About Jessie Male
Jessie Male is a nonfiction writer and teacher-scholar with specializations in Disability Studies and Memoir. She is currently the Postdoctoral Associate in Disability Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she teaches, develops programs to support disabled studies and faculty, and curates a speaker series, "Creating a Culture of Access". She has an MFA in Memoir from Hunter College and an MA and PhD in English from The Ohio State University. Her current book project, Disability Memoir: A Study in Pedagogy and Practice, explores the writing and teaching of Disability Memoir by merging personal narrative with literary, rhetorical, and pedagogical analysis.
Jessie's creative writing appears in Guernica, Bustle,
Vol.1 Brooklyn, Refinery 29, BOMB Magazine, and Greatist. Her scholarly and interdisciplinary work is published in Lateral, Palaver Journal, Constellations, and Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Writing. She contributed two entries to the collection Disability Experiences: Memoirs, Autobiographies, and Other Personal Narratives, and has an upcoming article in the second edition of Disability and the Teaching of Writing. She co-edited a special issue of the Journal of Multimodal Rhetorics on "Carework and Writing During Covid," which included over 100 pieces by writing scholars.
She is a 2011 Edward Albee fellow, which supported work on her memoir-in-progress, Mirror Pain.
Jessie's teaching is heavily influenced by Disability Studies pedagogy. Her wider interests include access in online education, and popular culture studies. Jessie has developed Disability Studies curriculum for face-to-face courses and online platforms and is interested in supporting asynchronous and synchronous curriculum at other institutions. She's been featured in Inside Higher Ed and cited internationally for her work in this area.
Jessie previously taught literature and composition courses at Hunter College. From 2018-2022 she was on faculty at NYU Gallatin, where she advised undergraduate and graduate students and taught a fall seminar on Disability Art and Culture, and a spring seminar on Disability Memoir. Jessie has presented work at MLA, AWP, CCCC, and many other conferences across the country. She is available to speak at schools and private organizations on disability and language, representation in media, and other applicable topics.
Jessie is invested in accurate portrayal of disability in film, television and literature, and is available to serve as a consultant and sensitivity reader.
HOW DO YOU GRIEVE DURING AN APOCALYPSE?
Start with a memory.
My Aunt Joyce sits on her bed cross-legged, family surrounding her as if she is royalty. We’ve come on one of the “bad days.” Joyce’s words jumbled in a dialect of pain or pain meds; we could never be sure. Doctors say it’s dementia and that she doesn’t understand what is happening, but I don’t believe them. Read more...
MAKING ONLINE INSTRUCTION ACCESSIBLE:
A STUDENT GENERATED LIST
As of Monday, March 9th, the university where I teach was still open. I knew this could change at any moment. I went into my Disability Memoir class prepared with a prompt and without expectations to cover the required readings. Read more...
TEACHING LUCY GREALY'S “MIRRORINGS” AND THE IMPORTANCE OF DISABILITY STUDIES PEDAGOGY IN COMPOSITION CLASSROOMS
It is the second half of the semester and my students and I are talking about Lucy Grealy’s essay “Mirrorings,” published in Harper’s Magazine in 1993. The piece was later expanded and developed into the highly regarded memoir Autobiography of a Face. The memoir, like the essay that preceded it, addresses Grealy’s diagnosis of cancer at the age of nine, the partial removal of her jaw, and a lifetime of painful procedures in order to “fix” her face. Read more...
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILED, FILENE'S BASEMENT BROUGHT MY MOM AND ME TOGETHER
The first time I went out shopping with my mother, I was only a few months old—too young to remember the experience. My mother pushed my baby stroller from our house in suburban Queens, New York, to the Bloomingdale’s a little less than a mile away, on a trip that would become a weekly routine.
HOW DO TEACHERS TALK TO STUDENTS ABOUT THIS ELECTION?
What does it mean to teach the day after a moment of national crisis? I remember, so distinctly, going to my early morning college classes the day after 9/11. A native New Yorker, I was a freshman at Oberlin College in Ohio, and my whole being was aching for home. Read more...
SUNDAY STORIES: A SIGN
I was sent a sign once.
I was 25 and I was going through what I would later classify as “the great existential crisis of 2009.” I had been living in New York City for four years since graduating from Oberlin College and I had applied to graduate school. I was going to study writing.
SUPPORT FOR DISABLED STUDENTS:
ONLINE TEACHING PRACTICES
As we continue to transition and adjust to online classes, it’s imperative that we maintain support of disabled students—those who have registered with Disability Services, and those who now request accommodation. It’s important to remember that all of our students need accommodations of many kinds, whether “official” or not, and those needs may have suddenly intensified with the change to an online format. Read more...
DUAL LOSS: THE DEATH OF A MENTOR AND THE END OF A GRADUATE PROGRAM
On October 31, 2018, the world lost Louise DeSalvo, acclaimed memoirist, craft scholar, expert on Virginia Woolf, and writer of instrumental texts like Writing as a Way of Healing. I say world, but this should be plural — worlds — for Louise was integral to so many communities. Read more...
