Jess Waggoner

Position title: Assistant Professor


3414 Sterling Hall

Jess Waggoner headshot

Pronouns:  they/them/theirs
Joint Appointment:  English

Jess Waggoner is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Gender & Women’s Studies and English at UW-Madison. Their first book project explores the intersections between emerging disability social movements in the early twentieth-century and experimental literary and cultural production. Spanning Afro-modernist protests of eugenics and medical segregation, Black women’s anti-psychiatric literatures, Ebony magazine’s early coverage of access and medical technologies, and sexuality in disabled women’s life writing, this project disrupts the centering of white disabled male narratives during this time. In contrast with understandings of disability and health care activism as relatively contemporary phenomena, Waggoner uses a genealogical approach to demonstrate that disability consciousness existed vibrantly in the early twentieth century.

Waggoner’s research and teaching interests span U.S. literature and culture, feminist disability studies, queer and trans studies, health activisms, and African American studies.

Their research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Coordinating Council on Women in History, the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Smith College’s Sophia Smith Collections, and the Modernist Studies Association.

Gen&WS 343:  Queer Bodies

Select Publications: 

Co-editor with Dr. Ashley Mog, “Special Issue: Visionary Politics and Methods in Feminist Disability Studies” for The Journal of Feminist Scholarship. Forthcoming November 2020.

“‘The Seriously Injured of our Civic Life’: Imagining Disabled Collectivity in Depression-era Crip Modernisms” for Modern Fiction Studies. Special Issue “Modernist Fictions of Disability.” Ed. Maren Linett. 65.1. Spring 2019.

‘“My Most Humiliating Jim Crow Experience’: Afro-modernist Critiques of Eugenics and Medical Segregation.”  Modernism/modernity 24.3 (2017): 507-525.

“‘Oh say can you __’ : Race and Mental Disability in Performances of Citizenship.” Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 10.1 (2016): 87-102. 

“Cripping the Bildungsroman: Reading Disabled Intercorporealities in Truman Capote’s Other Voices, Other Rooms.”Journal of Modern Literature 38.1 (2014): 56-72.  Special Issue on “Disability and Generative Form,” ed. Janet Lyon.