Sona Kazemi

Sona Kazemi Hill

Sona Kazemi

Postdoctoral Researcher

135B Mershon Center
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, OH 43201

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  • Ph.D., University of Toronto, Adult Education and Community Development (2018)
  • M.A., York University, Critical Disability Studies (2013)
  • B.A., York University, Social Psychology (2012)

Sona Kazemi a multi-lingual postdoctoral researcher of migration studies, disability studies, and medical humanities at The Ohio State University. Her research program is located in contradictions among transnational disability rights frameworks in the context of global and regional imperialism(s).

Her postdoctoral project concerns traumatized Yazidi refugees in diaspora and their disability consciousness as survivors of genocide and ethnic cleansing, the mental health of Iranian and Kurdish refugees in the United States who are the survivors of state terror and its implications for international security, Iranian women survivors of acid attack and their disability and feminist consciousness, and punitive limb amputation in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

She is currently working on a book manuscript based on a collaborative project, tentatively entitled “Madness in Political Prison: Toward Conceptualizing Mental Health under Torture,” based on the intersection of race, gender, and “madness” in relation to political incarceration in Iran and Kurdistan region in Turkey. She is also completing a monograph, tentatively entitled “Disabling Relations: Injured Bodyminds and Active Witnessing,” based on her dissertation and her current postdoctoral research projects.

Her articles and book reviews have appeared in the Journal of Critical Educational Policy Studies, Canadian Women’s Studies, a special issue of the Canadian Journal of Disability Studies entitled “Survivals, Ruptures, Resiliences,” Critical Disability Discourse Journal, Zanj: The Journal of Critical Global South Studies, and Disability Studies Quarterly.

Sona is the Society for Disability Studies’ 2018 recipient of the honorable mention for the prestigious award of Irving K. Zola Award for emerging scholars in Disability Studies. Sona is currently the associate editor for global ideas for Review of Disability Studies, an International Journal.

Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Mershon Project

On March 19, 2019, Sona Hill presented "Silent Global and Oppressive Local: Fetishization of the Disabled War Veterans in Iran through the Ideological Construction of 'Living Martyrs'" at the Mershon Center. See video here

This paper explores the ways in which disability gets fetishized in the global context using the case study of disabled war veterans in Iran who were injured during the Iran-Iraq war. 

Relying on a disability studies lens, Hill analyzes the ways in which the Iranian state after the Iran-Iraq war has "dealt" with its disabled veteran and civilian population. The paper argues that since the war ended in 1988, the Iranian state has engaged in what she calls "fetishizing" the disability of its injured population, both veterans and civilians, in several ideological ways. 

Throughout this paper she indicates how the state has managed to use the disabled bodies of injured survivors as a way to guarantee its survival by portraying them as an ideological construct called "living martyrs," as opposed to disabled humans in need of physical and affective care. 

Additionally, the paper discusses how the injured survivors' disability has too been fetishized in the global context during and after the war, as the world has remained silent in the face of violent chemical attacks on Iran and Iraqi Kurdistan.