News and Events

Fall 2021

On hiatus, due to uncertainties over COVID 19

Spring 2020

Professor Krupali Krusche (University of Notre Dame) and Markus Krusche will speak on accessibility and architecture on Tuesday, February 25th from 5-6 pm in the Dooley Room of LaFortune (first floor).  The event is campus-wide and all students/faculty are welcome. Title: "Accessibility for the Differently Abled"  Markus will start the talk with the story of his accident and how he trained his new life in a wheelchair. He then will speak about how wheelchair users experience the word differently. Monica Mesecar, First Year student, will respond. Discussion: How we can be more aware of the ways buildings are built and how spaces and people can negotiate walkability challenges? Poster: Accessibility For The Differently Abled 1

Essaka Joshua (University of Notre Dame) "Disability in Romantic Melodrama" Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 5pm 235 Decio Hall. Reception to follow in Decio English Commons.

Spring 2019

Raul Midón
Since being told blindness meant “you can’t do that,” Raul Midón has spent his life defying stereotypes. He headlined 2016’s Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour and worked with Herbie Hancock, Shakira and Stevie Wonder, even drawing comparisons to Wonder’s vocal and instrumental skill. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter unveils his signature combination of a silky R&B voice, improvisation and percussive guitar playing as he performs hits from his release “Bad Ass & Blind” and more. Students: $10. Faculty/Staff: $32.
Saturday, Jan. 26; 7:30 p.m. at Leighton Concert Hall, DeBartolo Performing Arts Center  

Fall 2018

Time: Wed Oct 3, 2018, 7:00PM - 8:00PM

Location: Jordan Auditorium, Mendoza College of Business

SPEAKER:  Randy Lewis, Founder and President of the Nogwog Fund, an Illinois not-for-profit corporation. He is author of No Greatness Without Goodness which was released in 2014 and was named by Fast Company as one of its “10 New Books You Need To Read This Year”.  

TITLE OF LECTURE:  Why I Hired a Workforce Others Overlooked. 

In 2014 Mr. Lewis launched the Nogwog Disability Initiative to assist businesses and communities in developing and launching disability hiring initiatives that result in a more inclusive and effective workforce for business, improve the well-being of the community and have positive impact for all those involved, with and without disabilities. He has helped senior executives of companies across the country and abroad to launch their own disability hiring initiatives including Lowe’s, P&G, Best Buy, UPS, Marks & Spencer (UK) and Ica (Sweden).

For more information

Spring 2018

Race, Gender, Ability, and Class:
Expanding Conversations in Analytic Theology

May 24-26, 2018 at the University of Notre Dame

Guest Co-Organizer: Michelle Panchuk

Over the past several decades, scholars working in biblical, theological and religious studies have increasingly paid attention to the substantive ways that our experiences and understanding of God and God's relation to the world are structured by our experiences and concepts of race, gender, ability, and class. These personal and social identities and the intersections between them (for better or worse) serve as a hermeneutical lens for our interpretations of God, self, one another and our religious texts and traditions. However, these topics have not received nearly the same level of attention from analytic theologians and philosophers of religion, and so a wide range of important issues remain ripe for analytic treatment. For example, what implications do the social concerns of liberation theology have for the kinds of questions with which analytic theologians and philosophers have more typically been concerned, and vice versa? How might our understanding that suffering and trauma are often inflicted by unjust social structures and religious communities inform our response to the problem of evil? To what extent does the historical use of a particular doctrine as a tool of oppression bear on its truth? How should analytic philosophical explications of doctrinal loci (e.g. creation, incarnation and the imago Dei) shape our understanding and theology of race, ability, gender, and class, and vice-versa? Do these identities circumscribe the kinds of religious experience or religious understanding that one is able or likely to have? The Logos 2018 Workshop will bring together analytic philosophers, scriptural scholars, and theologians/thealogians to discuss these and other aspects of the theological significance of personal and social identities.

The workshop is open to all who wish to attend, but registration is required. Click here for registration details.


