Patty Douglas

Image of Patty Douglas, a white woman with blue eyes and shoulder length brown hair.

I respect the treaties that were made on these lands and acknowledge that Brandon University campuses are located on Treaty 1 and Treaty 2 Lands, the traditional homelands of the Dakota, Anishanabek, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dene and Metis peoples.

Assistant Professor

University of Toronto, Ph.D., M.A., B.Ed.
Office: Faculty of Education 109
Email: douglasp@brandonu.ca
Phone: 204-727-7486

Pronouns: she/ her

I am an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brandon University. I research and teach in critical disability studies, inclusive education, feminist mothering and (queer) histories of science and care as they relate to education, health and service systems. I focus broadly on challenging deficit understandings of embodied difference and imagining other possible worlds where social justice is at the core. My approach to disability studies is informed by cultural studies, arts-based approaches, new materialism and phenomenology supported by feminist, queer, anti-racist and decolonial studies that take a critical approach. I came to Brandon University after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Re•Vision: The Centre for Art and Social Justice at the University of Guelph where I am a Research Affiliate. I am a member of the Faculty of Graduate studies at Brandon University and Adjunct Member of the School of Social Work Graduate Program at York University. I am a former special education teacher and mom of two sons, one of whom attracted the label autism. My current projects are supported by a SSHRC Insight Grant ReStorying Autism in Education: Advancing the Cultures and Practices of Inclusion and a Brandon University New Faculty grant Disability Studies in Education: A Program Review. This summer I am finishing my first book Autism, Mothering and Ethical Disruptions.

Recent Publications

Lawrence, B., Underwood, K., & Douglas, P. (2020). IECSS Policy Brief No. 9: Reconciling Interests of Children and Economies during the COVID-19 pandemic: Learning from Brandon, Manitoba. Inclusive Early Childhood Service System Project. https://www.ryerson.ca/content/dam/inclusive-early-childhood-service-system/findings/publications/Policy_Brief_9_MAY-21-2020_finalversion.pdf

Douglas, P., Katherine Runswick-Cole, Sara Ryan & Penny Fogg (forthcoming). Mad mothering: Learning from the intersections of madness, mothering and disability. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies.

Rice, C., LaMarre, A., Changfoot, N. & Douglas, P. (2020). Making spaces: Multimedia storytelling as reflexive, creative praxis. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 17(2), 222-239. DOI: 10.1080/14780887.2018.1442694

Douglas, P., Rice, C. & Siddiqui, A. (2020). Living dis/artfully with and in illness. Journal of Medical Humanities, 41, 395-410. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-019-09606-5

Douglas, P. & Klar, E. (2019). Beyond disordered brains and mother blame: Critical issues in autism and mothering. In L. O. Hallstein, A. O’Reilly and M. Vandenbeld Giles (Eds.). Routledge Motherhood Companion. London: Routledge.

Douglas, P., Rice, C., Runswick-Cole, K., Easton, A., Gibson, M., Gruson-Wood, J., Klar, E., & Shields, R. (Advance online publication January 4, 2019). Re-storying autism: A body becoming disability studies in education approach. International Journal of Inclusive Education. https://doi.org/10.1080/13603116.2018.1563835

Gibson, M. & Douglas, P. (2018). Disturbing behaviours: O Ivar Lovaas and the queer history of autism science. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 4(2).  https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v4i2.29579  

Douglas, P., Rice, C. & Kelly, C. (2017). Cripping care: Care pedagogies and practices (Editorial). Review of Disability Studies, 13(4), 1-12. https://www.rdsjournal.org/index.php/journal/article/view/779

Current research projects

What is the Best Policy Mix for Diverse Canadian Families with Young Children? Re-imagining Family Policies (Co-investigator) In spite of recent policy efforts by Canadian federal, provincial, and territorial governments to address disparities among Canadian families, well-documented problems require systemic attention; these include (i) the prevalence of stark gender inequalities in household care work, paid work, and pay equity; (ii) intersectional inequities between households in terms of access to affordable high-quality childcare services, parental leave benefits, and employment policies that support work-family integration; and (iii) the growing precariousness of Canadians’ potential to craft sustainable and habitable lives. These complex problems are being addressed simultaneously, but often separately and partially, by academics, civil society organizations, unions, the public and private sectors, and international organizations. The Reimagining Canadian Family Policies (RCFP) research program was inspired by the view that what is needed to tackle such problems is a unified, interdisciplinary, integrated, multi-sectoral, partnership-based approach to the co-creation and mobilization of knowledges about family policies and families’ policy experiences. This project is a SSHRC Partnership Grant. https://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/results-resultats/recipients-recipiendaires/2020/partnership_grants_2020-subventions_partenerial_2020-eng.aspx

Re•Storying Autism in Education: Advancing the Cultures and Practices of Inclusion (Principal Investigator) is a local and international participatory multimedia arts project in Brandon, MB, SW Ontario and Yorkshire, England exploring autistic people’s, family’s, educator’s and practitioner’s experiences of inclusion within education systems. The project will cultivate new creative and scholarly outputs with significant policy and practice implications through research activities that pursue a central claim: meaningful inclusion requires the fulsome engagement of autistic individuals to rethink normalcy and reorient to autism not as a problem to be solved, but as human variation. This project is an Insight Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. GRANT NUMBER: 435-2019-0129 (2019-2023) @ReStorying https://restoryingautism.com/

