NEH Postdoctoral Fellow (2018–2020)
Laurel Daen (William & Mary Ph.D. 2016) is the 2018–2020 NEH Postdoctoral Fellow at the Omohundro Institute. Her research focuses on disability, sickness, medicine, and health in the early Atlantic World. She has articles published or forthcoming in the Journal of Social History, the Journal of the Early Republic, and Early American Literature. She has also received several fellowships, including long-term awards from the NEH, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the American Association of University Women, William & Mary’s Office of the Provost, and now the Omohundro Institute.
Laurel’s book manuscript is set to be the first full-length monograph that integrates disability studies and early American history. The work argues that disability informed the earliest structures of governance in America, serving as a key category of both social welfare and exclusion. The project focuses specifically on the early national period as a moment when disability became increasingly bureaucratized and medicalized. Tracing these often contested developments, the book reflects on their consequences for American state-building, medical professionalization, and the rights and opportunities of disabled people.