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Histories of Disability

Detail from Crip Contingent Banner, photographed by Liz Henry. This photograph depicts a group of people, some of whom use wheelchairs or other assistive devices, parading for disability rights in the Oakland Women’s March on January 17, 2017. Several individuals at the head of the group carry a large banner that reads, “American Dream Must Be Accessible.” Reproduced under Creative Commons License.

Thirty years ago year this summer, the Americans with Disabilities Act became law. To observe this anniversary, Process: a blog for American history invites submissions about all aspects of the history of disability in the United States. We urge authors to think broadly about disability and about how both lived experiences and definitions of disability have changed over time. We hope to receive essays that explore the intersections of disability and ethnicity, race, gender, sexuality, and class—as well as materials that investigate the nature and operation of ableism—throughout U.S. history. We particularly encourage pieces that examine the social, political, and legislative histories of the ADA, both before its enactment and after. We also seek historical analysis of disability and pandemics or other public health crises pertinent to this COVID moment. We welcome contributions from anyone engaged in the practice of U.S. history, including researchers, teachers, graduate students, archivists, curators, public historians, digital scholars, activists, and others. Submissions should be written for a public readership and should generally not exceed 1500 words. Proposals and drafts may be emailed to Process is a blog of the Journal of American History and the Organization of American Historians.