School of Interdisciplinary Studies Disability StudiesCollege of Liberal Arts


The Purdue Liberal Arts minor in critical disability studies draws on the disciplines of sociology, anthropology, history, political science, philosophy, visual and performing arts, and literary studies, and is related to gender studies, postcolonial studies, and ethnic studies. Current faculty include:

Maren Linett

Department of English, Director of Critical Disability Studies

Professor Linett has been teaching courses in critical disability studies in the English department since 2011. Her second book, Bodies of Modernism: Physical Disability in Transatlantic Modernist Fiction was recently published by the University of Michigan Press. She is serving a three-year term on the editorial board of Disability Studies Quarterly and her article on madness in Rebecca West's novel The Return of the Soldier won the 2014 Tyler Riggs Prize for best literary article published in Disability Studies Quarterly in 2013. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, Professor Linett teaches Introduction to Disability Studies and Topics in Disability Studies.

Sherylyn Briller

Department of Anthropology

Professor Briller is an applied cultural and medical anthropologist who has conducted research in Mongolia and the United States. Her work focuses on aging, disability, life course, global health and end-of-life issues. She is a Faculty Associate in the Center on Aging and the Life Course. She co-authored a book series Creating Successful Dementia Care Settings (Health Professions Press) and co-edited End-of-Life Stories: Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries (Springer). She has also written numerous articles on aging, disability, and end-of-life care in different contexts. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, Professor Briller teaches Anthropology of Aging; Anthropology of Disability; Global Health; and Introduction to Disability Studies.

Yvonne Pitts

Department of History and Program in American Studies

Professor Pitts received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 2006. Her book titled Family, Law, and Inheritance in America: A Social and Legal History of Nineteenth Century Kentucky was published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press.  It explores the tensions and contradictions in the standard of sanity required to write a valid will. Focusing on nineteenth century Kentucky as a legal and geographical border state, it examines questions of moral obligation, free will, and how ordinary people understood their most intimate relationships. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, Professor Pitts teaches History of Madness and the Asylum and Introduction to Disability Studies.

Wendy Kline

Department of History

Professor Kline is the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine and author of Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (Univ. of California Press, 1998) and Bodies of Knowledge: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Women’s Health in the Second Wave (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2010).  She is currently serving on the editorial board of the Bulletin of the History of Medicine and teaches courses that focus on women’s health and the history of medicine. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, Professor Kline teaches Sex, Race, and Science, and other special topics courses on eugenics.


Brad Duerstock

School of Industrial Engineering and School of Biomedical Engineering

Professor Duerstock has appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Industrial Engineering and is a member of the Center for Paralysis Research in the College of Veterinary Medicine. In 2010 he received the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award to establish the Institute for Accessible Science to promote greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in the sciences and engineering. He is a co-editor and co-author of From College to Careers: Fostering Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in STEM. He currently serves on the Committee on Opportunities in Science for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2008 he received the Focus Award in recognition for furthering disability accessibility at Purdue University. 

Sharon Borkowski

American Sign Language Program, School of Languages and Cultures

Ms. Borkowski holds a Master’s degree in Sign Language Teaching/Education from Gallaudet University (May 2014), and has been teaching ASL as a Second Language for over ten years. Before coming to Purdue, she taught at IUPUI, led community classes for non-profit organizations, and provided employee training for private sectors related to ASL and Deaf Culture. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, she teaches American Deaf Community: Language, Culture, and Society.

Angelica Duran

Department of English

Professor Duran specializes in 17th-century literature, teaching in English, Comparative Literature, and Religious Studies. Her first monograph is The Age of Milton and The Scientific Revolution and her current monograph-projects are Milton among Spaniards and Milton in Hispanoamerica. Her edited and co-edited volumes are A Concise Companion to Milton, Mo Yan: Nobel Winner and Global Storyteller, and The King James Bible across Borders and Centuries. Her work in disability studies arises from her inquiry into Milton’s blindness. Among her 30+ chapters and articles, she has published articles on blindness in Mosaic, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies, and Milton Quarterly. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, she teaches Topics in Disability Studies.

Michael Salvo

Department of English

Professor Salvo specializes in Rhetoric and Composition. His research focuses on workplace issues of audience analysis and usability in professional and technical writing and rhetoric, particularly ethical issues related to user-centered and participatory design. His interest in disability studies emerges from a commitment to inclusion and representation with attention to designing spaces with the people who use them (rather than for users). At the graduate level, Prof. Salvo has designed and taught Rhetoric of Access, an intersectional exploration of rhetoric, access to institutions of higher education, and disability studies. For the minor in Critical Disability Studies, he teaches Topics in Disability Studies.

Aparajita Sagar

Department of English

Professor Sagar researches urban space, domesticity and cultural commodities in Africa and South Asia, postcolonial- and feminist-cultural studies, theory, literature and film, third world cities/citizenship; discourses of gifts and sacrifice in the imperial encounter; memory and speed culture; and taste and distinction (aestheticism and consumerism in a transnational context).

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