Disability in Latin Medieval Philosophy and Theology Conference April 26–28, 2018

McKenna Hall
Notre Dame Conference Center

Spring 2017

The School of Architecture is hosting a visiting speaker on Deaf Space on Wednesday 8th February 4:30-6pm 104 Bond Hall. Details are in the link:

This lecture tells the story of the DeafSpace Project at Gallaudet University—the only bi-lingual university in the world that serves deaf and hard of hearing people through American Sign Language and English. Since 2005, the DeafSpace Project has engaged the Deaf community in “self-discovering” research and design methods used to codify long held cultural traditions of spatial modification into an architectural pattern language and design methodology. Discoveries made through this grassroots approach will be presented along with case studies of completed building projects highlighting design methodologies that attempt to integrate Deaf cultural sensibilities into contemporary project delivery practices. Set against a historical context of embodiment within Modern design practices these works provide a viable alternative to Universal Design solutions that celebrates particularity of place and ways-of-being over universality and that goes beyond legislated accessibility to create an aesthetic that affirms Deaf identity and cultural agency—setting an example for people of all abilities to claim their place in the world.

Fall 2016

Monday November 21

Magda Romanska will speak on "The Bionic Body: Technology, Disability, and Humanism" 5 p.m. in room 100–104 at Notre Dame Conference Center, McKenna Hall. Magda Romanska is a Visiting Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism at Yale School of Drama and Associate Professor of Dramaturgy and Theatre Studies at Emerson College. She is also a Research Associate at Harvard University’s Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. In the past, she has  been Visiting Associate Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and Visiting Associate Professor of Dramatic Arts at Harvard University.

Lecture Description: Historically, performing the role of the disabled has been one of the surest roads to the Oscars. As evidenced by Dustin Hoffman's Rain Man, Tom Hanks' Forrest Gump, Al Pacino's Scent of a Woman, and Daniel Day Lewis’ My Left Foot, portraying disabled characters has been considered one of the most challenging tasks for an actor. Yet, despite—or perhaps because of—the challenge, until very recently, the mainstream iconography of the disabled still operated mostly via stereotypes: the disabled were a plot problem that has to be either cured (in optimistic, inspirational narratives), or disposed of (in heroic, redemptive stories). Like African-American and LGBT characters before them, the disabled characters were often represented as existential metaphors, sentimental symbols, melodramatic and inspirational devises, or narrative props. Drawing on interdisciplinary research from cognitive science, art, film, and disability studies, this project looks at how the concept of the bionic body affects representation of the disabled in contemporary culture (theatre, film, new media) and, in turn, how representation of the disabled body affects the changing boundaries of what is and what isn’t considered ‘human.'  The category of ‘human’ was historically used to circumscribe the boundaries of belonging and the categories of valuation: some groups that were deemed ‘sub-human,’ including the disabled, were so designated for commodification or extinction; however, the technological progress is changing the perception of what the disabled body is and can do: not only do the newest prosthetics no longer mimic ‘human’ bodies, but their capacities put into question the capacities and limits of the non-disabled body.   Voluntary cyborg-like enhancements of the human body redefine previous categories of what is and isn’t a disabled body; in comparison to the technologically enhanced bionic body, every body can be thought of as a ‘disabled’ body. In her lecture, Professor Magda Romanska provides a penetrating and in-depth look at various modern representations of the disabled, answering some of the most pressing questions on the topic. How does the concept of the bionic body affect representation of the disabled in contemporary culture (theatre, film, new media), and, in turn, how does the representation of the disabled body affect the changing boundaries of what is and what isn’t considered ‘human’?  Images:

Friday, November 18

Elizabeth Barnes, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Virginia, will present a talk at 3 p.m. in 140 DeBartolo Hall. The title of her paper is “Gender Realism and Gender Terms”. A reception will follow in Malloy Hall, 2nd floor lounge area. Professor Barnes's latest book, The Minority Body: A Theory of Disability (OUP, 2016), has been recently reviewed in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.

