Southwestern Ontario Disability Scholars Workshop

On Thursday May 23, 2019, the Law, Disability & Social Change Project and Windsor Law will be hosting the inaugural Southwestern Ontario Disability Scholars (SWODS) Workshop. This workshop will bring together scholars from universities in the region to discuss research respecting people with disabilities from interdisciplinary perspectives.
Please find below a list of the participants, their paper titles and biographies.

Thursday, May 23, 2019
8:30 AM registration and breakfast
9:00am – 4:00pm -Workshop

Windsor Law, Farmer Conference Room (room 1111), University & Sunset Avenues

This event is by invitation only.

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Paper Titles & Participant Bios

Madeline Burghardt, Assistant Professor, Disability Studies, King’s University College at Western University

“Uncovering stories of ‘difference’: Complicating popular understandings of Canadian nation-building”

Madeline Burghardt has a doctorate in Critical Disability Studies from York University. Her most recent publication is the book Broken: Institutions, Families and the Construction of Intellectual Disability published by McGill-Queen’s Press, which examines the effects of institutionalization on people labelled with intellectual disability and on members of their families. With an interest in the impact of historical and political conditions on lived experiences of impairment and representations of disability, her current research is an exploration of the lived experiences of thalidomide survivors in Canada.

Pamela Cushing, Associate Professor, King’s University College at Western University, Faculty of Disability Studies

“Shaping a Disability Studies that Resonates with Diverse Undergraduates”

Jay Dolmage, Associate Chair, Undergraduate Communication Outcome Initiative (UCOI), University of Waterloo, Faculty of English Language and Literature

“Academic Eugenics”

I am committed to disability rights in my scholarship, service, and teaching. My work brings together rhetoric, writing, disability studies, and critical pedagogy. My first book, entitled Disability Rhetoric, was published with Syracuse University Press in 2014. Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education was published with the University of Michigan Press in 2017 and is available in an open-access version online. Disabled Upon Arrival: Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race and Disability was published in 2018 with Ohio State University Press. I am the Founding Editor of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. I am currently Professor of English at the University of Waterloo where I am working to create a more accessible future for higher education.

David Ireland, Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law

“The Canadian Jury Trail: Reimagining Jury Composition in an Inclusive Society”

David Ireland graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba in 2010 and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 2011. He has practiced criminal law as both Crown and defence counsel and maintains a practice in criminal defence and public law litigation. In 2016 David was appointed to the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba where he teaches and researches in the area of criminal law and procedure, evidence law, advocacy and preventing wrongful convictions. He is also the Director of the Robson Hall Innocence Clinic, a live intake clinic conducting pro bono post-conviction legal work. David is also the co-editor of the Manitoba Law Journal annual special edition in criminal law as well as co-editor of the criminal law research website, David’s research focusses on criminal procedure and improving the delivery of criminal justice in Manitoba. David is currently a co-investigator on three SSHRC-funded projects: Understanding Justice: Jury Comprehension of Canadian Judicial Charges in the Criminal Law [PI Richard Jochelson; co-investigators David Ireland; Rod Lyndsay; Amy Desroches; Michelle Bertrand]; Jury Representativeness in Canada: Representative or Not? [PI Michelle Bertrand; co-investigators Richard Jochelson; David Ireland]; and Impervious to Change? A Mixed Methods Analysis of Criminal Sexual Assault Complaint Attrition Rates [PI Jane Ursel; Co-investigators Karen Busby; David Ireland; Marlyn Bennett]. David is also a frequent presenter in the criminal justice community, speaking at conferences for judges, lawyers and law enforcement officers.

Laverne Jacobs, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Research & Graduate Studies), University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

“Defining the ‘Worthy Participant’: Disability, Accessibility Legislation, and Aspirations of Equality”

Laverne Jacobs is an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (Research and Graduate Studies) at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law (Windsor Law) in Canada. She is an administrative law scholar who focuses on social inequality, and particularly inequalities experienced by people with disabilities. Her scholarship aims to bridge the gap between public law jurisprudence and public law realities through empirical inquiry. She takes an interdisciplinary approach to her research, using qualitative empirical research methods from the social sciences. She is particularly interested in ethnography and legal anthropology, and in the intersection of law, norms and informal order. She runs a research and public advocacy project called the Law, Disability and Social Change Project at Windsor Law. Through the Project, she, her colleagues and her students conduct law and policy research, host lectures and events and organize community outreach initiatives such as the Disability and Law Learning Series, a series of law and disability information seminars delivered in Windsor Essex-County. Laverne’s full bio is available at:

Ameil Joseph, Assistant Professor, McMaster, School of Social Work

“The subjects of oblivion: subalterity and contemporary technologies of transnational eugenics, sanism, and racial eradication”

