Critical Disability Studies Caucus

The Critical Disability Studies Caucus (CDSC) connects scholars engaged in the critical investigation of disability’s central role in American history, society, and culture, and works to increase the visibility and participation of scholars and students with disabilities within American studies. The caucus provides a venue through which scholars of disability can share ideas, build networks to increase disability-related panels at the ASA, and facilitate the development of emerging scholars in the field.

Activities of the caucus include:

  • The annual Critical Disability Studies award for Best Graduate Student Paper

  • Sponsored panels related to the critical study of disability at the annual conference,

  • A business meeting at the annual conference,

  • Collaboration with other ASA caucuses, and

  • Social gatherings and site-specific events for caucus members and ASA members at large.

Graduate Student Paper Award:

The Critical Disability Studies Caucus of the American Studies Association is pleased to announce the annual Graduate Student Paper Award. Graduate students (MA, PhD) who have had papers accepted for the annual meeting may submit for consideration.

Papers may deal with any aspect of disability studies, but we encourage graduate students to ground themselves in current scholarship, for example by: 

  • using disability studies as an epistemology and methodology; 
  • examining disability as a contested category that is constructed through race, gender, sexuality, and geographic location; and 
  • exploring disability studies as a field with multiple genealogies. 

Papers that have been previously accepted for publication are ineligible. The prize includes a certificate and recognition at the annual meeting.

Please submit a single PDF, including the conference paper (3,500 word maximum, including citations and notes), and a cover page including the author’s name, paper title, institutional affiliation, and contact information to one week before the start of the conference.

Congratulations to our past Graduate Student Paper Award winners:

Note: due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we did not give graduate student paper awards in 2020-2022. 


  • Sarah Orsak (Doctoral Candidate in Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University), for "'No Freak of Nature': Capacity, Species, and Freedom in Thylias Moss’ Slave Moth"

    • Honorable Mention: Ka-eul Yoo (PhD Candidate in Literature, University of California Santa Cruz) for “Deformed Ambassadors: The ‘Red’ Threat and U.S. Hansen’s Disease Controlling Policies in Cold War Korea”


  • No award given


  • Emily L Rogers for "Sick and Tired: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and 'Anti-Scientism(s)'”

    • Honorable mention: Ittai Orr for "Robert Montgomery Bird’s Neurodiversity Hypothesis"


  • Jessica Cowing for “Obesity and (Un)fit Homes: Health and Belonging in a Settler Nation”


We call on the ASA board and administration to ensure optimal accessibility in the organization and its meetings. Information about accessibility at the annual conference can be found here. Guidelines for session organizers and presenters on accessibility can be found here.