Friday, September 23

The Center for Philosophy of Religion discussion group will discuss “Disability and the Theodicy of Defeat” by Kevin Timpe, William H. Jellema Chair of Christian Philosophy at Calvin College. The group will meet from 10–11:30 a.m. in 220 Malloy Hall. An electronic copy of the paper is available. Hard copies are available on the Center for Philosophy of Religion bulletin board (4th floor, Malloy Hall). Contact Joyce Zurawski, Administrative Assistant, Center for Philosophy of Religion, University of Notre Dame, 418 Malloy Hall.


Spring 2016

Friday, March 18

Elizabeth Barnes, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Virginia will be giving a paper titled "Toward a Value-Neutral Theory of Disability" at 3 p.m. in 126 DeBartolo Hall. Reception to follow: 2nd floor lounge, Malloy Hall.

Wednesday, March 2

At 5 p.m. in 119 O'Shaughnessy Hall, Essaka Joshua will give a paper called "Picturesque Aesthetics: Theorizing Deformity in the Romantic Era." Essaka Joshua is the Director of the College Seminar at the University of Notre Dame, and the Director of the Disability Studies Forum. She is the author of The Romantics and the May Day Tradition (2007) and Pygmalion and Galatea: The History of a Narrative in English Literature (2001). She has published widely on disability and eighteenth and nineteenth-century literature, and, in 2012, was the winner of the Society for Disability Studies’ Tyler Rigg Award for literature and literary analysis.

Wednesday, February 17

At 4:15 p.m. in the Carey Auditorium in the Hesburgh Library, Historian/Activist Alice Dreger will be speaking on "Galileo’s Middle Finger: Why Social Progress Depends on the Protection of Academic Freedom". Alice Dreger is an activist and historian in the area of medical research. In her 2004 book One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal she offers  insights into both the demographically uncommon condition of conjoinment and more widespread social views that equate disability with a loss of "physical integrity" and consequently a loss of freedom, will, and coherent selfhood. Her work on conjoined twins, as well as her work on "intersex" people, forms the basis for her activism, the results of which she describes in Galileo's Middle Finger. Dr. Dreger's talk will  be followed by an extended Q&A period, where audience members can ask about any of her work, past or present. For more information on Dr. Dreger's resignation from Northwestern,

Fall 2015

Call For Papers: Journal of Narrative Theory: Special Issue on Dis/enabling Narratives JNT invites submissions that further the discussion of disabling and enabling narratives from a disability studies perspective. JNT is a forum for the theoretical exploration of individual narrative texts and of the intersections between narrative, history, ideology, and culture more broadly. Essays might engage with topics such as literature and dis/enabling environments and social space, how narratives dis/enable at a structural level, theorizing about narrative using disability studies, dis/enabling subjectivities and inter-subjective experiences, disabling meta/master narratives, dis/enabling discourses, dis/enabling personal narratives and cultural narratives, narratives of overcoming, passing, medicalization, masquerade, complex embodiment, narrative prosthesis, compensation, suppression, inclusion, integration, rehabilitation, normalcy, and activism, narrative wholeness, disabling narrative conventions and enabling counter-narratives. We welcome submissions considering literature of all periods and are especially keen to ensure that some essays in the issue relate to the period before the modern concept of disability emerged in the mid-nineteenth century. Please send two hardcopies of the complete manuscript in MLA style to Prof. Essaka Joshua, Department of English, 356 O’Shaughnessy Hall, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 USA, and email a digital copy to by 1 September 2016. Recommended submission length is 8000 words. Please omit references to the author in the manuscripts to ensure anonymous review. The journal does not accept manuscripts submitted for consideration simultaneously to other publication venues.

