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Sona Kazemi

Pronouns: She/Her
Assistant Professor
Race/Gender/Sexuality Studies
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Sona Kazemi Pronouns: She/Her

Assistant Professor

Race/Gender/Sexuality Studies

Specialty area(s)

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies; Race and Ethnicity Studies; Middle East; Theocracy; Iran; Social Justice Education; War and Peace Studies; Critical Prison Studies; State Violence; Political Violence; Human Rights; Qualitative Methods and Advocacy; Adult Education; Disability Studies; Global Studies; Transnationalism; Migration Studies

Brief biography

Dr. Sona Kazemi is an Assistant Professor in the department of Race, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Previously from 2018 to 2022, she held multiple postdoctoral fellowships with the Society of Fellows: Human Rights, Pasts, Presents, Futures, at the Ohio State University where she taught courses in “Global Inequality,” “Global Human Rights” and “Disability Experience in the Contemporary World” and conducted multiple research projects. Also, From Sep 2020 to Apr 2021, Sona was Provost’s Research Justice at the Intersections Fellow at Mills College in Oakland, California. Her first monograph, “Disabling Relations: Wounded Bodyminds & Active Witnessing”, is under contract with Temple University Press and scheduled to come out in 2024. Sona is currently working on her second monograph - tentatively titled “Interdependence, Feminism, and Infrastructure of Care in Prison” and two edited anthologies, one of which is under contract with Canadian Scholars Press. Sona is the Society for Disability Studies’ 2018 recipient of the honorable mention for the prestigious award of Irving K. Zola Award for emerging scholars in Disability Studies. She is currently the associate editor for the Global Ideas' Section at Review of Disability Studies, an International Journal.

Current courses at UWL

RGS 100; RGS 373; RGS 353; RGS 377


Postdoctoral Fellow with the Society of Fellows: Human Rights Pasts and Futures at The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH~Jan 2021- Dec 2022

Research Justice at the Intersections Fellow with the Provost’s Office at Mills College, Oakland, California~Sep 2020 – April 2021

Postdoctoral Researcher of Global Migration, Disability Studies, and Medical Humanities at Mershon Center for International Security Studies and the Department of English at The Ohio State University~Aug 2018 - Aug 2020

PhD, Adult Education and Community Development at the Ontario Institute for studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada~Sep 2014-June 2018

M.A., Critical Disability Studies at the School of Health Policy and Management, Faculty of Health, York University~Sep 2012-Oct 2013

B.A. (Hon), Social Psychology, York University~Sep 2008-Aug 2012


Teaching history

Global Human Right

The Disability Experience in the Contemporary World

Disability, Race, Political Economy, and Gender

Global Migration and Transnational Disability Studies


Research and publishing


  • Disabling Relations: Injured Bodyminds & Active Witnessing (forthcoming, 2024) under contract with Temple University Press.
  • (In Progress) Madness, Interdependence & Care Infrastructures in Political Prison.

Edited Books

  • Co-edited “Disabling States” with Rachel da Silveira Gorman and Louise Tam (forthcoming, 2025) under contract with Canadian Scholars Press
  • (In Progress) Co-edited “Towards a Transnational Solidarity Theory and Praxis: Locating Disability and Feminist Consciousness in the Global” with Hemachandran Karah and Efrat Gold 

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  • Kazemi, Sona, Efrat Gold, Hemachandran Karah, & Mary Jean Hande (invited, forthcoming) “Transnational Disability Praxis: Archiving Survival, Resistance, and Resilience Amidst Ongoing Emergencies” in Cripping the Archives edited by Jenifer Barclay and Stefanie Hunt-Kennedy as part of the series, “Disability Histories” (University of Illinois Press)
  • Kazemi, Sona & Karah, Hemachandran [equal authorship] (invited, forthcoming). “On Universality of Human Rights” in Human Rights Past and Futures as part of a new series, “On Possibility: Social Change and the Arts + Humanities” edited by Shuman, Amy; Hesford, Wendy (Ohio State University Press, 2024)
  • Kazemi, Sona & Gold, Efrat [equal authorship] (invited, forthcoming). “Multiverse of the Living Dead in Fascist Encounters” In a Special Issue of Springer’s SN Social Sciences, titled “Narrative Universes of Disability: An Interdisciplinary Journey”, edited by Sati, Someshwar, Anand, Shilpaa, and Karah, Hemachandran. (Springer, 2024)
  • Kazemi, Sona & Karah, Hemachandran [equal authorship] (invited, forthcoming). “Mobile Immobility: Resisting Walls and Wars” in the Special Issue of the Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) titled “Diagnosing Migrant Experience: Medical Humanities and Transnational American Studies.”
  • Kazemi, Sona (invited, forthcoming) “Iranian Women’s Experiences with State Violence: A Marxist-Feminist Analysis and A Revolutionary Decarceration Pedagogy”. In Rose Ann Torres, Ian Liujia Tian, & Coly Chau (eds.) Asian Canada is Burning: Theories, Methods, Pedagogies, And Praxes (Black Point: Fernwood Publishing)
  • Kazemi, Sona & Karah, Hemachandran [equal authorship] (invited, forthcoming). “Cultural Imperialism and Life of the Mind: A Review of Cerebral Bias in Humanities Pedagogy and Beyond” In Da Silveira Gorman, Rachel & Le François, Brenda (Eds.), Palgrave Encyclopedia of Critical Perspectives in Mental Health. (Palgrave MacMillan)

