DRIG: Disability Interest Research Group

DRIG Mission Statement

The Disability Research Interest Group (DRIG) is a network of scholars, educators, activists, and practitioners interested in research that theorizes disability as a cultural category and the  everyday life experiences of people with disabilities in different local and social contexts. We are invested in building ties between scholars that contribute to innovation in research pertaining to disability anthropology.

The DRIG believes that – at present – people with disabilities are underrepresented in our field, as both scholars and research participants, and therefore, that disabled people’s experiences are frequently left out of anthropological knowledge production. Thus our mission is to ensure that people studied by anthropologists are not only objects of study but active makers and/or participants in their own history. We shed light on situations of exploitation, oppression and discrimination. Furthermore, we DRIG promote the participation of people with disabilities in the field of anthropological research, and seeks a future for the field that encourages diversity of intersectional identities including race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality, and other forms of social difference.

By bringing researchers together, we seek to educate our colleagues and to foster vibrant anthropological conversations about disability and disability theory in the classroom, at conferences, in informal communication, and in scholarly publications.

2016 Steering Committee of the Disability Research Interest Group

Molly Bloom

Cassandra Hartblay

Elizabeth Lewis

Heather Thomas

The DRIG Travel Award

2016 CfP

The Disability Research Interest Group (DRIG) of the Society for Medical Anthropology of the American Anthropological Association is pleased to announce the annual DRIG Travel Award.


The DRIG Travel Award supports both innovation in research pertaining to the anthropology of disability and the participation of people with disabilities in the field of anthropological research. The DRIG believes that people with disabilities are underrepresented in our field, as both scholars and research participants, and therefore, that disabled people’s experiences are frequently left out of anthropological knowledge production. For this reason, the DRIG seeks to honor the research of emerging scholars examining disability experiences and who critically and ethically engage with disability in local and global contexts. We are offering two $100 one-time awards to honor strong emerging scholarship in Disability Anthropology.


To be considered for one of two $100 awards, please submit the following no later than September 1, 2016:

1. An email including your name, affiliation (or independent scholar status), and contact information;

2. A current CV;

3. The title, abstract, and proof of acceptance for your AAA presentation for the 2016 Meeting in Minneapolis;

4. A statement of no more than 2 pages describing your reason for seeking this award. This statement should include a paragraph about the specific contribution that your work makes to the anthropology of disability/anthropological research on disability.

Please send the application materials to Heather Thomas (thomash@uci.edu), with “DRIG Travel Award Application” in the subject line by September 1, 2016.

Recipients will be selected by the members of the DRIG Steering Committee, and notified by email. The awardees will be selected based on a combination of scholarly merit and need. The award will be presented in check form during the AAA annual meeting.

Past DRIG Award Recipients

2015 – Michele Friedner, Kylie Boazman

Date and Time of DRIG Special Interest Group Meeting at the 2016 AAA

Friday, November 18, 12:15-1:30pm

Please attend! All are welcome.

DRIG Sessions of Interest at the 2016 AAA Meetings

All are welcome. Check back soon for our Sessions of Interest list!