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The Western

Critical Disability Studies Group

Community Co-Chairs
• Nancy J. Hirschmann, The University of Pennsylvania
• Amber Knight, The University of North Carolina, Charlotte

How to Participate:
If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the following form:

Please note that the form requests your professional email address; this is to assist us in eliminating zoom bombing. Any problems or questions please email the organizers: Amber Knight at and Nancy Hirschmann at

How to Support
WPSA is not requiring any fees or membership dues to participate in its Virtual Communities during the 2020-2021 Pilot Program. Many people are volunteering their labor to make that possible, a model that will not be sustainable if we are to continue offering this program on a more permanent basis.

If you would like to support this initiative now and increase its viability for the future, please consider donating to help pay for administrative and IT costs. We especially invite participants who are not currently dues-paying members of WPSA to contribute. We suggest a sliding-scale of $5-$25 as you are able. You may contribute here:

Community Focus
Critical disability studies, with a focus on theoretical analysis and conceptualizations. We are interested in a wide range of questions and issues pertaining to disability.

Intended Participants
Though we aim at primarily a theoretical focus, we are open to political scientists working in critical disability studies from other subfields of political science. Once our group has met, we will decide collectively about including CDS scholars from other disciplines. Scholars at every professional level are welcome.

The purpose of this group will depend on the preferences of its members, but we have envisioned several aims:
1. The exchange of ideas within the field, through shared readings, commentary on each other’s work, and discussions of trends within the field.
2. Sharing our own work in progress in a collegial and friendly non-competitive setting.
3. Professional development, again through presentation of work as well as peer mentoring and sharing insights about the situation of the field in the political science profession and the academy at large.
4. Developing and expanding our networks of disability scholars within the field.

Kinds of Events Planned
We currently plan to have one Zoom meeting per month, lasting about an hour, to discuss readings of published work by persons outside our group; sharing our work through small workshop-style events; occasional virtual happy hours for the exchange of experiences, survival tips, professional advice, and general networking. Additional events are possible if members want them, including possible meetings of subsets of the group, and/or joint meetings with other virtual communities.

Upcoming Events
Information about upcoming events will be posted here and on the unified Virtual Communities calendar at as events are scheduled. Convert event times to your local time zone at

Monthly Research Workshop
Date: April 23, 2021 Time: 11:30 - 12:45 pm PT
Event Details: Once a month we will host a virtual research workshop for participants who need feedback on disability-related research projects. Contact for Access:
Please email Amber Knight at and Nancy Hirschmann at for any questions and/or to sign up for the email list. A Zoom link will be provided to participants prior to the event.