Between 1 and 5 percent of historians identify themselves as disabled in surveys, a figure that likely excludes many more historians who hesitate to disclose a disability for fear of discrimination or who think of themselves as different, not disabled. Census estimates suggest that between 10 and 20 percent of Americans have a disability. Age, illness, or accident can introduce any member of the profession to the frustrations of looking for an elevator in an inadequately retrofitted building or trying to hear a presenter mumbling into their notes.
The American Historical Association’s Task Force on Disability is gathering information about the status and concerns of historians with disabilities in order to propose concrete, practical solutions for as many of them as possible.
Please participate in our survey so that we may ascertain and assess the issues facing historians with disabilities in graduate school, on the job market, in promotion and tenure, in teaching, research, and service-related activities, as well as overall functioning on campus. With this information, the Task Force on Disability will make formal recommendations to the AHA on how to improve accessibility and accommodations in our field.
The AHA Professional Division sponsored an Open Forum on Disability on Friday, January 4, 2008. Anthony Grafton, the outgoing vice-president of the division, announced that Council has approved the formation of a Task Force on Disability. The three-year task force, made up of representatives from the Professional Division and the Disability History Association, will propose concrete steps the Association can take to better serve historians with disabilities. The formation of the task force is part of the division’s mission to ensure fair treatment of all historians and open access to the profession at every stage.