As scholars of disability and, in many cases, members of the disability community ourselves, we are committed to support for life over property. We come together in solidarity to condemn, in no uncertain terms, the violent threats and intimidation of our brave and brilliant colleague Dr. Sami Schalk, whose book Bodyminds Reimagined: Disability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction (Duke University Press, 2018) is essential reading. We condemn the threats made against our beloved colleague and her home department Gender and Women’s Studies, in which a number of us also teach. We support Dr. Schalk’s admirable service on the board of Freedom, Inc. and her activist participation, activism that directly connects with her current book project on disability politics in Black activism. And we ally ourselves in affirming that all Black lives matter.
Dr. Sami Schalk is an Assistant Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison. She earned her BA in English (Creative Writing) and Women’s Studies from Miami University in 2008, her MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from University of Notre Dame in 2010, and her PhD in Gender Studies from Indiana University in 2014. Dr. Schalk’s interdisciplinary research focuses broadly on disability, race, and gender in contemporary American literature and culture, especially African American literature, speculative fiction, and women’s literature. She has published on literature, film, and material culture, such as the science fiction author Octavia E. Butler, the American Girl brand, and the image of the supercrip in Disability Studies Quarterly, Journal of Modern Literature, Girlhood Studies, Journal of Literary and Culture Disability Studies, Journal of Popular Culture and elsewhere. Dr. Schalk’s first book Bodyminds Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, and Gender in Black Women’s Speculative Fiction was published by Duke University Press in Spring 2018. Within she argues that black women writers of speculative fiction reimagine the possibilities and limits of bodyminds, changing the way we read and interpret categories like (dis)ability, race, gender and sexuality within the context of these non-realist texts. Dr. Schalk’s current research focuses on disability in contemporary black activism, from the 1970s to the present.