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.

Visit by the Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner-Lecture & Panel Discussion – Jan 15/18

The Law, Disability & Social Change Project  @Windsor Law is pleased to announce two public events on disability rights in honour of a visit to Windsor Law by the Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner, Alastair McEwin.

On January 15, 2018 at 12-1:30pm in the Farmer Conference Room at the University of Windsor Law Faculty, Commissioner McEwin will deliver a lecture titled, “Disability Rights in Australia: Progress over the last 25 years?”

Then, from 5 PM to 7 PM on January 15 in the CAW Upper floor Boardroom, there will be a panel event called, Global Struggles: Working towards Realizing Disability Rights in Canada, Australia and the US, featuring the following speakers:

Alastair McEwin, Australian Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Dr Laverne Jacobs, Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Law, Disability & Social Change Project,  Windsor Law

Mark Cody, Legal Director, Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service

Arlene Dodge, Staff Lawyer at LAW and Member of Walpole Island First Nation (Bkejwanong)

These events are free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP required by Jan 10/18 to:

We welcome you to join us!

Sponsored by:  The Law, Disability & Social Change Project , Windsor Law Disability Club, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada


The Law building is located at 401 Sunset Ave, Windsor, ON N9B 3P4. In the University of Windsor map it is building number 43, circled in the image below. The CAW centre is building number 34 on the University of Windsor map.


Research Assistant Position

Dr L. Jacobs is looking to hire a Windsor Law student as a  research assistant (RA) in the area of law and disability. The successful candidate will work on issues relating to consent and decision-making capacity for adults with various disabilities. They will also have an opportunity to learn about procedure before the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board. It is not necessary to have experience in disability or capacity issues to apply. By the end of the RA-ship, the student will have acquired knowledge and skills in disability law, capacity and procedure before administrative tribunals. The successful candidate must be well organized, thorough, have excellent research and writing skills and also be interested in learning about and working with people with disabilities. The successful candidate must also be able to work independently and with a team. The position requires a max of 10 hours a week and may extend into the summer.

To apply, please send your CV, cover letter and transcripts to Professor Laverne Jacobs – by Thursday, September 28, 2017 at noon. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Lainey Feingold speaks about Structured Negotiation and Digital Accessibility Law & Policy in the United States

Date: Tuesday February 7th 2017

Time: 10:30am – 12:30pm

Location: Farmer Conference Room, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

Refreshments will be provided!

Ms. Lainey Feingold is a U.S. disability rights lawyer and author who works with the blind community on technology, digital, and information access issues. She is widely recognized for negotiating landmark accessibility agreements without filing lawsuits and for pioneering the collaborative dispute resolution method known as Structured Negotiation. Learn more about her here.

Ms. Feingold is coming to Windsor Law to discuss her new book Structured Negotiation, A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits published in the fall of 2016 by the American Bar Association. The book describes the strategy Lainey and her clients have used for two decades to work on accessible technology issues in both the public and private sector.

For more information on this event, please visit:

Lainey Feingold at Windsor Law

or contact


Presented by the Windsor Disability Law Student Society

When: Wednesday November 2, 2016 from 4:30pm – 6:00 pm

Where: Law Faculty Lounge (2nd floor), University of Windsor

Speakers: Dr. Laverne Jacobs, Mr. Peter Best

Come join us at the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law for a discussion about how to make our communities more accessible. Dr. Laverne Jacobs is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate studies at Windsor Law, she offers extensive insight on the interaction between disability and the law. Mr. Peter Best is a local community advocate for inclusive communities and accessible public transit and a recipient of the Windsor and Essex County Influential Advocate Award 2015-16. Our location is accessible and welcomes all interested parties! Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact


Keynote Speaker for Policy and Public Sector Track


Speaker: Laverne Jacobs, Associate Professor, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law

Date: April 28-29, 2016

Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

The Accessible World is the first and one of its kind conference being hosted in Philadelphia, PA that will provide a platform to several students, professionals and researchers to share their work on making this world a more accessible place. This conference will cover six different tracks: Technology, Education, Media, Healthcare, Recreation, and Government Initiatives and will attract nationwide as well as international audience. There will also be lightning talks from several people with disabilities. This two day conference will help the audience stay up to date with the recent advancements in the area of Accessibility and learn ways to keep their organization/community in sync with such advancements.


‘Humanizing’ Disability Law: Citizen Participation in the Development of Accessibility Regulations in Canada

Speaker: Laverne Jacobs, Associate Professor, University of Windsor, Faculty of Law
Date: March 8 – 9, 2016
Location: Paris, France



Date:  Friday, December 5, 2014 (full-day)

Location: Berkeley Law

Hosted by:

  • Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley
  • Canadian Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley
  • Center for the Study of Law and Society (CSLS), Berkeley Law, University of California, Berkeley
  • Disability Studies Cluster and the Diversity and Democracy Cluster of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Windsor Faculty of Law, Canada

Symposium Convener:
Dr. Laverne Jacobs, Fulbright Visiting Research Chair, Canadian Studies & Visiting Scholar, CSLS UC Berkeley & Associate Professor of Law, University of Windsor, Canada

Symposium Planning Committee:

  • Laverne Jacobs, Fulbright Visiting Research Chair, Canadian Studies & Visiting Scholar, CSLS
  • Susan Schweik, Professor of English & Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities
  • Irene Bloemraad, Associate Professor of Sociology & Thomas Garden Barnes Chair of Canadian Studies
  • Rosann Greenspan, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Law and Society


Rights of equality for persons with disabilities have long held the imagination of those aiming to defeat disability discrimination.  During the almost 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed, disability advocates in North America have pushed for the development of additional legal tools such as accessibility standards legislation in Canadian provinces, the continued evolution of domestic civil rights and human rights, and the reception of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  Yet, the struggle continues.

