College of Arts & Sciences

Disability Studies


José Alaniz | Pat Brown | Sharan Brown | Lance A. Forshay | Sara Goering | Kurt Johnson | Jerry Kessinger | Dennis Lang | Paul Miller | Ilene Schwartz | Anne C. Steinmann | Joanne Wioak

José Alaniz

Dennis Lang Ph.D., Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley, 2003

Assistant Professor, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures
Adjunct, Comparative Literature

M256 Smith, Box 353580

Courses Taught:

Professor Alaniz research interests include Russian culture, death and dying, disability, cinema, eco-criticism and comics. In 2005 the Comics Section of the American Popular Culture Association awarded him the Thomas Inge Prize for Comics Scholarship, for his essay “Death and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond.” His current book projects are Comics and Comic Art in Post-Soviet Russia and Death, Disability and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond.

Selected Publications and Presentations:


Pat Brown

Pat Brown Ph.D., Education, University of Washington

Associate Director, Center for Technology and Disability Studies


Dr. Brown's research interests include issues in the employment of persons with disabilities, mental retardation, disability policy, technology and disability, and adolescent transition from school to employment. She teaches disability policy and transition from school to employment and adult life.


Sharan Brown

Dennis Lang Ed.D., Education, University of Washington, 1991
J.D., Seattle University, 1984

Assistant Professor, Educational Policy and Leadership Studies
Adjunct Faculty, School of Law

261 CHDD, Box 357920

Courses Taught:

My interest in disability studies focuses on legal advocacy as a way to ensure that the human and civil rights of individuals with disabilities are recognized by society and realized by affected individuals. American society, including the legal system, has much to learn from the international law approach to rights and I try to integrate that perspective in the disability studies courses that I teach.


Lance A. Forshay

Lance A. Forshay M.S. Southern Christian University, Montgomery, AL.
B.A. Gallaudet University, Washington, DC., 1992

ASL Lecturer and Program Coordinator

Padelford Hall A215

Courses Taught:

I teach in both the Linguistics Department and Disability Studies Program. I am Deaf and ASL is my native language. I grew up with Deaf parents, Deaf siblings and many in Deaf relatives where capitalized “D” Deaf became part of my cultural identity. I was educated in deaf schools using ASL primarily. ASL has become a great interest for me since I grew up in bi-lingual and bi-cultural family (including my mother’s hearing relatives) and in a school with Englishized signing systems while I used ASL at home. My maternal grandfather, who was a church interpreter, taught “Sign Language” in 1970’s when ASL was not generally recognized yet. I helped him as sign model since I was little boy. All these factors led me into study of ASL as a language and compare its linguistics principles with English. It was not until I attended college when I learned that ASL is a true language with its grammatical structures proving itself as a language. Therefore, I have taught ASL since 1988 in various types of setting including community education, private tutor, churches, high school and community colleges. I am doing a research on ASL fingerspelling system especially with the special rule called Secondary Meaning Fingerspelling Loan Signs. I have done several lectures on this topic.


Sara Goering

Sara Goering Ph.D., Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder

Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Core Faculty, program on Values in Society
Adjunct in Medical History and Ethics

Condon 624

Courses Taught:

My work focuses on the intersection between philosophy, disability, and bioethics, with particular interests in autonomy, prenatal testing, genetic and social justice, and quality of life issues.

Selected Publications and Presentations:


Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson Ph.D., Rehabilitation Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A., Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling the University of Washington

Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine


I am the head of the Division of Rehabilitation Counseling in the department, and director of the U.W. Center for Technology and Disability Studies. My research interests include measurement of outcomes in rehabilitation, participation and employment, secondary conditions, multiple sclerosis, disability policy, technology and disability, and adjustment to disability.

Selected Publications and Presentations:


Jerry Kessinger

Jerry Kessinger M.S.W

Part-time lecturer, School of Social Work


Courses Taught:

My interests lie in community-based services and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities; civil rights, social justice and disability policy at all levels.


Dennis Lang

Dennis Lang B.S.N., M.P.H.

Associate Director, Disability Studies
Rehabilitation Medicine, Auxiliary Faculty


Courses Taught:

I am a member of the Diversity Council's Advisory Committee on Disability Issues, the Standing Committee on Accessibility, the Diversity Minor Advisory Committee and the Advisory Board of the Center for Curriculum Transformation. I co-teach Law, Society and Justice 332 on a regular basis.