Ameil Joseph is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at McMaster University (tenure and promotion to Associated Professor effective July 1, 2019).  He draws on perspectives of critical forensic mental health, postcolonial theory, critical race theory, and critical disability studies in his writing and research. One of the broad areas he has focused on is the confluence of criminal justice, mental health and immigration systems.  He comes to this work with over a decade of experience in the mental health field in areas of assertive community treatment, community-based early intervention, supportive housing, crisis respite, and governance settings.  Ameil has presented across Canada, In the US and in Europe on issues related to racism, critical mental health and social justice and has publications in top journals such as Disability & Society, Intersectionalities, Social Work in Mental Health, Critical Criminology, The Journal of Progressive Human Services, Qualitative Research, Canadian Social Work, and The British Journal of Social Work. Dr. Joseph has been instrumental in the recent establishment of Hamilton’s Anti-Racism Resource Centre.  Ameil is also the author of: Deportation and the confluence of violence within forensic mental health and immigration systems published by Palgrave-MacMillan. A historiographical post-colonial analysis of the practice of deportation in Canada for those identified as “undesirable”.

Jeff Preston, Assistant Professor, Disability Studies, King’s University College at Western University

“Cool Story, Bro: Disability Memetic Histories, Subjectivities and Possibility”

Jeff Preston, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Disability Studies at King’s University College at Western University. Jeff’s research has been funded through an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2006-2007 & 2008-2009), a Joseph-Armand Bombardier CGS Masters Scholarship (2007-2008) and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship (2009-2012). Jeff’s first book, “The Fantasy of Disability”, was just published internationally 2016 by Routledge. A long-time advocate and committed public intellectual, Jeff is a past member of the Accessibility Standards Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Community and Social Services and is a current board chair for Jesse’s Journey, and the vice chair – leadership table of the London For All anti-poverty initiative organized by the City of London and the United Way of Elgin & Middlesex.

Jake Pyne, Postdoctoral Fellow at the College of Social and Applied Human Sciences, University of Guelph

“‘Building a Person’: Legal and Clinical Personhood for Autistic and Trans Children in Ontario”

Jake Pyne is a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Re.Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice at the University of Guelph, where his current research (Dis/Human Others) focuses on the intersection of autistic and trans life. As an advocate in Toronto’s trans community for many years, Jake has worked on projects to improve access to health care, housing and emergency shelter, family law justice, and support for gender independent children and trans youth. Jake’s doctoral research explored thinkable futures for trans youth and brought together transgender studies, critical disability studies, critical autism studies, fat studies, and queer of colour critique.  As of July 2020, Jake will take up a position as an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at York University.

Jen Rinaldi, Assistant Professor, Ontario Tech University (formerly University of Ontario Institute of Technology), Faculty of Social Science and Humanities

“Managing Monstrosity: Population Construction and Control in Securitized Space”

Jen Rinaldi is an Assistant Professor in Legal Studies at the University Of Ontario Institute Of Technology. She earned a Doctoral degree in Critical Disability Studies at York University, and a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the University of Guelph. Her research takes up how non-normative bodies are read, marked, and produced in and through socio-legal discourse. Rinaldi’s interest in abject embodiment ranges from the crippled (or disabled, and especially persons deemed intellectually disabled), to the Mad (persons positioned against and within mental health regimes), to the fat (bodies framed as obese and discriminated against in the interest of public health), to the queer and trans (persons who identify as members of LGBTQ+ communities). She is most fascinated by the task of uncovering law’s affective relationship with embodied subjectivity-how embodied subjects negotiate, are impacted by, and resist bio-political axes invested in their formation.?

Kate Rossiter, Associate Professor, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Health Studies

“Managing Monstrosity: Population Construction and Control in Securitized Space”

Kate Rossiter is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus.  For the past 5 years, Kate’s research has centred around developmental disability and experiences of institutionalization and institutional violence with particular focus on the Huronia Regional Centre.  She is interested in the structural conditions of violence engendered by and within putative care organizations.  Emerging from this work, Kate has co-authored “Punishing Conditions:  Institutional Violence and Disability” with Jen Rinaldi.   Kate’s background combines the critical social scientific study of public health and embodiment with theatre and performance studies.  Kate lives in Brantford, Ontario with her partner and two children.

Tess Sheldon, Assistant Professor and Externship Director, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

“Disability Erasure: The Enforcement of Trespass Legislation Against Persons with Disabilities from Public and Semi-Public Spaces”

Tess Sheldon is an Assistant Professor and the Externship Director at the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor.  She is also a lawyer and has practiced exclusively with Ontario’s legal clinic system, including at ARCH Disability Law Centre and Justice for Children and Youth.

Nicole Markotić, Professor, University of Windsor, Department of English 

“Ageing and Disability in Howl’s Moving Castle”

Nicole Markotić teaches Canadian Literature, Disability Studies, Creative Writing, and Children’s Literature at the University of Windsor. She is author of eight books, including her critical book, Disability in Film and Literature (2016) and her YA novel, Rough Patch(2017). She has edited a book of essays on Robert Kroetsch (2017), and co-edited a collection of essays on film and disability, The Problem Body: Projecting Disability on Film(2010). She is currently working on a book about representations of disability in children’s literature.