Susan Burch is a professor of American studies and a former director of the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Middlebury College. Her research and teaching interests focus on deafness, disability, race, and gender and sexuality in late nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. history. She is the author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to 1942 (2002) and a coauthor, with Hannah Joyner, of Unspeakable: The Story of Junius Wilson (2007). She has coedited anthologies including Women and Deafness: Double Visions (2006), Deaf and Disability Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives (2010), and Disability Histories (2014). She also served as editor-in-chief of The Encyclopedia of American Disability History (2009). She has received an American Council of Learned Societies' Fellowship, a National Archives regional residency fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities and Mellon Foundation grants, and a Fulbright Scholars award. Her most recent work, Committed: Remembering Native Kinship in and beyond Institutions (2021) centers on peoples' experiences inside and outside the Canton Asylum, a federal psychiatric institution created specifically to detain American Indians.
This interactive, multi-modal presentation spotlights the history disability as a concept, lived and relational experience, and a critical lens for understanding our collective past and present in the United States. Key themes, including access, normalcy, citizenship, and justice, provide entry points to reinterpret history in expansive, transformative ways.