Thought-provoking essays that explore how disability is named, identified, claimed, and negotiated in higher education settings

Look Inside

Introduction: Disability, Disclosure, and Diversity 1
Stephanie L. Kerschbaum, Laura T. Eisenman, and James M. Jones

I. Identity
Passing, Coming Out, and Other Magical Acts 15
Ellen Samuels
A Hybridized Academic Identity: Negotiating a Disability within Academia’s Discourse of Ableism 25
Shahd Alshammari
Perceptions of Disability on a Postsecondary Campus: Implications for Oppression and Human Love 39
Eduardo Barragan and Emily A. Nusbaum
Feminism, Disability, and the Democratic Classroom 57
Amber Knight
Rhetorical Disclosures: The Stakes of Disability Identity in Higher Education 75
Tara Wood

II. Intersectionality
Bodyminds Like Ours: An Autoethnographic Analysis of Graduate School, Disability, and the Politics of Disclosure 95
Angela M. Carter, R. Tina Catania, Sam Schmitt, and Amanda Swenson
Complicating “Coming Out”: Disclosing Disability, Gender, and Sexuality in Higher Education 115
Ryan A. Miller, Richmond D. Wynn, and Kristine W. Webb
Students with Disabilities in Higher Education: Welfare, Stigma Management, and Disclosure 135
Katherine D. Seelman
“Overcoming” in Disability Studies and African American Culture 149
Wendy S. Harbour, Rosalie Boone, Elaine Bourne Heath, and Sislena G. Ledbetter
Risking Experience: Disability, Precarity and Disclosure 171
Kate Kaul

III. Representation
Postmodern Madness on Campus: Narrating and Navigating Mental Difference and Disability 191
Bradley Lewis
Doing Disability with Others 211
rebecca sanchez
Science Fiction, Affect, and Crip Self-Invention—Or, How Philip K. Dick Made Me Disabled 227
Josh Lukin
Satire, Scholarship, and Sanity; or How to Make Mad Professors 243
Therí A. Pickens
Diagnosing Disability, Disease, and Disorder Online: Disclosure, Dismay, and Student Research 255
Amy Vidali

IV. Institutional Change and Policy
Access to Higher Education Mediated by Acts of Self-Disclosure: “It’s a Hassle” 275
Moira A. Carroll-Miranda
Intellectual Disability in the University: Expanding the Conversation about Diversity and Disclosure 291
Brian Freedman, Laura T. Eisenman, Meg Grigal, and Debra Hart
Accommodations and Disclosure for Faculty Members with Mental Disability 311
Stephanie L. Kerschbaum, Amber M. O’Shea, Margaret Price, and Mark S. Salzer
An Initial Model for Accommodation Communication between Students with Disabilities and Faculty 327
Tonette S. Rocco and Joshua C. Collins
I am Different/So Are You: Creating Safe Spaces for Disability Disclosure (A Conversation) 345
Daisy L. Breneman, Susan Ghiaciuc, Valerie L. Schoolcraft, and Keri A. Vandeberg
Notes 363
Contributors 369
Index 379


Disability is not always central to claims about diversity and inclusion in higher education, but should be. This collection reveals the pervasiveness of disability issues and considerations within many higher education populations and settings, from classrooms to physical environments to policy impacts on students, faculty, administrators, and staff.  While disclosing one’s disability and identifying shared experiences can engender moments of solidarity, the situation is always complicated by the intersecting factors of race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and class. With disability disclosure as a central point of departure, this collection of essays builds on scholarship that highlights the deeply rhetorical nature of disclosure and embodied movement, emphasizing disability disclosure as a complex calculus in which degrees of perceptibility are dependent on contexts, types of interactions that are unfolding, interlocutors’ long- and short-term goals, disabilities, and disability experiences, and many other contingencies.


Stephanie L. Kerschbaum is Associate Professor of English, University of Delaware.

Laura T. Eisenman is Associate Professor of Education, University of Delaware.

James M. Jones is Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Africana Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of Diversity, University of Delaware.


“Joins a growing body of literature on disclosure, passing, and disability identity. Its focus on higher education allows for a deep exploration of theory while also illuminating the processes and implications of disclosure in this setting.”
—Allison C. Carey, Shippensburg University


“Remarkably thorough and bold . . . the book will inform higher education administrators, staff and faculty who reify the ‘progress narrative’ retold about diversity and inclusion, when such accounts rarely consider disabled faculty and students. This book is sure to become a classic resource for many in higher education.”
—Linda Ware, State University of New York at Geneseo


"Negotiating Disability helps to broaden our view of how disability is negotiated and identified within higher education. ...While disability disclosure is often associated with students, this book offers insights into the situation for faculty staff, providing a more complete view of how disability is negotiated within higher education. It can therefore help academics and students negotiate their own disability identity."
Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

- Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies