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Chris Gabbard

Associate Professor

English | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

  • Disability Studies in the Humanities
  • Restoration and eighteenth-century British literature
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Health Humanities


PhD -- Stanford University 1999

MA -- San Francisco State University 1993


Chris Gabbard grew up in Palo Alto, California. From 1983 to 1989, he was the publisher and chief editor of The Short Story Review, the first journal to publish work by Chinese-American writer Amy Tan. He married Ilene Chazan in 1992, and in 1999 he earned a Ph.D. at Stanford University in English literature. He now teaches English at the University of North Florida.

It was while wrapping up his doctoral dissertation at Stanford in 1999 that his son August was born with significant and multiple impairments. The event sparked his interest in Disability Studies in the Humanities. His memoir A Life Beyond Reason: A Father's Memoir grew out of an essay published in 2010 in The Chronicle of Higher Education. August died in 2013; video and pictures of him can be seen at A Boy Named August . Chris and Ilene have one surviving child, Clio. Chris sits on the Board of Directors of the DLC Nurse and Learn in Jacksonville (where his son attended from 2001 until 2013) and uses the music site Augustslist to fundraise for it.


  • 2020, the STARS Best Book Award (STARS: Scholars Transforming Academic Research Symposium)
  • 2017, the Sigma Tau Delta Faculty Appreciation Award (in recognition of his Outstanding Commitment and Dedication to the Art of Teaching)
  • 2016, Liverpool University Press Award for Outstanding Journal Reviewer
  • 2012, Disability Resource Center Professor Empowerment Award


  • American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (ASECS)
  • South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA)
  • Society for Disability Studies (SDS)
  • Modern Language Association (MLA)

Grants and Contracts Awarded

  • Summer Scholarship Grant, Univ. North Florida, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2004
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Stanford University, 1999-2000

Publications & Presentations


  •  “A Life Beyond Reason and the Life Worth Living,” invited by the Narrative Medicine Program and Neurodiversity Initiative, College of Charleston, Charleston, SC, February 26, 2020.


  • “Theory and Archive: The Future of Anglo American Early Modern Disability Studies,” to be held at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, May 29-30, 2020. Organized by Helen Deutsch (UCLA). CANCELLED DUE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC


  • “Robinson Crusoe and Peter the Wild Boy: What Daniel Defoe Inadvertently Tells Us about Disability,” Defining the Boundaries of Disability: Critical Perspectives, edited by Licia Carlson and Matthew Murray, Interdisciplinary Disability Studies Series, Routledge, 2020 (?).

  • "'The Compleat, Common Form’: Disability and the Literature of the British Enlightenment,” in Literature and the History of Medicine, vol. 1, edited by Clark Lawlor, Cambridge UP, 2020 (?).

  • "From Changelings to Libtards: Intellectual Disability in the Eighteenth Century and Beyond," in Routledge Companion to Literature and Disability, edited by Alice Hall, Routledge, 2020 (?).
  • “The Enlightenment’s Extraordinary Bodies,” Disability roundtable panel proceedings (ASECS, Denver, 2019), to be published in Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 2020 (?).


  • “Don’t Break Promises to Parents of Disabled Kids” | Commentary, Florida Times Union, February 2, 2020.
  • "Disability in the Long Eighteenth Century," a 10,000-word introduction written with Susannah Mintz for The Cultural History of Disability in the Long Eighteenth Century, vol. 4 of a 6-volume set, edited by D. Christopher Gabbard and Susannah Mintz, Bloomsbury, February 2020.
  • Co-editior (with Susannah Mintz) of The Cultural History of Disability in the Long Eighteenth Century, an 8-chapter volume plus introduction; general editors Robert McRuer and David Bolt; see item immediately above.
  • “Disabled Kids Hurt by Bill to Privatize Services” | Commentary, Orlando Sentinel, January 30, 2020.
  • “Families with special-needs children left to fend for themselves” | Commentary, Orlando Sentinel, July 2, 2019.
  • A Life Beyond Reason: A Fathers Memoir. Beacon Press, May 2019.
  • "A Defect in the Mind: Cognitive Ableism in Swifts Gullivers Travels," in Intellectual Disability: A Conceptual History 1200-1900, edited by Patrick McDonagh, Christopher Goodey, and Thomas Stainton, Manchester UP, 2018, 104-127.
  • Ableism,” The Bloomsbury Handbook of Literary and Cultural Theory, edited by Jeffrey R. Di Leo, Bloomsbury Academic, 2018, 357-358.
  • Book review: Raising Henry, by Rachel Adams. Yale UP, 2013, for the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 10.1 (2016), 117-123.
  • "Human," in Keywords For Disability Studies, edited by Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin, NYU Press, 2015, 98-102.
  • "From Custodial Care to Caring Labor: The Discourse of Who Cares in Jane Eyre," in The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability, edited by David Bolt, Julia Miele Rodas, and Elizabeth J. Donaldson, Ohio State UP, 2012, 91-110.
  • Book review: A History of Intelligence and “Intellectual Disability”: The Shaping of Psychology in Early Modern Europe, by C. F. Goodey. Burlington VT: Ashgate, 2011, for the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 6.2 (2012), 231–237.

  • "Disability Studies and the British Long Eighteenth Century" and accompanying Teaching Guide, Literature Compass 8.2 (Feb. 2011): 80 - 94.

  • “A Life beyond Reason,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 Nov. 2010,B13+.

  • "Odd Quirks: The Story of My Son," in Papa, PhD: Essays on Fatherhood by Men in the Academy, edited by Mary Ruth Marotte, Paige Martin Reynolds, and Ralph JamesSavarese, Rutgers UP, 2010, 217-223.

  • "A Life beyond Reason," The Chronicle of Higher Education, 12 Nov. 2010, B13+ <>.
  • Book Review: Autism and Representation, edited by Mark Osteen. New York: Routledge, 2008, for Disability Studies Quarterly 30.1 (2010).
  • "From Idiot Beast to Idiot Sublime: Mental Disability in John Clelands Fanny Hill," in PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 123.2 (March 2008): 375-389.
  • "What He Found Not Monsters, He Made So: The I-word and The Bathos of Exclusion," in the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 2.1 (Winter 2008).
  • "Clashing Masculinities in Aphra Behns The Dutch Lover," in SEL (Studies in English Literature 1500-1900) 47.3 (Summer 2007): 557-572.
  • Book review: Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption, by Ralph James Savarese. New York: Other Press, 2007, for Disability Studies Quarterly 28.1 (2008)

  • “Mythology overwhelmed facts in tragic case of Terri Schiavo" | Commentary, Florida Times Union, March 31, 2006.

  • "The Dutch Wives Good Husbandry: Defoes Roxana and Financial Self-Fashioning," in Eighteenth-Century Studies 37.2 (2004), 237-251.
  • "Gender Stereotyping in Early Modern Travel Writing on Holland," in SEL (Studies in English Literature 1500-1900) 43.1 (2003), 83-101.
  • "Sirens without a Song: Gender Stereotyping in Marvells The Character of Holland," in ELN (English Language Notes) 40.1 (2002): 61-76.
  • "The She-Tyrant Reigns: Mary II and the Tullia Poems," in Restoration: Studies in English Literary Culture, 1660-1700  25.2 (2001): 103-116.



Gabbard is currently assembling a collection of critical essays tentatively titled: Representations of Care / Ethics of Care.



For this category, request Chris Gabbard's CV:

Contact Information

(904) 620-2273


Office Hours

Bldg 8, rm 2215, times vary according to semester