University of Delaware

Disability disclosure

Proposals sought for conference on disability disclosure


7:22 p.m., April 4, 2013--Proposals are being solicited for a national conference, “Disability Disclosure in/and Higher Education,” to be held at the University of Delaware's Clayton Hall from Oct. 25-27.

What does it mean to disclose disability in the context of higher education? This conference will engage scholars from across the country in multi- and interdisciplinary conversation and collaboration around this question. More specifically, it will explore disability disclosure, a deeply complex social and cultural phenomenon, as it happens in higher education. 

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The conference comes at a moment when, 23 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, people who grew up with the protection and access provided by the law at their backs are now enrolling as students and populating the academy as professionals and faculty members.

Disability disclosure addresses questions about what bodies are included — and excluded — in constructions of scholarship, teaching and professional activity within colleges and universities. Indeed, as faculty, staff and students engage one another in various ways across the academy, for those with disabilities, the ways and means of disclosing disability, as well as the consequences of disability disclosure, are complex.

The call for proposals is available at, and proposals highlighting any aspect of disability disclosure from a variety of multi- and inter-disciplinary perspectives are due by Wednesday, May 1. 

Confirmed plenary speakers include Mel Chen from the University of California-Berkeley; Alison Kafer, from Southwestern University; Bradley Lewis from NYU; Ellen Samuels from the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Katherine Seelman from the University of Pittsburgh. 

The conference is sponsored by the University of Delaware Center for the Study of Diversity and cosponsored by the University's Diversity Initiative, Interdisciplinary Humanities Research Center, Center for Disabilities Studies and Office of Disability Support Services, as well as the American Psychological Association, the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the Delaware State Council for Persons with Disabilities, the Delaware Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens, the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council and the Association on Higher Education and Disability.

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