Dr. Laura Puaca Wins Publication Award From Disability History Association

History professor recognized for outstanding contribution to disability studies.

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The Disability History Association has selected Dr. Laura Micheletti Puaca for its Publication Award for Best Article / Book Chapter.

Puaca's essay, “The Largest Occupational Group of All the Disabled: Homemakers with Disabilities and Vocational Rehabilitation in Postwar America,” appears in the disability studies collection Disabling Domesticity. Her work examines the hidden history of how homemakers with disabilities were gradually included in the United States vocational rehabilitation system following World War II.

"Because vocational rehabilitation had historically focused on helping male veterans and wage earners enter or resume employment, the inclusion of disabled homemakers not only expanded the system to include women in new ways but also hinged on a recognition of homemaking’s economic importance," Puaca says. "These efforts to revalue women’s work inside of the home, as well as to create accessible houses, paved the way for both the women’s movements and the disability rights movements of the 1960s and 1970s.”

“I am thrilled to see my chapter recognized and to be a part of such an exciting and interdisciplinary field," she adds. "By analyzing the history of vocational rehabilitation through the lens of gender, I have been able to combine my academic interests in history and women’s studies in new and interesting ways."

Puaca is associate professor of history and directs the minor in women's and gender studies and the Hampton Roads Oral History Project.

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