Grants – Call for Fellowship Applications: Jaipreet Virdi 2021 Fellowship for Disability Studies


The Medical Heritage Library, Inc. (MHL) is a collaborative digitization and discovery organization of some of the world’s leading medical libraries committed to providing open access to resources in the history of healthcare and health sciences. The MHL’s goal is to provide the means by which readers and scholars across a multitude of disciplines can examine the interrelated nature of medicine and society, both to inform contemporary medicine and to strengthen understanding of the world in which we live.

The Medical Heritage Library seeks a motivated fellow to assist in the continuing development of our education and outreach programs. Under the guidance of a member of our governance board, the fellow will develop curated collections or sets for the MHL website on the topic of disability and medical technologies. Examples of existing primary source sets can be found on the MHL website:  These collections will be drawn from the over 300,000 items in our Internet Archive library. The curated collections provide a means for our visitors to discover the richness of MHL materials on a variety of topics relevant to the history of health and the health sciences. As part of this work, the fellow will have an opportunity to enrich metadata in MHL records in Internet Archive to support scholarship and inquiry on this topic.

This paid fellowship will be hosted virtually, with no in-person component.


  • Based on the input of MHL members and others, work on the creation of curated sets of materials drawn from MHL collections.
  • Enrich MHL metadata to highlight underrepresented topics in our Internet Archive collections.
  • Regularly create blog posts and other type of social media for posting to MHL accounts.
  • Other duties as assigned.


This virtual position is open to all qualified graduate students with a strong interest in medical, disability, or health history, with additional interests in library/information science or education. Strong communication and collaboration skills are a must. Fellows are expected to learn quickly and work independently.  


The fellowship will take place anytime between the end of May 2021-mid-August 2021


150 hours, over 12 weeks with a maximum of 20 hours in any given week.


$20/hour not to exceed $3000


To apply, please provide the following:

  •     Cover letter documenting interest in position
  •     Curriculum Vitae
  •     2 References- names (with positions) and emails and phone numbers of references to contact

Please submit your application materials by April 19th, 2021 through this from:

Candidate interviews will take place virtually.

More information on the Medical Heritage website.

Seminar – New Research and Performance Directions in Premodern Disability Studies, Emory University and Folger Institute partnered program, with the support of Georgia Humanities, 4 – 6 March 2021, free event on Zoom

New Research and Performance Directions in Premodern Disability Studies

An Emory University and Folger Institute partnered program, with the support of Georgia Humanities
March 04 – 06, 2021
Virtual Event on Zoom
Free; registration required by February 15


Centering intersectional approaches, public humanities, and activist performance, this virtual seminar welcomes teacher-scholars, practitioners working on disability studies in the premodern period, and the interested public. Come learn from leading experts in disability and performance studies and investigate how writers, performers, and scholars have—then and now—understood, experienced, and responded to bodymind differences.

This online seminar will build on scholarly work in medieval and early modern disability studies to consider new avenues of inquiry, cultural histories, and performative possibilities.

  • What do theatremakers and theatergoers learn when premodern disability scholarship intersects with public activism, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and provocative disability performance?
  • How might we use stories of disability from the past to raise contemporary consciousness that advances disability justice and equity?
  • What do we discover when disabled actors and audiences, in the past and present, engage with premodern drama and literature?

Seminar Directors

Allison P. Hobgood is an Affiliated Scholar at Willamette University and the published author of various books discussing disability, embodiment, pedagogy, social justice, and Shakespeare. Sheila T. Cavanagh is Professor of English at Emory University. She has published widely on international Shakespeare, pedagogy, and accessibility in Shakespearean teaching and performance.

Registration Information

All sessions will be conducted in the Zoom environment and accessible via CART, ASL, and other inclusive modalities. Please contact to specify additional accessibility technologies that will enable your participation, or describe them in the field marked “order notes” when you register.
The deadline for registration is Monday, February 15. Please register for as many sessions as you wish using the links below. (All times are Eastern.)



Disability Justice Past and Present: The Power of Studying and Staging Disability for Our Own Time

Thursday, March 4, 4pm-5:30 pm | Register

Theatremakers join with scholars-activists to explore the myriad ways that disability provocatively and more inclusively informs our experiences of drama, literature, and the world. Participants in this roundtable include Elizabeth B. Bearden (University of Wisconsin, Madison), Laura Cole (The Atlanta Shakespeare Company at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse), Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory University), Jonathan Hsy (Institute for Advanced Study), Justin Shaw (Clark University), and Stephen Unwin (Theatre and Opera Director, London). The roundtable will be moderated by Allison Hobgood, with the support of Kelly Duquette and John Gulledge. Registered participants will be able to ask questions at its conclusion.