Spring 2015

April 22

Regan Brashear is coming to campus to screen her award winning movie FIXED...the Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement as part of the Notre Dame Nanoscience and Technology Nano Impacts program.  Film showing and Panel Discussion (Essaka Joshua [CSEM], Kathy Eggleson [NDnano], Regan Brashear [director/producer of "FIXED"], Oluwafaranmi Okanlami [ESTEEM], Gerald McKenny [Theology], Anna Thompson [Director, DPAC]) on "FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement" Film showing and discussion: Wednesday April 22, 2015, 7pm, The Browning Cinema, DPAC

April 15

The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies is hosting Feargal Ó Béarra from the National University of Ireland, Galway. His talk is titled "The Insane as Individual in Medieval Ireland". It will take place on Wednesday, April 15th at 12:00 PM 1:00PM in 424 Flanner Hall.

April 6

David Finch, "Happily Ever Asperger: Best Practices for Neurologically Mixed Relationships" Thursday April 6, 2015 7:00-8:00pm, Carroll Auditorium, Madeleva Hall, St. Mary's College.

Fall 2014

Wednesday December 3

At 7 p.m., Professor Eva Kittay, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University, will give a talk on "Normalcy and the Good Life" at St Mary's.  The lecture will draw on material from her forthcoming book on intellectual disability. Venue: Student Center Lounge at Saint Mary's College.

Professor Kittay's most recent books include Blackwell Guide to Feminist Philosophy, edited with L.Alcoff (Blackwell, 2007), Theoretical Perspectives on Dependency and Women, edited with Ellen Feder (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003), Love's Labor: Essays on Women, Equality, and Dependency (Thinking Gender Series, Routledge, 1999). Cognitive Disability and Its Challenge to Moral Philosophy, co-edited with Licia Carlson is forthcoming (Blackwell, 2009). She is co-editing a double special issue of Metaphilosophy with L. Carlson forthcoming July and October 2009 and has co-edited, Special Issue of Hypatia: Feminism and Disability with A. Silvers and S. Wendell, and Special Issue of Social Theory and Practice: Embodied Values: Philosophy and Disabilities with R. Gottlieb. Her other books include Metaphor: Its Cognitive Force and Linguistic Structure (Claredon Press, Oxford University Press 1987, 1985); Women and Moral Theory, edited with D.T. Meyers (Rowman and Littlefield 1985); and Frames, Fields and Contrasts, edited with A. Lehrer (Erlbaum, 1992). Her areas of expertise include feminist philosophy, feminist ethics, social and political theory, metaphor, and disability studies. She has taught and published more generally in philosophy of language and normative ethics and social thought. She is a Senior Fellow of the Stony Brook Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care and Bioethics and an Affiliate of the Women's Studies Program.

This will be the annual Edna and George McMahon Aquinas lecture. These lectures are on topics related to the thought of Thomas Aquinas. Some of these topics deal directly with Thomas's own writings; others address questions or themes with which Thomas himself was occupied, but approach them from perspectives that are not necessarily Thomas's own. Webcasts of the McMahon Aquinas Lectures are posted here in order make these lectures accessible to those who cannot attend in person. 

Summer 2014

Michael McDonald, an M.A. student in the Kroc Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, has released two short films aimed at highlighting ableism in Kenya: Stop Ableism: L'Arche Kenya (3 mins) and I am Musa: L'Arche Kenya (4 mins). The project is sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and Hindenburg Systems.

Spring 2014

Thursday, May 8

2:30 p.m. showing of the Exhbition on Blindness by Mary Fashbaugh at The Snite Museum, Notre Dame with the artist. Here is a link to the artist's website

Friday, April 11

5-7:30 p.m. public reception and awards ceremony for MFA Candidates. The reception is in the atrium at the Snite and the awards ceremony is at 6:15pm in the Annenberg Auditorium.

Exhibition on Blindness by MFA candidate Mary Fashbaugh, The Snite Museum, Notre Dame. The exhibition is on the ground floor. There is an installation, a sculpture and a series of photographs. The exhibition runs until May 18th.

