WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (MARCH 20, 2023)—Salem Academy and College, in partnership with Bookmarks, will present author Sami Schalk, Ph.D. on Wednesday, March 29 at 7 p.m. Schalk will present and discuss her second book, “Black Disability Politics,” followed by a book signing. The event will take place in the Shirley Auditorium inside Salem Academy and College’s Elberson Fine Arts Center and is free and open to the public.
“Black Disability Politics” explores how Black cultural workers have engaged disability as a social and political issue differently than the mainstream, white-dominated disability rights movement. In doing so, Schalk argues that Black disability politics take on different qualities.
The book explores how issues of disability have been and continue to be central to Black activism from the 1970s to the present. Schalk points out in her book that issues of disability have not been recognized as part of the legacy of disability justice and liberation because Black disability politics differ in language and approach from the mainstream white-dominant disability rights movement.
Drawing on the archives of the Black Panther Party and the National Black Women’s Health Project alongside interviews with contemporary Black disabled cultural workers, Schalk identifies common qualities of Black disability politics, including the need to ground public health initiatives in the experience and expertise of marginalized disabled people so that they can work in antiracist, feminist and anti-ableist ways. Prioritizing an understanding of disability within the context of white supremacy, Schalk demonstrates that the work of Black disability politics not only exists but is essential to the future of Black liberation movements.
“As we celebrate Women’s History Month, Dr. Schalk’s work demonstrates the importance of viewing both gender and health through an intersectional lens,” said AJ Mazaris, Ph.D., Salem Academy and College Vice President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. “Our work to develop the next generation of health leaders will be enriched through engagement with her scholarship and practice, and we are very excited to welcome her to Salem!”
The event is being presented with support from Salem’s Health Humanities Program, the Center for Women Writers, the Alliance for Disability Advocacy and the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
Schalk (she/her) is an Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She earned her BA in English (Creative Writing) and Women’s Studies from Miami University, her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from University of Notre Dame, and her Ph.D. in Gender Studies from Indiana University. Schalk’s interdisciplinary research focuses broadly on disability, race and gender in contemporary American literature and culture. She has published on literature, film and material culture in a variety of peer-reviewed humanities journals.
Salem Academy and College is the nation’s oldest educational institution for girls and women in the United States. Salem College provides a liberal arts education with a distinctive focus on health across the curriculum and co-curriculum, preparing students to make the world a better,
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