About Us

Leadership

Co-Organizers

  • Christine Ballengee-Morris - Coordinator of the American Indian Studies Program, Professor in the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy
  • Lynn Itagaki - Coordinator of the Asian American Studies Program, Assistant Professor in the Department of English
  • Miranda Martinez and Theresa Delgadillo - Coordinator of the Latina/o Studies Program, Associate Professor in the Department of Comparative Studies
  • Joe Ponce - Coordinator of the Sexuality Studies Program, Associate Professor in the Department of English
  • Margaret Price - Coordinator of the Disability Studies Program, Associate Professor in the Department of English
  • Amy Shuman - Director of DISCO, Professor in the Department of English

Mission

DISCO is a collaborative intellectual venture at Ohio State that explores the multiple dimensions of identity, culture, social difference, and power within our increasingly complex national and global worlds. Its goal is to foster understanding about the possibilities and complications of social differences related to gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, dis/ability, etc., and their intersections. DISCO thus offers a variety of opportunities for faculty, students, staff, and the community to come together to discuss innovative research and teaching in these areas. It is our belief that interdisciplinary, intersectional, cross-cultural, and comparative methodologies provide significant vantage points from which to understand the visible and invisible borders and barriers that divide and marginalize people, while also offering tools for fostering ethical relationships that bridge those divides. Finally, DISCO advances the notion that academic excellence and diversity go hand in hand and are essential to the growth and sustainability of a vibrant university.

The primary goals of the collective are to:

  • Promote innovative and intersectional research on issues of diversity, identity, and social difference and power.
  • Coordinate and advertise courses and curricula on these issues.
  • Sponsor diversity-focused intellectual and creative programs

History

Organized in 2006, the Diversity and Identity Studies Collective at Ohio State (DISCO) began as an informal collaboration among among eight departments and programs that principally address intersecting issues of gender, race, class, ethnicity, dis/ability, sexuality, and other elements of identity, culture, social difference, and social power.  These eight units included: the Department of African American and African Studies, the American Indian Studies Program, the Asian American Studies Program, the Comparative Ethnic and American Studies concentration in the Department of Comparative Studies, the Disability Studies Program, the Latina/o Studies Program, the Sexuality Studies Program, and the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. DISCO’s initial goals were to bring visibility to our individual programs and departments, support one another’s research, courses, programming, and hiring needs, and find ways to collaborate on activities that were of shared interest across our fields.

During the first few years, DISCO sought various forms of institutional support, including proposing a center, but operated primarily as a flexible, shifting entity mobilized around specific concerns and projects rather than institutional recognition. In 2010, DISCO acquired “Working Group” status with the Humanities Institute, a two-year relationship that enabled the development of research and other intellectual projects among members of the collective.

In fall 2010, four interdisciplinary DISCO programs—American Indian Studies, Asian American Studies, Disability Studies, and Sexuality Studies—became their own administrative unit within the College of Arts and Sciences reporting to the Dean of Arts and Humanities. Latina/o Studies joined this group in fall 2014. Through this administrative structure, the five programs receive institutional support that enables them to pursue their research, teaching, and programming goals both individually and collaboratively.

Since its inception, DISCO has forged close partnerships with other academic departments and diversity units on campus—e.g., the Center for Folklore Studies, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Multicultural Center, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and the Women’s Place—and has created affiliations with faculty, staff, and students across campus. DISCO’s listserv (disco@lists.service.ohio-state.edu) now includes over 300 members. In addition, graduate students belonging to DISCO have formed the DISCO Graduate Student Caucus and have organized events featuring their own research, offered a dissertation writing workshop group, and collaborated with the larger DISCO group.

DISCO has also sponsored several major events for the university community as well as national and international colleagues and partners.


Related Information

For additional information about other diversity related resources available at the university, please go to OSU's diversity website.

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