This symposium brings together scholars interested in the field of law to discuss the achievements and the challenges that continue to face persons with disabilities in their social struggle for equality in each of Canada and the US.  A relatively new field, disability legal studies is an inherently interdisciplinary one that challenges us to consider the “disability angles” of the law and the real lived experiences of persons with disabilities (Kanter, 2011).  Questions such as how the law does and should regulate the lives of persons with disabilities, how persons with disabilities can induce change in policy and legislation, and the ways in which the experiences of persons with disabilities are reflected in the law will be explored.  In this symposium, scholars will present research on a variety of issues relating to disability discrimination but which all raise a clarion call for a crisper theoretical and practical engagement between law, persons with disabilities, and society in order to effect social change.   The symposium will showcase and interrogate methods, theoretical and practical perspectives, and research findings in the pursuit of equality through disability legal studies research in the United States and Canada. The papers will be published in a special issue of the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice in 2015, coinciding with the 25 year anniversary of the ADA.

Date: October 17-18, 2014
Location: Stanford Law School

Current Issues in Disability Rights Advocacy

California’s Bay Area is known to be the symbolic founding place of the disability rights and independent living movements. More than 40 years after the springtime of that social awakening, people with disabilities still face a great deal of stigmatization and discrimination in areas of life such as accessibility, education, employment, the right to live independently in the community, raising a family, etc. This panel brings together leading advocates and academics to discuss the latest developments, achievements and barriers regarding the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities in the U.S. and Canada.


•    Arlene B. Mayerson, Directing Attorney, Disability Rights, Education & Defense Fund (DREDF)
•    Stephen Rosenbaum, John and Elizabeth Boalt Lecturer at Berkeley Law and Lecturer in Law, Stanford Law School
•    Laverne Jacobs, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, 2013-14 Canada and Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canadian Studies at UC Berkeley
•    Tom Burke, Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College and Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley
•    Moderated by: Doron Dorfman, JSD Candidate, Stanford Law School




Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Location: Berkeley Law, Moses Hall, Conference Room 223
Speaker: Laverne Jacobs
Sponsor: Canadian Studies Program

RSVP requested by October 13, 2014 by contacting Rita Ross at 510-642-0531, or by emailing Rita Ross at

The Canadian Studies Fulbright Lecture

Rights adjudication occupies a large part of public law analysis and theorizing. At the same time, using adjudication to achieve equality, particularly to vindicate the rights of persons with disabilities, has proven to be a formidable and often dissatisfying exercise. This paper shifts the focus from rights adjudication to the law-making process as a means of providing access to justice and social change, and uses the development of accessibility standards in Ontario as a case study. Since the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act , 2005, the Ontario government has been working towards instituting a proactive approach to regulating disability discrimination, with the goal of full accessibility in the province by 2025. A central and unique feature of this legislation is the required inclusion of persons with disabilities and various stakeholders in consultation processes used to develop the accessibility standards themselves. The Ontario legislation has been followed in Manitoba which has enacted legislation to provide comparable accessibility standards through a similar process.

This study explores how the voices of persons with disabilities are articulated and received in regulatory processes designed to promote equality and combat disability discrimination. Through the use of multiple sources (qualitative interviews with persons with disabilities and with organizations dedicated to disability issues, government records obtained through freedom of information requests, and legal and theoretical analysis), the study aims ultimately to theorize about how persons with disabilities and multi-interest government-appointed committees may interact effectively to further minority rights.



Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Location: Fasken Martineau Classroom, Room 122, Allard Hall, Faculty of Law, University of British Columbia
Speaker: Laverne Jacobs
Co-sponsor: Center for Feminist Legal Studies

Rights adjudication occupies a large part of public law analysis and theorizing. At the
same time, using adjudication to achieve equality, particularly to vindicate the rights of
persons with disabilities, has proven to be a formidable and often dissatisfying exercise. This lecture shifts the focus from rights adjudication to the law-making process as a means of providing access to justice, and uses the development of accessibility standards in Ontario as a case study. Since the enactment of the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act in 2005, the Ontario government has been working towards instituting a proactive approach to regulating disability discrimination, with the goal of full accessibility in the province by 2025. A central and unique feature of this legislation is the required inclusion of persons with disabilities and various stakeholders in a legislated consultation process used to develop the accessibility standards themselves. The legislation has been followed in Manitoba which has enacted legislation to provide comparable accessibility standards through a similar process.

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