About Jessie Male
Jessie Male is a nonfiction writer and teacher-scholar with specializations in Disability Studies and Memoir. She resides in Brooklyn with her husband and rescue dog. She has an MFA in Memoir from Hunter College and an MA and PhD in English from Ohio State. Her dissertation 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 Palaver Journal, Constellations, and Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Writing. Recently, she contributed two entries to the collection Disability Experiences: Memoirs, Autobiographies, and Other Personal Narratives, edited by Thomas Couser and Susannah Mintz.
Jessie is a 2011 Edward Albee fellow, which supported work on her memoir, 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 Education for her work in this area.
Jessie previously taught literature and composition courses at Hunter College, and she is currently on faculty at NYU Gallatin, where she teaches 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 on disability 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.
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...
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.
Presentations & Invited Talks
“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
CCCC, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (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
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 class, 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