Research

Recent Publications

REFEREED ARTICLES
REVIEW ESSAYS
  • Review of Elizabeth J. Donaldson, ed. Literatures of Madness: Disability Studies and Mental Health. Disability Studies Quarterly, vol. 41, no. 1, 2021.
  • Review of Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the NYC Hyperghetto, by Eric Tang, and From the Land of Shadows: War, Revolution and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora, by Khatharya Um, MELUS, vol. 41, no. 3, 2016, pp. 204-207.
WEB-BASED PUBLICATIONS
DISSERTATION

Writing National Tragedies: Race & Disability in Contemporary U.S. Literature & Culture. Click here to read more about my dissertation.

Writing National Tragedies examines the concept of the national tragedy in U.S. multi-ethnic literature, legal documents, and other cultural artifacts from World War II to present. In each chapter, I curate an archive of these documents for a particular collective trauma to consider how race & disability factor into who gets mourned (or ignored) and what’s memorialized (or erased). By analyzing how the state & public describe those affected by trauma, I demonstrate that deeming an event a national tragedy functions as a tool to legitimize certain kinds of violence, particularly against Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color and those whose bodyminds are considered “not normal.” 

We see this, for instance, in the excuse that mental illness causes school shootings. Calls for increased medical surveillance hide the fact that the majority of school (and mass) shooters are “non-disabled” white men with a history of interpersonal violence, while disabled people and people of color are much more likely to be victims AND more likely to be harmed for acting “crazy.” These moments of national tragedy make legible the mechanisms of white supremacy and other acts of state violence — and perhaps also provide the means for effective collective activism against the state. Ultimately, what this suggests to me is that national tragedies are, certainly, traumatic experiences — but they are often not the full story. I finished my dissertation Writing National Tragedies as a UConn Humanities Institute Dissertation Fellow.

Recent Talks & Presentations

  • “Developing Intersectional Disability Pedagogies” at the Society for Disability Studies Conference, 20 April 2021.
    Like many of us, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to make my classroom a space that invites questioning, challenging our own ideas, being vulnerable, and sometimes being wrong. This presentation, “Developing Intersectional Disability Pedagogies,” shares some of my efforts & asks questions about how to address access & accessibility in my courses over the 2020-2021 academic year. As our work has become necessarily digital, I’ve been thinking a lot about the line between access (what is available to our students, how our students engage with materials) and accessibility (what makes our course materials useable, what makes our assignments engaging & meaningful, the way we make our classes interactive & educational). Check out the slides from this presentation here: https://tinyurl.com/StefanSDS21Slides
  • “Digital Pedagogy: Teaching Multi-Ethnic Literature Online” at the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS) Conference, 8 April 2021. See the asynchronous class activity that I shared here.
  • “Sharing the Page: Building Community with Annotation” on Liquid Margins, 22 January 2021.
    Along with Arun Jacob and Andy Boyles Peterson, I was a featured podcast guest on the Hypothesis podcast, Liquid Margins for the episode “Sharing the Page: Building Community with Annotation.” We talked about using Hypothesis as a social annotation & learning tool through #DHReads, the digital humanities reading group on Twitter. 
  • “Humanities Institute Fellow Examines Archive of School Shootings Fiction,” Interview with Kenneth Best from UConn Today, 7 April 2020.
    In March 2020, I met with Kenneth Best for UConn Today to talk about my work at the Humanities Institute. We spoke quite a bit about my ongoing digital project, The School Shooting Fiction Archive. Check out the UConn Today article and interview transcript here.
  • “A Good Place to Be Mad: Moving Beyond Representations of Madness in Popular Culture” for the Society for Disability Studies Conference, 5 April 2020.
    In early April 2020, I took part in the Society for Disability Studies’ conference to share some early thoughts about how we talk about distress in contemporary prime-time television in the U.S. This presentation is part of a longer developing project to think about the effect of popular culture portrayals of disability and madness. Check out my slideshow to get a sense of some of the questions I’m asking: https://tinyurl.com/SDS2020-Stefan-Pres
  • “Black Feminist Epistemologies & Reparative Justice” at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute on 13 Nov. 2019.
  • “Madness & Empathy in School Shooting Fiction and Activism” at the Children’s Literature Association Conference. Indianapolis, 15 June 2019.
  • “Pathologies of Mad Violence: Curating an Archive of School Shooting Fiction,” at the American Literature Association Conference. Boston, MA, 25 May 2019.

Areas of Research & Teaching Interest

  • Activism
  • 20th- and 21st-century multi-ethnic American literature
  • Affect studies
  • American studies
  • Children’s & YA literature & studies
  • Comparative ethnic studies
  • Critical refugee studies
  • Digital humanities
  • Disability & mad studies
  • First-year writing
  • Gun violence
  • Human rights
  • Memory & trauma studies