“Talk-Back” Session on Cry Havoc! screening

Friday, March 5, 5pm-6pm | Register

Stephan Wolfert (military veteran, actor, writer, and director, New York) leads a live “talk back” session with Dawn Stern (Chief Operating Officer of DE-CRUIT and actress) based on a screening of the film Cry Havoc!, which will be pre-circulated to registered participants. Cry Havoc! is an award winning, critically acclaimed, one-person play that seamlessly interweaves Shakespeare with personal experience to help us understand the national crises we face when we “wire for war but never unwire from war.” Scott Jackson (University of Notre Dame) moderates the session.

The 75-minute show contains depictions of war, violence, and strong language.  It also contains humor, vulnerability, Shakespeare, and hope.


Performing Shakespeare with Neurodiverse Audiences

Saturday, March 6, 10am-11am | Register

Scott Jackson and Christy Burgess (both of the University of Notre Dame) created and presented a new version of As You Like It for audiences on the autism spectrum after training with Kelly Hunter MBE (Hunter Heartbeat Method). In this workshop, they will present their creative process and describe the successes and challenges associated with these community-based performances. 


ProTactile Theater Workshop

Saturday, March 6, 1pm-2:30pm | Register

Professor Jill Bradbury (Gallaudet University) is joined by ProTactile (PT) experts Jasper Norman and Yashaira Romilus for this workshop on ProTactile, a new form of sign language developed for DeafBlind people. Participants will learn about the philosophy of PT and how the workshop leaders produced an adaptation of Romeo and Juliet in 2018 based on this philosophy. The workshop leaders will discuss the implications of this project for inclusive theater practices, artistic principles, and aesthetics.


New Scholarly Directions in Premodern Disability Studies and Performance

Saturday, March 6, 3pm-4:30pm | Register

To conclude the seminar, Allison P. Hobgood and Sheila T. Cavanagh moderate this interactive scholarly discussion on new directions in premodern disability studies and performance.



Our thanks to the Emory University sponsors who have generously supported this event:
Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archive, and Rare Book Library
Department of English
Disability Studies Initiative
Institute of The Liberal Arts
Theater Emory
Department of Theater Studies
Center for the Study of Human Health
Emory Accessibility Services 
Hightower Fund

More infos on the organisator’s website

New book – Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology – Edited by Scott M. Williams – publ. by Routledge

Disability in Medieval Christian Philosophy and Theology – Edited by Scott M. Williams


This book uses the tools of analytic philosophy and close readings of medieval Christian philosophical and theological texts in order to survey what these thinkers said about what today we call ‘disability.’ The chapters also compare what these medieval authors say with modern and contemporary philosophers and theologians of disability. This dual approach enriches our understanding of the history of disability in medieval Christian philosophy and theology and opens up new avenues of research for contemporary scholars working on disability.

The volume is divided into three parts. Part One addresses theoretical frameworks regarding disability, particularly on questions about the definition(s) of ‘disability’ and how disability relates to well-being. The chapters are then divided into two further parts in order to reflect ways that medieval philosophers and theologians theorized about disability. Part Two is on disability in this life, and Part Three is on disability in the afterlife. Taken as a whole, these chapters support two general observations. First, these philosophical theologians sometimes resist Greco-Roman ableist views by means of theological and philosophical anti-ableist arguments and counterexamples. Here we find some surprising disability-positive perspectives that are built into different accounts of a happy human life. We also find equal dignity of all human beings no matter ability or disability. Second, some of the seeds for modern and contemporary ableist views were developed in medieval Christian philosophy and theology, especially with regard to personhood and rationality, an intellectualist interpretation of the imago Dei, and the identification of human dignity with the use of reason.

This volume surveys disability across a wide range of medieval Christian writers from the time of Augustine up to Francisco Suarez. It will be of interest to scholars and graduate students working in medieval philosophy and theology, or disability studies.

Table of Contents


Scott M. Williams

Part I. Theoretical Frameworks

1. Plurality in Medieval Concepts of Disability

Kevin Timpe

Part II. Disability in this Life

2. Medieval Aristotelians on Congenital Disabilities and their Early Modern Critics

Gloria Frost

3. Personhood, Ethics, and Disability: A Comparison of Byzantine, Boethian, and Modern Concepts of Personhood

Scott M. Williams

4. The Imago Dei / Trinitatis and Disabled Persons: The Limitations of Intellectualism in Late Medieval Theology

John T. Slotemaker

5. Remembering ‘Mindless’ Persons: Intellectual Disability, Spanish Colonialism, and the Disappearance of a Medieval Account of Persons who Lack the Use of Reason