Thursday, April 3

5-6:30 p.m. in the Medieval Institute Reading Room, 715 Hesburgh Library

Medieval Studies Interdisciplinary Working Group: Topic: Disability Studies; Presenters: Candida Moss, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, ND Department of Theology; Richard Cross, Rev. John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy, ND Department of Philosophy

The format of the Working Group is designed to meet the above goals. Meeting monthly, each session will feature (at least) two speakers from different disciplines. Each will present for twenty to thirty minutes on the same broad topic or problem, highlighting the insights and approaches that the different disciplines can bring to the question at hand. The presentations will be followed by a discussion among the speakers and the audience. Speakers are asked to circulate either a copy of their talk and/or a text or image before the meeting in order to facilitate discussion. Above all, the Group is meant to be informal, convivial, and heavy on audience participation. Sponsored and supported by ISLA; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Medieval Institute; the Ph.D. in Literature; the Departments of English; History; Romance Languages and Literatures; Art, Art History, and Design; Classics; the Religion and Literature program; the Devers Program in Dante Studies; and Italian Studies at Notre Dame.

Address questions to the organizers: Katie Bugyis,; Hailey LaVoy, The working group’s web site is located at: See here for more details:

Friday February 14

12-1 p.m. 119 O'Shaughnessy, Angel Daniel Matos, PhD English and Gender Studies Graduate Minor Student, Gender Studies Research Workshop. A Site of Struggle and Resistance: Queering Deafness in Brian Sloan's A Really Nice Prom Mess.

Abstract: Portraying a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles in a fashion that would put a soap opera to shame, Brian Sloan’s A Really Nice Prom Mess, at first, seems to be a conventional gay young adult novel and comedy of errors. However, despite its conventionality, few readers have recognized Sloan’s work as being one of the rare young adult novels that portray queer characters who also happen to be disabled: a gay ex-football player who is deaf in one ear, and a gay stripper who is entirely deaf. My discussion will aim to reveal the constructed nature of disability through a queer analysis of A Really Nice Prom Mess. I argue that although these deaf characters are not the focus of Sloan’s novel, their presence serves as a platform that allows one to organically approach deafness through a queer perspective — a platform that enables an unexpected opportunity to add richness and complexity to conversations on disability and the construction of identity. Furthermore, my analysis of this young adult novel will highlight how the queering of deafness emphasizes the potential that human subjects have to approach their bodies as a sites of resistance that challenge normative and condescending categorizations.

Fall 2013

Thursday September 26

5 p.m. Medieval Institute Reading Room (715 Hesburgh Library), Christopher Baswell (Ann Whitney Olin Professor of English at Barnard College and Columbia University), "Performing Authentic Cripples: The Real and the Made Around 1300" Professor Baswell's research has examined the reception of classical literature, particulalry narratives of empire and dynastic foundation, in the vernacular cultures of the Middle Ages. His Virgil in Medieval England: Figuring the Aeneid from the Twelfth Century to Chaucer won the 1998 Beatrice White Prize of the English Association. Most recently, he has undertaken a study of the cultural imagination of disability in the Middle Ages. A short reception will follow the lecture.

Aaron Smith, "Professor Draws on Diverse Interests to Enrich Spanish Lit Studies" in College of Arts and Letters September 14, 2013. News item on Encarnación Juárez-Almendros.

Spring 2013

Wednesday, March 6

Lennard Davis (UIC) more details to follow. Please contact Kevin McCabe with any questions, requests for accommodation and assistance or for more information (

Wednesday, January 30

5-6:30 p.m.: Miguel Romero (Moreau Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame) will be presenting on "Aquinas on Disability and Cognitive Impairment" in DeBartolo 126. Miguel has been an active participant in the Workshop this year, and the lecture will draw on his dissertation, which makes important contributions to the reception and interpretation of Aquinas as well as to theological reflection on cognitive impairment.

Fall 2012

Thursday, November 29

From 5-6:30 p.m. the ISLA-Mellon Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability will have a book event with Professor Alasdair MacIntyre to discuss the implications of Dependent Rational Animals for Disability Studies. Please contact Kevin McCabe for more information ( for more information about ordering books. More details to follow. 