Paul Miller

Paul Miller J.D., Harvard Law School, 1986
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 1983

Director, Disability Studies
Henry M. Jackson Professor of Law

Professor Miller’s primary teaching and research interests include disability law, employment discrimination and genetics and the law. His current research projects include genetics, eugenics and disability, employment discrimination, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. He teaches first year torts. Professor Miller arrived at the University of Washington School of Law after spending 12 years in public service in Washington, D.C. He is one of the longest serving commissioners of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency which enforces this nation's employment discrimination laws. He has also served as the White House liaison to the disability community. Prior to joining the U.S. government, Professor Miller was the director of litigation for the Western Law Center for Disability Rights and taught law in Los Angeles, California at Loyola Law School and at UCLA Law School. He began his career as a litigation associate at a Los Angeles law firm. In 2003, Professor Miller received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the CUNY Law School in New York.


Ilene Schwartz

Ilene Schwartz Ph.D., Child and Developmental Psychology, University of Kansas, 1989

Chair and Professor, Special Education, College of Education
Director, Experimental Education Unit

Miller Hall, Box 353600

Ilene Schwartz has worked extensively with children with challenging behavior, autism and other low-incidence disabilities and has expertise in early childhood education, early childhood special education, elementary education, and applied behavior analysis. Dr. Schwartz maintains an active research and training agenda. She is currently the Principal Investigator for the Center for Professional Development in Autism, a federally funded Center grant directed to train teams of service providers to deliver services to students with autism. The national project to provide personnel development to school teams includes a strong focus on school wide positive behavior support, with an emphasis on students who require individualized tertiary interventions. In addition, she is the co-PI on a technical assistance grant to provide services to elementary students with autism (Elementary DATA)and on a model demonstration grant provide positive behavior support to students with the most significant behavioral challenges. Dr. Schwartz frequently works with the State Educational Agency and a number of local school districts on issues regarding students who demonstrate challenging behavior, and was appointed by the governor to serve on a state task force examining services for individuals with ASD. She is currently a member of the Seattle Public School’s Special Education Advisory Committee. She serves on the editorial review board of: Journal of Early Intervention, Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, Journal of Positive Behavioral Interventions, and Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.


Anne C. Steinemann

Anne C. Steinemann Ph.D., Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, 1993

Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Professor, Evans School of Public Affairs

103 Wilson, Box 352700

Anne C. Steinemann specializes in water resources and environmental management, linking science and decision-making. She received the National Science Foundation CAREER Award, in addition to university and national teaching awards. Dr. Steinemann advises governments and industries on water and environmental issues, and directs research funded by NSF, NOAA, USGS, NASA, EPA, and other agencies. She recently published two textbooks: Microeconomics for Public Decisions (South-Western, 2005) and Exposure Analysis (CRC Press, 2006). Her work integrates engineering analyses with expertise in economics, public health, law, and policy. In addition to her faculty appointments at UW, Dr. Steinemann directs The Water Center, an interdisciplinary research center that addresses regional water problems.


Joanne Wioak

Joanne Wioak Ph.D., History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, University of Toronto



Courses Taught:

I teach in the Disability Studies Program, the History Department, and Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at UW Bothell. My PhD is in the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology from the University of Toronto, where I wrote my dissertation on the history of British eugenics in the early 20th century. I continue to research and publish on the history of eugenics in England and America, and am currently involved in the Seattle Disability History Project. Many of my courses on historical and contemporary subjects include a disability studies component. In my science studies classes such as “Biology, Society, and Human Diversity” we explore the interactions between biological knowledge and socio-political ideologies such as racism, sexism, and ableism. I often use science fiction texts from different eras to evaluate public attitudes towards new technologies and bioethical issues, and my students are encouraged to analyze the legacies of the eugenics movement for modern-day developments in human genetics and reproductive technologies. I occasionally teach a core course in the Disability Studies Minor, LSJ/CHID 332 Disability and Society. Topics covered in this introductory survey include the medical vs. social models of disability, the histories and lives of people with disabilities, laws and social policies, human rights and bioethics, and cultural representations in media from literature to reality TV.