Who We Are
Who We Are
SIG Officers

Disability Studies in Education SIG Leaders (2023-2024)

Name Title Email
Emily A. Nusbaum, Ph.D., Mills College

SIG Co-Chair

Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg, Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University SIG Co-Chair lpo5123@psu.edu 
Katherine Newhouse, Ph.D., New York University SIG Program Co-Chair newhouse@nyu.edu
Casey Woodfield, Ph.D., Rowan University SIG Program Co-Chair woodfield@rowan.edu
Kimiya Maghzi, Ph.D., University of Redlands Secretary/Treasurer Kimiya_maghzi@redlands.edu


Social Media Co-Managers:

Ashley Pollitt, Montclair State University, pollitta@tcnj.edu 

Ananí M. Vasquez, Ph.D., Neurodiversity Education Research Center, avasquez@neurodiversitycenter.org



Emily A. Nusbaum (PhD) is Co-Chair of the DSE SIG, Independent Scholar/Consultant, and Lecturer in Disability Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Nusbaum's areas of research are critical qualitative methodology and disability, partnerships with multiply marginalized community scholars, Disability-Centered Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies, and the epistemological and ontological erasure of disability and its intersections from a range of educational and research contexts. When not working, she is happiest hanging out with her dog, partner, nieces/nephews, and sister, being outdoors, gardening, walking, and making and sharing food. 

Lydia Ocasio-Stoutenburg (PhD) is Co-Chair of the DSE SIG and is Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Ocasio-Stoutenburg's work centers caregiver advocacy, holistic and asset-based supports for students labeled with ID/DD, systems and policy level equity, and Black family and community empowerment. Past-times are spending time with family, writing poetry, and using maker-spaces. 

Dr. Katie Scott Newhouse is a DSE SIG Program Co-Chair and Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Special Education Programs in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University. In her scholarship and teaching, she emphasizes the development of a multimodal pedagogy and/or research methodology drawing from a disability studies in education framework alongside the lens of critical spatial theory to inquire into the educational spaces young people receiving special education programs and services occupy. Her research and teaching aims to show a complicated system at work in the design and maintenance of educational spaces, while always gesturing towards greater accessibility and socially just pedagogy. 

Casey Woodfield (PhD) is a DSE SIG Program Co-Chair and Assistant Professor in the Department of Wellness and Inclusive Services in Education at Rowan University. Her scholarly activities center communication and inclusion as inextricably connected imperatives. Her research explores inclusive education as a vehicle of social justice, with an emphasis on lived experiences of autistic and neurodivergent students who use augmentative and alternative communication. Her research and teaching aim to counter constructed notions of competence and foster educational approaches grounded in the value of disability and neurodiversity. Outside of work, she enjoys time with family and friends, walks with her dogs, and photography. 

Dr. Kimiya Sohrab Maghzi is DSE SIG Secretary/Treasurer and an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of Redlands. Prior to this tenure track position, Dr. Maghzi taught as adjunct faculty at Chapman University.  As a professor and researcher in higher education, she draws upon her experiences in elementary Mild/Moderate Dis/abilities classroom settings in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Saddleback Valley Unified School District, and Westminster Unified. She also draws upon her lived experiences as a mother-scholar and a sibling of an individual with a dis/ability. Dr. Maghzi’s research foci are disability studies, DisCrit, inclusion, literacy, and culturally responsive teaching, and her research method expertise is in phenomenology. She is passionate about education, diversity, justice, dis/ability, and inclusion. Dr. Maghzi is happiest when she feels like she is living a coherent life where family life, service endeavors, and professional endeavors all feel like they are contributing to the betterment of the world and those around her. She also loves to bring joy to those around her by encouraging group singing, crafting, and creating flower arrangements.

Ashley Pollitt is a DSE SIG Social Media Co-Manager and Assistant Professor at The College of New Jersey, has research interests in teacher education and development and equitable teaching formative assessment practices in secondary English Language Arts. When not working, she enjoys practicing yoga, walking outside, reading in the sun, finding new cafes, laughing with family and friends, listening to live music, and completing the daily Wordle.