Thursday, November 8

From 5-6:30 p.m. James Fetter, post-doctoral fellow in Political Theory will be presenting work from a current project. More details to follow. 

Thursday September 27

Professor Thomas E. Reynolds' visit to the ISLA-Mellon Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability: "Theological Interventions in the Cult of Normalcy: Taking Account of Disability" from 5–6:30 p.m. in 118 DeBartolo on Thursday September 27th, 2012. Thomas Reynolds is the author of Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality (Brazos Press, 2008) and is Associate Professor of Theology at Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto. His theological work engages recent scholarship in critical theory, continental philosophy, and disability studies, so the lecture should hold great appeal to scholars from a variety of disciplines.

Please contact Kevin McCabe with any questions, requests for accommodation and assistance or for more information (

Thursday, August 30

ISLA-Mellon Workshop on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Disability meets for the first time on Thursday, August 30th 2012 from 5–6:30 p.m. in 119 O'Shaughnessy Hall for a discussion with Richard Cross, The Rev. John A. O'Brien Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department, University of Notre Dame. We will be reading and discussing Professor Cross' recent article, "Disability, Impairment, and Some Medieval Accounts of the Incarnation: Suggestions for a Theology of Personhood" (Modern Theology 27.4). The article should be of great interest to those working in philosophy, theology, history, and contemporary disability studies. Please read it in preparation for the discussion. Contact Kevin McCabe for more information ( 

Essaka Joshua has won the Society for Disability Studies Tyler Rigg annual award for the best paper published in Disability Studies Quarterly in the field of literary disability studies. The award will be presented at the Business Meeting of the SDS on June 20-23, 2012. See the news article.

Essaka Joshua will be chairing a panel at the Society for Disability Studies annual conference in Denver (June 20-23, 2012). The panel is on Disability Arts and Culture. She will be delivering a paper entitled “Opening the closet: Rediscovering accessible drama through the Crip Slam ND Disability Access Project”. Other papers include "Decoding the code of the freaks: A film-in-progress, Carrie Sandahl (University of Illinois at Chicago); “From the lab to the literary and back again: Using disability arts in an interdisciplinary course on representations of HIV/AIDS” Ann Fox (Davidson College), and “Poetry-ing: Feminist disability aesthetics and performance poetry communities” Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor).

Candida Moss will be presenting a paper titled “Christly Possession and Weakened Bodies: A Reconsideration of the Function of Paul’s Thorn in the Flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-10)” in the Disability and the Bible Section of the International Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, July 22-26, 2012, in Amsterdam.

Michael Mawson proposed (and will chair) a panel at the American Academy of Religion conference in November, 2012 in Chicago. The panel is called “Disability and the Christian Tradition.” This will focus on the forthcoming reader by Brian Brock and John Swinton of the same name. The panel is being co-sponsored by the Religion and Disability Group and the Teaching Religion section.

Prof. Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, Chair of the MLA Division on Disability Studies will be chairing a panel on Disability Studies Methodologies at the MLAAnnual Convention in Boston 3-6 January, 2013. The papers include: “Disability Studies: Between Reality and Representation” Allison G. Cattell, University of Waterloo; “Galerie de Difformité: Disability Studies as Interdisciplinary Intervention” Gretchen E. Henderson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; “Beyond Analogy: Disability, Intersectionality, and Supplementarity” Ellen Samuels, University of Wisconsin, Madison; “Approaches to Teaching the Spanish Renaissance from the Disability Studies Perspective” Encarnación Juárez-Almendros, University of Notre Dame. There are further panels at this conference on “Interiorities of disability” and on Disability and Poetic Traditions.

Michael Mawson is giving a paper at the Society of Christian Ethics conference in January, 2013 in Chicago: “When Others Dress You and Lead You Where You Don’t Want to Go: The Challenge of the Elderly for a Theology of Disability.”