Neurodiversity matters: An ethnographic investigation of discourse, practice, and identity (Co-investigator). What kinds of human diversity do we value? This grant explores how people and documents are currently using the term concept, and identity of “neurodiversity”. We will investigate what meanings, associations, and practices of “neurodiversity” reveal about contemporary social relations and discourses. This project is an Insight Development Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/results (2019-2021)

Disability Studies, Inclusion and Education (Principal Investigator), a project making disability studies interventions into inclusive and special education teacher education programs. A special issue on Disability Studies in Education is forthcoming https://cjds.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cjds, and an edited book collection planned. This project is funded by the Brandon University Research Committee New Faculty Research Grant. (2017-2020)

Inclusive Early Childhood Service System project: A longitudinal study of familial viewpoints of early childhood disability services (Co-investigator) http://inclusiveearlychildhood.ca/, a multi-phase project in partnership with the Brandon Friendship Centre investigating family experiences with early childhood disability services. This project is a Partnership Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. GRANT NUMBER: 165720. (2018-2026)

Bodies in Translation: Activist Art, Technology and Access to Life (Co-investigator), http://bodiesintranslation.ca/ is a project exploring disability art, Deaf art, Mad art, aging and e/Elder art, fat art, and Indigenous art, and access to life. We, the researchers, artists, curators, practitioners, and community members on this grant, explore the relationship between cultivating activist art and achieving social and political justice. This project is a Partnership Grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada GRANT NUMBER: 152623 (2016-2024)

Courses Developed

EDUC 04: 748 Autism & Education

EDUC 04:749 Advanced Disability Studies in Education

Courses Taught

EDUC 04:354 Assessment and Evaluation

EDUC 04:356 Social Justice Education

EDUC 04:750 Theories of Inclusive Education

EDUC 04:751 Practices of Inclusive Education

EDUC 04: 748 Autism & Education

Recent Talks

Douglas, Patty. (2020). How a digital storytelling project is changing minds about the problem of autism in schools. BU at the Brandon Public Library Speakers Series, 16th January.

Douglas, Patty. (2019). Re•Storying autism in education. Special Services Administrators Association of Manitoba Pre-Conference, Brandon Manitoba, 27th November.

Douglas, Patty, Carla Rice & Katherine Runswick-Cole. (2019). Critical and creative engagements at the intersection of arts-based research, critical autism and disability studies. Provocations in Critical Disability Studies, iHuman, The University of Sheffield, 8th July.

Recent Panels Organized

Douglas, P. (2019). Re-storying autism: Multi-media storytelling as critical dialogue, Canadian Disability Studies Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 2nd June.

Douglas, P. (2019). Disability studies in education: A call to action (2 panels), Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 3rd June.

Douglas, P. (2018). Re-storying mothering and autism, Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, Florence, Italy, 2nd-4th May.

Douglas, P. (2017). Disability Disturbs: Rethinking the Social (with Katie Aubrecht and Anne McGuire), Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Toronto, ON, 27th-2nd May-Jun.

Douglas, P. (2015). Disability Studies in Educational Spaces: Undoing Capital, Canadian Disability Studies Association – Association Canadienne des Études sur l’Incapacité, Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, ON, 2nd June.

Recent Academic Papers Presented

Gibson, Margaret F. and Patty Douglas. (2019). Claiming Neurodiversity: Autism, Expertise and Resistance. National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, Hilton Garden Square, San Francisco, 16th November.

Douglas, Patty and Margaret F. Gibson. (2019). Multimedia Storytelling as a Vitally Fraught Space of Feminist Disability Resistance. National Women’s Studies Association Annual Conference, Hilton Garden Square, San Francisco, 15th November.

Douglas, Patty, Katherine Runswick-Cole, Sara Ryan and Penny Fogg. (2019). Mad mothering: learning from the intersections of madness, mothering, gender and disability. Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University, UK, 3rd-4th, July.

Douglas, Patty,  Carla Rice, Steacy Easton Meg Gibson & Raya Shields. (2019). Re-storying autism: Multi-media storytelling as critical dialogue. Canadian Disability Studies Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 2nd June.

 Douglas, Patty & Alan Santinele Martino. (2019). The Astonishing Absence of Disability Studies in Education, Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 3rd June.

Douglas, Patty & Margaret F. Gibson. (2019). Conversations at the Intersection of Feminism, Disability Studies and Decolonization: Untangling the Care-violence Binary in Parenting and Disability, Canadian Sociological Association, Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, University of British Columbia, 4th June.

Douglas, Patty & Katherine Runswick-Cole. (2018). Re-storying mothering and autism, Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement Conference, Florence, Italy, 2nd-4th May.

Creative Outputs

Singer, Kat (Director) & Patty Douglas (Producer). (2020). Unquiet Hands (short). Autism on Film. ReelAbilities Film Festival, 24th May. https://vimeo.com/374722896/bd7060d292

Douglas, Patty (Producer). (2016-2021). Re•Storying Autism in Education Video Archive. Produced over 25 videos with 18 more planned in 2020-21 with autistic youth, practitioners, educators and family members (artists and non-artists) on the theme of autism and inclusion (To see a selection go to https://restoryingautism.com/ and click on the ‘Stories’ tab)

 Douglas, Patty (Producer) & Erin MacIndoe-Sproule (Director). (2017). Autism + inclusion (To watch this short documentary, go to https://restoryingautism.com/ and scroll down).