STARING BACK, STARING OUT: AN INTERVIEW WITH JILLIAN WEISE
Within twenty-four hours of meeting Jillian Weise for the first time, I was in a wig and dark round glasses, drinking extra-dry martinis in a dive bar, and answering to the name Zosia Zuckerberg (ZZ, for short). It felt like the most natural thing in the world. Read more...
MIRROR PAIN: A DAUGHTER REFLECTS ON HER MOTHER'S LIFE WITH POLIO
The polio strikes when my mother is six years old. Her sister, Jane, is eight. They are living in Chula Vista, California, where my grandfather has taken the family from Brooklyn to escape a charge of embezzlement. Read more...
TELLING AND RETELLING: NARRATIVES OF MOURNING FROM POLIO SURVIVORS
There was Before and there was After. My mother’s stories, those that she told me religiously every night before falling asleep, were divided into B.C., or Before California—the dreaded state to which she swore to never return, where she and her sister contracted polio at the ages of six and eight—and A.C.: After California. Read more...
Presentations, Workshops, and Invited Talks
"Disability Studies and Practices of Care in the Composition Classroom," 2023
Conference on College Composition and Communication, Chicago, IL
"Soliciting and Publishing Multimodal Mess as Activism, "2022
Computers and Writing, Online Panel
"Cultures of Critical Media Access: Toward an Anti-Racist Practice for Transcription and Image Description," 2022
Conference on College Composition and Communication, Online Panel
“Teaching Disability Memoir in the Humanities Classroom,” 2021
Modern Language Association, Online Roundtable
“Interrogating, Responding, Reconfiguring Disability in College Composition,” 2020
Conference on College Composition and Communication, Webinar
“Online Teaching in a Time of Crisis: An Online Pedagogies and Research Seminar,” 2020
Bowling Green State University, Webinar
"Reconfiguring Epistemologies of Pain as Sites of Collaborative Invention," 2020
Conference on College Composition and Communication, Milwaukee, WI (cancelled due to COVID)
Winner of Disability Studies Travel Award
“Creature Feature: Animals in Nonfiction,” 2019
Boston Book Festival Unbound Series, Boston, MA
“Memoirists on Stories not Soley Their Own,” (moderator and presenter) 2019
AWP, Portland, OR
“Universal Design for Learning in the Online Composition Classroom,” 2018
CCCC, Kansas City, MO
“Representation and Reclamation of the Disabled Body in Humans of New York,” 2017
Disability As Spectacle, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA
“Let’s Help Fatima End Bonded Labor: Global Narratives in Humans of New York,” 2016
Midwest Modern Language Association, St. Louis, MO
“Representation and Reclamation of the Disabled Body in Humans of New York,” 2016
Midwest Popular Culture Association, Chicago, IL
“Disability Pedagogy,” 2016
Crip Futurities Conference, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
“Problematic Representations of Disability in Humans of New York,” 2015
Midwest Modern Language Association, Columbus, OH
“Collective Identity and Polio Survivors,” 2015
American Folklore Society Annual Meeting, Long Beach, CA
“On Teaching the R-Word,” 2015
Multiple Perspectives Conference, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
“Speaking Bodies,” 2012
Reading and Panel Discussion, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ
"Accessible Syllabus (Re) Design)," 2023
University of Pittsburgh Composition Program,Pittsburgh, PA
"Supporting Disabled Students in the Writing Center," 2022
University of Pittsburgh Writing Center, Pittsburgh, PA
"Words Matter: Addressing Ableist Language," 2021
Online workshop for corporation
"Disability Studies Pedagogy: A Brief Introduction," 2021
Ohio State Graduate Workshop, co-facilitated by Dr. Margaret Price, Columbus, OH
“Writing the Personal Essay,” 2023
Invited Talk for Advanced Nonfiction Workshop, SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, NY
“Disability Memoir,” 2023
Invited Talk for Disability Studies in Literature and Culture, Pace University, New York, NY
Book Talk with Nadina LaSpina, author of Such a Pretty Girl, 2020
Center for Disability Studies, NYU, New York, NY
"Online Education is Not the End of the World," 2019
Digital Media and Composition Institute, The Ohio State University, Columbus OH
“Reading Good Kings, Bad Kings,” 2017 and 2019
Classroom Visit, Millennium Brooklyn High School, Brooklyn NY
“Disability and Visual Rhetoric,” 2016
Invited Talk for Introduction to Disability Studies, The Ohio State University, Columbus OH
“Disability and Social Identity,” 2016
Invited Dorm Talk, The Ohio State University, Columbus OH
“What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Disability?” 2014
Keynote Speaker for Peace Day, Millennium Brooklyn High School, Brooklyn NY
“Disability and the Arts,” 2010-2012
Panel Discussion, City College, New York, NY
“Developing a Collaboration Between Teacher and College Librarian,” 2011
Presentation at Hunter College, New York, NY