DHA Announces Winner of Award for Best Article/Book Chapter

Kathleen Brian's picture

The Disability History Association is delighed to announce that Laura Micheletti Puaca has been selected for the Publication Award for Best Article / Book Chapter. From Michael Rembis, who has chaired the committee since it was created in 2011: “Each year, the committee receives a number of excellent submissions to the DHA publication award, and each year the committee must make difficult decisions about which submissions represent the best scholarship in disability history. This year was no exception. In fact, any of the three finalists could have occupied the top spot. The committee carefully contemplated each of the three finalists down to the last minute. In the end, the final decision was made by the narrowest of margins. It is exciting to see so much innovative work being done in disability history. We hope that you will take the time to enjoy this well-deserved recognition, and we look forward to your future work. Congratulations!”



Laura Micheletti Puaca, “The Largest Occupational Group of All the Disabled: Homemakers with Disabilities and Vocational Rehabilitation in Postwar America,” in Michael Rembis, ed. Disabling Domesticity (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), 73-102.

Comments from our committee:

“[Puaca] analyzes the importance of gender and broader conceptualizations of work.  If much of the definition of disability is tied to gainful employment, this piece really broadens both the definition of disability and that of work itself.”

“Puaca's article is well-researched and well-written. She brilliantly weaves together economic, gender, disability, and policy histories providing new and important insights into the dominant postwar and social movements narratives.”

“This well-written article is an exploration of a little-known yet important chapter of U.S. Disability History: vocational rehabilitation programs for homemakers in postwar America. Puaca brilliantly shows the sometimes surprising ways in which these programs contributed to shaping the nascent disability rights and women’s rights movements.”



Rabia Belt, “Ballots for Bullets?: Disabled Veterans and the Right to Vote,” Stanford Law Review 69 (February 2017): 435-490.

Comments from our committee:

““Ballots for Bullets?” skillfully examines why and how Civil War veterans housed in charitable institutions were systematically disenfranchised. Through a careful reading of a wealth of court cases, state hearings, and newspaper articles, Belt focuses on veterans who experienced mental trauma to challenge the dominant narrative of disabled veterans holding a privileged place among people with disabilities. The result is a major contribution to both Disability Studies and U.S. History.”


Sarah Handley-Cousins, “‘Wrestling at the Gates of Death’: Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain and Nonvisible Disability in the Post-Civil War North,” The Journal of the Civil War Era 6 (June 2016): 220-242.

Comments from our committee:

“A haunting and rigorous examination of the oft-ignored dynamics of non-visible disability in Civil War America. Through the case study of a single Union solider Handley-Cousins traces the contentious process, which sought to demarcate disability from ability via the rubrics of gender, racial identity and the state. Evincing deep archival research with theoretical acumen and a lively and engaging writing style this paper effectively and eloquently blurs the borders of disability.”


Congratulations to all three authors, whose work rose to the top of a very competitive field! The DHA award committee will be evaluating both the Best Book and the Best Article/Book Chapter in 2018.