Kathleen Brian, Ph.D.

Headshot of Dr. Kathleen Brian


Email: briank@wwu.edu
Phone: 360-650-7706
Office: Old Main 330J


Dr. Kathleen Brian (any/all pronouns) has been with the Honors College since 2019. In addition to teaching the Capstone Project Preparation course and across the First-Year Sequence, she regularly offers upper-division seminars and advises students in their capstone projects. 

Throughout her career, from pursuing her Ph.D. in American Studies at George Washington University to curating classrooms that prioritize inquiry within the experiential and experimental, scrutinizing and transgressing boundary has been Dr. Brian’s predominant motivation. She researches at the intersection of critical disability studies, cultural theory, and histories of medicine and public health. She teaches around themes such as alienation and belonging; systemic violences and relational power; and the transmutation of knowledge as it moves through time and space. 

These commitments shape not only her engagement in Honors but also how she participates in the broader communities she inhabits. Dr. Brian has served as the President of the Disability History Association and as a member of the leadership team that established Western’s Institute for Critical Disability Studies. Currently she is Lead Editor of the Disability History Handbook, a collaborative project between the National Council on Public History (NCPH) and the National Park Service (NPS) designed to increase the presence of disabilities in U.S. public history. 

Dr. Brian’s research appears in journals such as the Bulletin of the History of Medicine and The Activist History Review, and she is co-editor of Phallacies: Historical Intersections of Masculinity and Disability (Oxford UP, 2017). Her current book project, The Quarry: Suicide, Risk, and the Epistemology of Dread, charts the emergence of suicide prevention by interrogating bureaucratic becomings alongside finance capitalism’s speculative fictions.