Ananí M. Vasquez (PhD) is a DSE SIG Social Media Co-Manager and Education Research Officer at the Neurodiversity Education Research Center. Her research interests are in neurodiversity and creativity in education and research methods. Dr. Vasquez draws on creativity theory, disability studies in education, the neurodiversity paradigm, process philosophy, and arts-based inquiry while working with others towards post-oppositional educational transformation. As a former elementary teacher and teacher coach, she combines her experiences in general, bilingual, gifted, and special education(s) to envision an inclusive education. She enjoys family day trips, painting, crafting, baking, dancing, and cloud watching while floating in the pool. 



DSE Tenets & Approaches

DSE Tenets
To engage in research, policy, and action that

  • contextualize disability within political and social 
  • privilege the interest, agendas, and voices of people labeled with disability/disabled people
  • promote social justice, equitable and inclusive educational opportunities, and full and meaningful access to all aspects of society for people labeled with disability/disabled people
  • assume competence and reject deficit models of disability

The purpose of Disability Studies in Education is: to provide an organizational vehicle for networking among Disability Studies researchers in education; and to increase the visibility and influence of Disability Studies among all educational researchers.

Approaches to Theory, Research, & Practice in DSE

Examples of approaches to theory and DSE may include:

  • Contrasts medical, scientific, psychological understandings with social and experiential understandings of disability
  • Predominantly focuses on political, social, cultural, historical, social, and individual understandings of disability
  • Supports the education of students labeled with disabilities in non-segregated settings from a civil rights stance.
  • Engages work that discerns the oppressive nature of essentialized/categorical/medicalized naming of disability in schools, policy, institutions, and the law while simultaneously recognizing the political power that may be found in collective and individual activism and pride through group-specific claims to disabled identities and positions
  • Recognizes the embodied/aesthetic experiences of people whose lives/selves are made meaningful as disabled, as well as troubles the school and societal discourses that position such experiences as “othered” to an assumed normate
  • Includes disabled people in theorizing about disability

Examples of approaches to research and DSE may include:

  • Welcomes scholars with disabilities and non-disabled scholars working together
  • Recognizes and privileges the knowledge derived from the lived experience of people with disabilities
  • Whenever possible adheres to an emancipatory stance (for example, working with people with disabilities as informed participants or co-researchers, not “subjects”)
  • Welcomes intradisciplinary approaches to understanding the phenomenon of disability, e.g. with educational foundations, special education, etc.
  • Cultivates interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the phenomenon of disability, e.g. interfacing with multicultural education, the humanities, social sciences, philosophy, cultural studies, etc.
  • Challenges research methodology that objectifies, marginalizes, and oppresses people with disabilities.

Examples of approaches to practice and DSE may include:

  • Disability primarily recognized and valued as natural part of human diversity
  • Disability and inclusive education
  • Disability culture and identity as part of a multicultural curriculum
  • Disability Rights Movement studied as part of the civil rights movement
  • Disability history and culture and the contributions of disabled people as integral to all aspects of the curriculum
  • Supporting disabled students in the development of a positive disability identity

Future Possibilities

While Disability Studies stretches back for almost thirty years, DSE is a relatively new field, not yet a decade old. Bearing this in mind, scholars in DSE have articulated some areas of further potential study. These include:

  • Constructing a new discourse of disability in education that emphasizes disability in its socio-political contexts and that is respectful of disabled people.
  • Connections, overlaps, and dissonance between DSE and special education
  • Tensions, paradoxes, contradictions, and reticence within education toward conceptualizations of diversity that include disability
  • An intersectional approach to understanding disability at the interstices of class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.
  • Explicit and tangible examples of ways in which DSE under girds classroom practices.


Structure & Governance


The name of the organization is Disability Studies in Education

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