Disability, Rights Monitoring and Social Change: Building Power out of Evidence: (Eds. M.H. Rioux, P.Pinto, G. Parekh) Toronto, Canada: Canadian Scholars Press.
Dr. Rioux has lectured throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia. She has been a visiting scholar and professor at a number of international institutions, including the University of Zagreb, Croatia and LaTrobe University in Australia. She teaches the full year PhD seminar GS/CDIS 6100, Doctoral Seminar in Critical Disability Studies, and supervises MA and PhD students.
She is currently compiling, as Executive Editor, an encyclopedia on Critical Disability Studies (Springer). Dr. Rioux was made a member of the Order of Canada in 2014.
Research Interests: International human rights and monitoring, the social and legal construction of inequality, theory of critical disability, education for all, globalization, social welfare and social justice, health equity, social policy and diversity.