Miguel J. Romero

6. Deafness and Pastoral Care in the Middle Ages

Jenni Kuuliala and ReimaVälimäki

7. Taking the ‘Dis’ out of Disability: Martyrs, Mothers, and Mystics in the Middle Ages

Christina Van Dyke

Part III. Disability in the Afterlife

8. Separated Souls: Disability in the Intermediate State

Mark K. Spencer

9. Disability and Resurrection

Richard Cross

10. Relative Disability and Transhuman Happiness: St. Thomas Aquinas on the Beatific Vision

Thomas M. Ward


More info on the editor website

Handicaps, malformations et infirmités dans l’Antiquité

Sous la direction de Annie Allély 

Le dossier 2 relève des disability studies : il s’attache aux corps handicapés, malformés et infirmes, avec une attention particulière pour les embryons et les enfants – un champ de recherche encore nouveau pour les époques anciennes. La réflexion porte sur le vocabulaire utilisé pour nommer la différence physique et sur l’attitude des Anciens devant le handicap, celle-ci oscillant entre le rejet, l’élimination, et l’acceptation et l’intégration. Il y a peu d’ouvrages en français sur la question du handicap pour la période de l’Antiquité, le domaine ayant d’abord été exploré par des spécialistes anglo-saxons. Pour autant, les études contenues dans le dossier viennent compléter et enrichir la production non-francophone, sans la répéter ; elles s’adressent donc aussi aux chercheurs étrangers.

Annie Allély 
Introduction : Handicaps, malformations et infirmités dans l’Antiquité 

Embryons, nouveau-nés et enfants malformés 

Véronique Dasen 
Modèles anatomiques tératologiques et cabinets de curiosités dans l’Antiquité 

Annie Allély 
Les enfants handicapés, infirmes et malformés à Rome et dans l’Empire romain pendant l’Antiquité tardive 

Jeannine Boëldieu-Trevet 
Des nouveau-nés malformés et un roi boiteux : histoires Spartiates 

Jean-Baptiste Bonnard 
L’exposition des nouveau-nés handicapés dans le monde grec, entre réalités et mythes : un point sur la question 

Le corps handicapé, malformé et infirme 

Caroline Husquin 
Fiat Lux ! Cécité et déficiences visuelles à Rome : réalités et mythologies, des ténèbres à la lumière 

Catherine Baroin 
Boiterie et boiteux dans le monde romain à l’époque classique 

Jérôme Wilgaux 
Infirmités et prêtrise en Méditerranée antique 

Yannick Muller 
Infirmité et mutilation corporelle en Grèce ancienne : le cas de la famille étymologique de πηρός 

Patricia Gaillard-Seux 

CFP – Experiences of Dis/ability from the Late Middle Ages to the Mid-Twentieth Century 22 – 23 August 2019, Tampere University, Finland

Keynote speakers: David Lederer, Maynooth University; Donna Trembinski, St. Francis Xavier University; David Turner, Swansea University

In recent decades, dis/ability history has become an important field in its own right, standing at the crossroads of the social history of medicine, the history of minorities and the history of everyday life. Conceptions of and attitudes to physical and mental wellbeing and to difference are and have always been key elements in any human society, while the lived experience of dis/ability has varied across societies and time periods, but also depending on the person’s socioeconomic status, age, gender, and the nature of the impairment. Experiences of disability, whether personal or communal, have long continuities in the past, but they have also changed dramatically with the development of medical science and institutionalized care.

This conference aims to concentrate on the experiences of those with physical or mental impairments and chronic illnesses, with special reference to the period between the late Middle Ages and the mid-twentieth century. We understand dis/ability in a broad sense, covering a wide range of physical, mental and intellectual impairments and chronic illnesses. How, then, were various dis/abilities lived and experienced, how did communities shape these experiences, and what similarities and changes can we detect over the course of time? An important viewpoint is also that of methodology: how can a modern scholar approach the experience of those living in the past?

We thus invite papers that explore the ways in which ‘disabilities’ have been lived and experienced, in all stages of life, and by people of different social status and background. The conference aims to promote dialogue between disability historians across national and chronological borders and we welcome papers presenting new research and work in progress.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How to approach the experience of dis/ability (sources, methodology)?
  • Different categories of dis/ability experience, or what counts as experience of disability?
  • How have society, religion and practices of care and cure defined the experience of disability?
  • Lived religion and dis/ability
  • Medicalization, institutionalization and everyday life
  • The impact of gender, age and social status on the experience of dis/ability
  • Lived welfare and everyday experiences of people with disabilities, e.g. living at home, in a workhouse or mental institution, the impact of various welfare systems.

To submit a proposal, please send title and abstract of 200 words, with your contact information and affiliation by February 15, 2019, at

Conference website:

Participation is free of charge, and includes lunches and coffees for speakers.

The conference is organized by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX, at the University of Tampere and the group “Lived Religion” and has received funding from The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation ( and HEX. For more information, please write to the organizers ( and

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