Book Reviews

  • Kazemi, Sona (2019) “A Review of The Other Mrs. Smith” a novel written by Bonnie Burstow published by Inanna Publications and Education Inc. 2017. 978-1-77133-421-1 at the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies
  • Kazemi, Sona (2015) “A Review of Marxism and Feminism” edited by Shahrzad Mojab published by Zed book (2015) published at the Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies

Published Conference Proceedings

  • Kazemi, Sona (2015) “Untangling Disability and Race—A Dialectic: “Dangerous”, “Different”, and “At Risk” published @ Proceedings of the 34th CASAE Annual Conference 2015


Contribution to Popular Media

  • Kazemi, Sona (2022), “Is Hamid Nouri Mentally Ill?” published by RadioZamaneh Media Production آیا حمید نوری بیمار «روانی» است؟
  • Kazemi, Sona (2020), Hosting A Radio Show, “Disabled People’s Civil Rights Across the Globe,” produced at Radio Pooya
  • Kazemi, Sona (2020) “A patriarchal legal system and culture don’t protect women; rather, they facilitate their murder in the hands of their family men” Published on Radio Zamaneh at
  • Interviewed on Tasvir-e-Iran TV Channel @ 4.00pm on July 24th 2013, Topic: Education, Women, and Community Activism in Toronto
  • Interviewed by a member of the IranWire editorial team, Shahed Alavi for an article covering the suspicious death of a prisoner who was arrested after a prison riot in Iran:



Sona Kazemi, Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, presented "Politics of State’s Recognition of, and Disabling Policies towards, the Disabled" at Disability Impact: The Annual Conference of Interdisciplinary, Intersectional, and International Disability Studies on July 5 at Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool, United Kingdom. The presentation was part of the panel, “Center for Disabilities and Disciplines” with Hemachandran Karah and Saji K. Mathew.

Submitted on: Nov. 6, 2023


Sona Kazemi, Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, presented "Feminist and Queer Critiques of Multiple Empires: A Conversation among Women of Color" at National Women's Studies Association on Oct. 28 in Baltimore, MD. Consisting of four women of color, this roundtable critically analyzed the phenomenon of multiple empires in today’s world. Contrary to the binary understanding of the democratic West leading the fight for human rights against oppressive regimes such as Iran and China, many Western policies, companies, organizations, and scholarship in fact, strengthen the power of authoritarian governments. This roundtable makes an original and significant contribution by unpacking the complex ways in which different imperial forces collaborate in the suppression of feminist and queer resistance in Global South/Third World.

Submitted on: Nov. 6, 2023


Sona Kazemi, Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, authored the chapter "Making Sense of the Disability Autonomy and Collectivity Binary: A Review of Informal Disability Justice Pedagogy (IDJP) across Cultures" in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Social Justice published on Oct. 31 by Routledge. This essay examines the possibility of taking stock of disability justice pedagogy from within communities and cross-cultural settings, while attending to the ways in which disability justice is negotiated as everyday aesthetics across cultures. We call the workings of such everyday learnings concerning disability as Informal Disability Justice Pedagogy (IDJP). This essay emerges out of decades-long teaching, scholarship, activism, and our involvement in social movements, and mentorship across transnational spaces in South Asia, North American, and the Middle East in formal classrooms and informal learning spaces as well as aligning and organizing with several multilingual communities across the globe. In this essay we present two examples of IDJP based on cross-cultural everyday aesthetic while making sense of autonomy and collectivity binary.

Submitted on: Nov. 6, 2023


Sona Kazemi, Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, was interviewed by Emily Pyrek of La Crosse Tribune on April 18. The call for allyship led the association, in partnership with the diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Western Technical College and Viterbo University and UW-La Crosse’s Racial, Gender and Sexuality Department, to form the Women Supporting Women Globally initiative. A series of programs to raise awareness and show solidarity with the women and girls of Iran and Afghanistan, the initiative kicked off last month with a screening of “Persepolis” and will continue Thursday with a talk by UWL assistant professor Sona Kazemi.

Submitted on: April 19, 2023


Sona Kazemi, Race, Gender & Sexuality Studies, was interviewed by Jacob Eilon with i24English of News Channel Interview on March 15. Islamic Republic of Iran arrests TikTokers for dancing without a head covering/veil/hijab while school girls are being attacked by mysterious chemical gases at schools. The "woman life freedom" movement demands an end to the gender apartheid state in Iran. Dr. Kazemi said 'Being a woman and dancing, meaning just living your life and being free, is apparently a sin in the eyes of the authorities."

Submitted on: April 12, 2023

Memberships & affiliations

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