Phil Smith is, in a nutshell, post-everything—he is SO after that. Formerly a big deal perfesser guy at Eastern Michigan University, he slips disability studies stuff and the occasional cranky rant into courses he teaches, and hopes the bureaucraps and curricula police won’t notice. He was the director of the Brehm Center for Special Education Scholarship and Research, and Head of the Department of Special Education at EMU. Phil received the 2002 Vermont Crime Victim Service Award, the Emerging Scholar Award in Disability Studies in Education in 2009, and the EMU College of Education Innovative Scholarship Award in 2015. He’s been an expert witness in matters related to special education in schools, and has testified before legislative committees on issues related to education, special education, and disability.

Phil’s writing—academic and creative—has been published widely, since 1977. Phil has had 60 papers published in a buncha different journals, including Disability Studies Quarterly, Taboo, Rural Special Education Quarterly, Qualitative Inquiry, Intellectual Disabilities; Review of Educational Research, and Health and Place. He’s published a whole lotta book chapters, and made over 120 presentations and keynote addresses in local, state, national, and international venues.

He studied creative writing at a couple of universities, as well as photography, filmmaking, and education. A poet, playwright, novelist, and visual and performance artist, his creative books include Pomes; Plaze; Hagiography, or the Electron; Keweenaw Bay Songs; machines; doors and walls and windows, and cutting wood.

Phil describes himself azza critical scholar and a whatever-comes-after-qualitative researcher. His academic work includes two books in the Peter Lang Disability Studies in Education series, Whatever Happened to Inclusion? The Place of Students with Intellectual Disabilities in Education and Both Sides of the Table: Autoethnographies of Educators Learning and Teaching With/In [Dis]ability; Writhing Writing, published by Autonomous Press; as well as a textbook entitled, Disability and Diversity: An Introduction.

For more than 25 years, in a variety of contexts and roles, he has worked as a disability rights activist, and served on the boards of directors of a number of regional, state and local organizations, including the Society for Disability Studies, where he was Past President.

He’s mad (but not, mostly, angry) as hell, a walkie, and identifies as disabled. He rides his bicycle a lot, and tries to remember to wear his socks. A life-long Yankee, he lived for a coupla decades in Michigan, and spent as much time as he could beside Lake Superior, where loons, wolves, moose, and bald eagles peeked in the windows of his cabin. Now he lives on the side of a mountain at 1800 feet, in an even smaller cabin, fussing and ranting with his tree and animal neighbors.

A few years ago, he rode around Lake Superior, a trip of a bit over 1100 miles. You can find his journal at https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=tS&doc_id=5677&v=9J

He’s made a coupla silly videos. They’re at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDCyaeLSlJwmt3NiV45z7pHexFSHfM_Th

To see the books he’s got available on Amazon, go to amazon.com/author/drphil

Here’s a blog post he did a while ago, at http://neuroqueer.blogspot.com/2014/04/womanifestivalthe-big0neuroqueer-nodes.html

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Excellent write up, I need to truly improve the
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  2. Hi Phil, I was looking at the EMU website for the Special Education Dept and did not see your name. Have you moved on to bigger and better things? I hope you are doing well.
    Patrick Mies

    • I have moved on from EMU, Patrick – whether to bigger and better things remains to be seen. It seems too soon to retire (there is so much left to be done, experienced)… We’ll see.

      • Hi Phil, may I have your email address? I am teaching two courses at UofM this winter. The courses are similar to SPGN 251. I’d like to ask you a couple of questions, if you don’t mind. patrickmies1@gmail.com

  3. Phil,

    Thanks for 557, and of course for other courses taken with you. 557 put me way ahead on my research to complete my masters. Best to you man!

  4. You were unequivocally my favorite professor while attending EMU. I don’t know if you realize how large of an impact you made on my life, and the way I view those with special needs. Currently, I am working on a doctorate in special education research and that passion stemmed from you and working in your class. You were a wonderful professor, and I try to consider many of the things you taught me to my students. I hadn’t thought of working towards a doctoral degree, but now I feel as if I need to. I am glad that I was always part of “your favorite class” that you just happened to mention prior to handing out teacher evaluations. Loved the talks about Neal Stehenson, and books in general. Thank you for everything!!

    Matthew Carter

  5. Hello Phil,
    I LOVE your writing! I’m 6 pages I’m n to Whatever happened…
    I’m writing a chapter on St Coletta, a segregated school in DC, looking at architecture and intellectual disability. I too would love to email you. Can you reach out to me? Thank you!

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