Dr. Audra Jennings
Assistant Professor & Director of the Office of Scholar Development
Office: HCIC 2039
Honors 300: Medicine and Society in Modern America (Spring 2015, Spring 2013, Fall 2010)
Honors 300: Disability in America (Fall 2014)
Dr. Audra Jennings directs the Office of Scholar Development and is an assistant professor in the Honors Academy. Her first book, Out of the Horrors of War: Disability Politics in World War II America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, forthcoming 2016), analyzes the ways in which the U.S. state at mid-century defined citizenship around notions of ablebodiedness by examining the American Federation of the Physically Handicapped, a national, cross-disability social movement organization that emerged during the war.
Dr. Jennnings is currently working on two book projects. The first, Rethinking the Disability Rights Movement, which she is writing with historian Felicia Kornbluh, is under contract with Routledge. It extends the temporal and substantive boundaries of the movement and contextualizes it as part of a larger matrix of movements for social change. The second book project examines disability during the New Deal by focusing on the Federal-State Services for Crippled Children program. Established by the Social Security Act of 1935, the program served more than one out of every 300 American children by 1948, providing a wide range of medical services. Dr. Jennings aims to understand the experiences of children who received this care, the drive for the program, and how it fit within broader movements for expanding social insurance. Her articles appear in Disability Histories, eds. Susan Burch and Michael Rembis (Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2014), The Politics of Veterans Policy: Federal Policies and Veterans in the Modern US, ed. Stephen R. Ortiz (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012), and Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas (November 2007). She is the recipient of the 2013 Disability History Association Outstanding Article Award and the James Madison Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government for her article "‘An Emblem of Distinction': The Politics of Disability Entitlement, 1940-1950," which appeared in The Politics of Veterans Policy.
About Dr. Jennings
Dr. Jennings is a native of Sacramento, Kentucky. She received her Ph.D. in modern U.S. history from The Ohio State University (OSU) in 2008. Dr. Jennings is the recipient of the 2006 Harry S. Truman Library Institute Dissertation Year Fellowship, the William Green Memorial Fellowship from the Department of Economics at OSU, and the Presidential Fellowship from the Graduate School at OSU. She also received research and travel grants from the Roosevelt and Truman Libraries and the Graduate School, Department of History, and the Council of Graduate Students at OSU. Additionally, she served three terms as Secretary of the Disability History Association.
Dr. Jennings began her career at Ohio State University, Newark, where she taught U.S. history and historical methods. In 2009, she joined the WKU Honors College. At WKU, she helps students develop strong national scholarship applications and teaches honors seminars on the history of disability, medicine, and modern U.S. history in the Honors Academy. Dr. Jennings received the 2013 Citizens Award from the Student Government Association at WKU for service to the university.
In her free time, she enjoys running, baking, and spending time with her dog Scout.
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