All posts by Devva Kasnitz

About Devva Kasnitz

Devva Kasnitz, Ph.D. I trained as a cultural geographer at Clark University and then as a medical anthropologist at The University of Michigan, with postdoctoral work at Northwestern University and at the University of California, San Francisco in health policy and disability in urban and medical anthropology. I have worked in the area of disability studies for the last 34 years while still maintaining an interest in ethnicity and immigration. I was on the founding boards of: the Society for Disability Studies, the Anthropology and Disability Research Interest Group, and the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living, and have mentored a generation of disability studies scholars in the US, Australia, and Guatemala. I have directed research at the World Institute on Disability and the Association of Higher Education and Disability. I am currently Adjunct Professor at the City University of New York in their MA program in Disability Studies. I have received research funding from NIH, NIMH, NIDRR, American Anthropological Association, The Felton Bequest, and Sprint Foundation. I was a 2000 NIDRR Switzer Fellow and am the 2014 recipient of the Society for Disability Studies, Senior Scholar Award. I was the Director of a California independent living center and currently represent disabled citizens on the California state Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee. My current work focuses on speech impairment and the politics of social participation and on disability services in higher education. With Pamela Block, a book on speech impairment is forthcoming. I live in Northern California, behind the redwood curtain, surrounded by my family—most importantly one 10 year old stepson—and by chickens, spinning wheels, looms, and baskets full of fleece, yarn and fiber waiting to become cloth.


The Strange Case of Anna Stubblefield and other Tales of Communication Advocacy and its Discontents

Devva and Susan welcome you to this new resource prompted by the Stubblefield trial. It’s in its infancy and will grow only with your help. We need you to help us identify resources and to add your thoughts to the blogs. This is meant to be a place where we can share an open dialogue about the issues raised when two people get caught up in a maelstrom as Anna and DJ are.

There is not enough information for any of us to know the real truth of what happened. DJ has no voice, nor any current access to any other mode of communication with us, so it will only be the words of others who speak for/about him. This website will not act as another trial. No one, no idea, nor any activity is on trial here, but all are open to critical scrutiny.

There are issues to discuss, no matter what you think of the trial’s verdict. How can a person who is significantly disabled be given a fair opportunity to represent their views when they cannot speak? Can a person have a guardian and be self-determined? Can it ever be consensual for two people with extreme differences in privilege to have sex? What does it say about our society when someone finds it unimaginable that a person not considered disabled could be in love with a person who is considered very disabled? Is there such a thing as disability justice? Have we got the concept of intelligence all wrong?

What do you think? Chime in! You can comment on any of the topical threads. You will find instructions under the “Mission” topic.

Devva Kasnitz, PhD