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Roots of Contemporary Issues

Rebecca Ellis

Dr. Ellis is a post-doctoral fellow in the Roots of Contemporary Issues program at Washington State University. She graduated in May 2016 from the University of New Mexico with a doctorate in Latin American History specializing in the histories of gender, labor, and disability in Argentina. Her dissertation, “‘Basically Intelligent:’ The Blind, Intelligence, and Gender in Argentina, 1880-1939,” is one of the first historical analyses of disability in Latin America. It examines the ways that blind leaders and sighted advocates for the blind attempted to differentiate the blind as “safe” in an era of eugenic claims about the dangers of inherited disability. She argues that the contested meanings of blindness created avenues for blind leaders to take control over institutions for the blind and redirect services for the blind around their own goals.

Dr. Ellis conducted research for her dissertation with the aid of a Fulbright International Research Fellowship, the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship and the Latin American and Iberian Institute Dissertation Fellowship. Aspects of her dissertation research will be published in the forthcoming volume Disability and Masculinity from Oxford University Press.

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