Perhaps it’s serendipity or perhaps it’s the times we live in, but this April 2007 issue of the DHA Newsletter contains an unusual convergence around the theme of veterans. With the recent revelations of the deplorable conditions at the Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital, a spotlight has been shown on the important overlaps between veterans and disability. For the first time in many years, the American news media from the lofty to the low has “discovered” the general neglect that greets persons with disabilities in many institutions, be they military or civilian. To its surprise and consternation, mainstream America is learning about mind-boggling bureaucracy, parsimony, and indignity. Will these exposes lead to greater awareness and improvements for all persons with disabilities? Will this lead to greater interest in disability and its history? What is the relationship between veterans and civilians, and what histories will best help us understand this relationship in its broadest possible context? David Gerber’s thought-provoking feature article about the fraught relationship between disability history and the history of veterans provides real food for thought. Coincidentally, one of our new Board Members studies veterans in World War II Japan, while this month’s “Dispatch from Abroad” comes to us from a graduate student at the University of Helsinki writing his dissertation on veterans in the Colonial-era United States.
This issue of the DHA Newsletter also provides some backstory on the referendum needed before we file as a nonprofit incorporation, discussions of the AHA meeting in Atlanta that includes reflections on ASL and professional meetings, a dispatch on the status of disability history in Europe, some resources for disability history in New Zealand, and much more. Keep the suggestions for articles and information coming!
Professor of History, University of California, Davis
FROM THE PRESIDENT-PROVOCATEUR: THE REFERENDUM….DHA & THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION….LATEST TALES OF THE DISABILITY HISTORY CHAIR
As you will soon learn, if you don’t know already, the DHA is in the process of filing for nonprofit status in the state of California. Many will wonder why this is necessary, especially since at present the comely DHA must surely fly under the IRS radar with our modest budget of less than the cost of one power chair or several hundred white canes or one hundred copies of my second book (hardcover). Click here to read the full text of this article.
MEET THE NEW BOARD MEMBERS
In January two new people joined the DHA Board of Directors. Below they introduce themselves. Click here to read the full text of this article.
THE DREAMS OF INTERPRETATION: REFLECTIONS ON ASL AT THE AHA-ATLANTA 2007
Brian H. Greenwald and Joseph J. Murray
In response to my query, DHA and AHA members Brian Greenwald (Assistant Professor of History, Gallaudet University) and Joseph Murray (Director of the Projects Division at the Ål folkehøyskole and kurssenter for dove in Ål, Norway) discuss the ideal interpreting scenario for professional conferences. Click here to read the full text of this article.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN DISABILITY HISTORY SEEKS CONTRIBUTORS
Facts On File and the advisors for the Encyclopedia of American Disability History are looking for contributors. Click here to read the full text of this article.
SOURCES & (RE)SOURCES
Caveat: not all might be accessible via screenreading software.
Penny Richards (UCLA), our indefatigable collector of articles and information, offers this set of online documents related to disability history in New Zealand. Click here to read the full text of this article.
FANTASY RESEARCH TOPICS
[Note: this feature is the first of what I hope will be regular suggestions for graduate students and others shopping for new short- or long-term topics. We all come across that wonderful snippet of something that if we lived to be a thousand and had a 0-0 teaching load, no personal, financial, or contractual obligations, and a sense of limitless possibilities, we’d write up. Here’s a place you can share those ideas or come to look for inspiration.] Click here to read the full text of this article.
DISPATCH FROM ABROAD: EUROPE
This issue’s dispatch comes from Daniel Blackie, a doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to read the full text of this article.
FEATURE ARTICLE: DISABLED VETERANS AND DISABILITY HISTORY
As anyone who has submitted an article to the American Historical Review knows, your work must pass muster with five and sometimes six peer reviewers. Such was the case with my June 2003 piece, “Disability History: Why We Need Another ‘Other.’” I learned something important from the seemingly incredulous question of one reviewer who in effect commented: “The material all seems relevant, except for the two books on veterans, which seem out of place. The review would be stronger and more streamlined if these were left out.” While this prompted me to address the connections more directly, DHA member David Gerber argues below that historians of disability and those studying veterans remain too detached from one another, thereby missing important opportunities. Gerber is professor and chair, department of history, SUNY Buffalo and author of Disabled Veterans in History (Michigan, 2000). Click here to read the full text of this article.