Profile picture of Elizabeth (Betsy) Wheeler

Elizabeth (Betsy) Wheeler

Associate Professor
Director, Disability Studies Minor
Comics and Cartoon Studies, Disability Studies, English
Phone: 541-346-3929
Office: 238 PLC
Office Hours: Spring Term: TR 1:30-3pm in-person (drop-in or appt.) or via Zoom (email for appt.)
Research Interests: American Studies, Comics and Cartoon Studies, Disability Studies, Modernism Studies, Postmodern and Contemporary Literary Studies, Race, Ethnicity, and Indigeneity


I teach, research, and lead in the fields of disability studies, young adult and children's literature, comics studies, post-1945 U.S literature and popular culture, and community-based education. My book-in-progress, HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth, will appear with University of Michigan Press in 2019. The book explores the new public profile of young people with a wide variety of disabilities since the worldwide rights laws of the past 25 years. I explore the consequences of their entering public spaces like nature, school, and fan culture through disability portrayals in contemporary young adult and children's literature, comics, fantasy, blogs, popular culture, and interviews with families and individuals with disabilities. Support for my scholarship has come from the Children's Literature Association, Oregon Humanities Center, and the Center for the Study of Women in Society. 

I am the Director of the University of Oregon Disability Studies Minor, housed in the English Department. To add the minor, click here:

And here's our website:

I also direct the University of Oregon Literacy Initiative, a service learning program based in the English Department which pairs academic courses with internships at local schools and non-profit agencies.

I work with the Shenanigans Theater Company, a performance class which brings together UO students and adults with disabilities from the local community to tell each other stories, create a play, and perform it together. This work is funded by the Williams Foundation, the UO Fund for Community-Engaged Teaching, and a private anonymous donor. To read a feature story about our 2018 production, click here:






Recent Articles:

“Masculinity at the Orthopedic Preschool.” Constructing the (M)other: Narratives at the Intersection of Motherhood and the Politics of Normal. Ed. Priya Lalvani. Peter Lang, forthcoming.

“Runoff: Afroaquanauts in Landscapes of Sacrifice.” Afrofuturism in Time and Space. Ed. Isiah Lavender and Lisa Yaszek. Columbus: Ohio State University Press (New Suns: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Speculative series), forthcoming, 2018.

Co-Authored with Chloë Hughes. “Introduction: Mainstreaming Literature for Young People.” Special Issue on Literature for Young People. The Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 12.3 (Fall 2018). (See attachment below)

"Moving Together Side by Side: Human-Animal Comparisons in Picture Books." Disability Studies and the Environmental Humanities. Eds. Sarah Jaquette Ray and J.C. Sibara. U Nebraska Press, 2017.

"No Monsters in This Fairy Tale: Wonder and the New Children's Literature. "Children's Literature Quarterly 38.3 (Fall 2013): 335- 350.

"Don't Climb Every Mountain." ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 20.3 (Summer 2013): 553-573.

Book Manucript in Production: 

HandiLand: The Crippest Place on Earth. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Corporealities: Discourses of Disability series. 2019. Table of Contents attached.