Disability Studies: Exploring the Margins from the Center and the Center from the Margins

Disability-related issues are becoming more and more mainstreamed. For instance, several universities are starting to offer Disability Studies as an undergraduate major option, and more and more news headlines are giving way to disability in the world today.  At the same time, people with various disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender issues still say that they remain at the margins, and may be even at the margins of the margins.

Such exclusion, even with the prevalence of disability in the public eye and awareness on the rise, is astonishing. Here we present to you a very diverse topic area that seeks to crack the question of how do we bring the margins to the center.

One of our most popular topic areas, Disability Studies will be represented this year by many impressive topical and breakout presentation topics, such as feminism and intersectionality, dwarfism, disability across cultures, and disability and religion.

A breakout session not to be missed will be delivered by one of our keynote speakers, Day Al-Mohamed, a veteran disability rights activist. Her background ranges from legislation to filmmaking, and she will be presenting on disability history as it relates to civil war histories. Our other keynote, Scot Danforth, is a well-respected scholar and professor of disability studies, whose years of expertise and research point out where there is room for improvement and spark the talk of solutions.

The question of whether our society is really taking all of the necessary steps it needs to take to create inclusion still remains a disappointing “no,” but there still lies hope that given the proper tools and education, we as a society can rise above the margins that we have set for persons with disabilities.


For more information about this topic area, contact the topic chair, Steve Brown, sebrown@hawaii.edu.

For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at cccrocke@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-7539. For registration questions, please contact the registration desk at (808) 956-8816, fax (808) 956-4437 or email prreg@hawaii.edu.