Season 2, Episode 2

Religion & Disability

Religious communities have often been at the forefront of providing services and support for parishioners with varying health, social, and economic needs.  However, this attention to difference has not always translated to a thoughtful encounter with intersectionality and the ways in which ability operates differently across race, gender, and class.  This panel hopes to address questions of access by examining the intersection of disability and religion through a lens that focuses on embodied religious practice and embodiment more broadly.  Moreover, this panel will address how disability and religion provide a novel space to think critically about inclusion and visibility in the political arena, classrooms, and religious spaces. We ask: “How has disability theory and activism opened up new arenas for social protest and political belonging—particularly with regard to religious spaces?” This panel discussion will examine these and other topics in light of what many argue is a renewed attention to neurodiversity, varied abilities, and access in an age of social media and distance learning. Join humanities and social science scholars for a conversation at the intersection of religion, disability, and resistance.

Co-Host: Kenzie Mintus

Kenzie Mintus is Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI. Her research interests include health and aging, with an emphasis on disability as well as chronic illness; much of her research focuses on identifying and understanding health disparities among older adults. In 2017, she was selected as a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan. Mintus serves on several journal editorial boards, including The Journals of Gerontology, Social Sciences, Journal of Aging and Health, Journal of Family Issues, and PLOS ONE. She has published over 20 scholarly articles.


Kenzie's full bio

Co-Host: Sarah Imhoff

Sarah Imhoff is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University. She is broadly interested in religion and the body. Her research asks questions about how bodies and their attributes, such as gender, race, and ability, shaped and are shaped by religion. Underwriting many of her research projects are questions about how embodiment makes religious meaning, and how religious discourse makes bodies. She has written about the meaning of Jewishness in contemporary American contexts and is especially interested in the ways that race, DNA, and medical knowledge shape what it means to be Jewish—or even who is a Jew—today.


Sarah's full bio

Panelist: Daniel Bowman, Jr.

Daniel Bowman, Jr. is Associate Professor of English at Taylor University, Editor-in-Chief of Relief: A Journal of Art and Faith, and author of A Plum Tree in Leatherstocking Country (VAC Poetry, 2012) and On the Spectrum: Autism, Faith, and the Gifts of Neurodiversity (Brazos Press, 2021). His work has appeared in many print and online journals, including: The Adirondack Review, American Poetry Journal, Art House America, Books and Culture, Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), The Midwest Quarterly, The Other Journal, Redactions: Poetry & Poetics, Rio Grande Review, Pyrta (India), Seneca Review, and others.


Daniel's full bio

Panelist: Meredith Olivia Hope

Meredith Hope is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the College of Wooster. She focuses on protective factors that enhance positive social development and health outcomes in minority youth and emerging adults in the United States. Right now, she explores the contributions of religious communities for Black youth and emerging adult development within  high-risk contexts (e.g., racial discrimination and community violence), with specific emphasis on behavioral and mental health outcomes. Dr. Hope also specializes in teaching child, adolescent, and emerging adult development, as well as the psychology of religion and spirituality.


Meredith's full bio

This event took place on October 21st, 2021.

Additional Resources

“Religion &”: Center Conversations on the State of Religion and the Current Moment

“Religion &” is a series of monthly conversations between leading academics and thinkers in multiple fields hosted by the Center to continue these critically important interventions.  Every Third Thursday at 3p ET we discuss a topic that looks at the relationship between religion, the pressing issues of our day, and their impact on the fields we study.

Previous episodes of “Religion &” can be viewed on our YouTube channel.

A JOURNAL OF INTERPRETATION: This semiannual publication explores the interplay between religion and other spheres of American culture.

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