Work in Progress

Check out some of my recent research and presentations below to get a sense of where my work is headed.


Recent Talks & Presentations

April 2020 Interview with UConn Today’s Kenneth Best about the School Shooting Fiction Archive

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. We recorded our conversation for the UConn 360 Podcast, which will be available soon.

Check out the UConn Today article and interview transcript here: https://today.uconn.edu/2020/04/humanities-institute-fellow-examines-archive-school-shootings-fiction/

Look around the beta site for The School Shooting Fiction Archive here: https://www.ssfarchive.org

April 2020 Presentation on Madness in U.S. Television at the Society for Disability Studies Conference SDS@OSU

In early April 2020, I took part in the Society for Disability Studies’s 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

November 2019 Humanities Institute Fellows Talk

I gave a talk titled “Black Feminist Epistemologies & Reparative Justice” at the University of Connecticut’s Humanities Institute on Weds., November 13, 2019.


Writing National Tragedies: Race & Disability in Contemporary U.S. Literature & Culture

I finished my dissertation Writing National Tragedies as a UConn Humanities Institute Dissertation Fellow. You can read a brief description of the dissertation as a whole below.

Click here to read more about Writing National Tragedies

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.

Creative Commons License: These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

These works are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.