Erkulwater, Jennifer L.

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Erkulwater, Jennifer L.

PERSONAL:

Education: Boston College, Ph.D.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Political Science Department, 28 Westhampton Way, University of Richmond, Richmond, VA 23173. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Political scientist, educator, and writer. University of Richmond, Richmond, VA, assistant professor of political science, 2001—; Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, research fellow.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Heinz Award, National Academy of Social Insurance, 2002.

WRITINGS:

Disability Rights and the American Social Safety Net, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2006.

(With Rick Mayes and Catherine Bagwell) Medicating Children: ADHD and Pediatric Mental Health, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 2008.

SIDELIGHTS:

Jennifer L. Erkulwater is a political scientist whose research interests include social welfare politics, public policy, and American politics, including parties and elections. Erkulwater touches upon almost all of these interests in her 2006 book Disability Rights and the American Social Safety Net. The book focuses on the successful overall effort in advocacy for the disabled during a period in which the American welfare state has been under assault via an increasing reduction of welfare benefits by both Republican and Democratic administrations.

In her book, the author begins with an introductory discussion of "the puzzle of reform," followed by a chapter examining the politics of welfare and disability. She then describes the many advocates who have mobilized efforts for welfare rights for the disabled and discusses Social Security income and the social safety net. In addition, the author explores such topics as contesting disability in court cases, disability legislation, and instituting reform. The author concludes with a discussion of the lessons of reform.

"This book is the first to examine how entitlements for the disabled have fared in the wake of the disability-rights movement," wrote a contributor to the Web site of the Alexander Campbell King Law Library of the University of Georgia School of Law. Erkulwater credits most of the success for disability rights on the Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs that were enacted from 1972 through 2000. According to Erkulwater, the program succeeded largely due to disability-rights groups using civil-rights rhetoric instead of advocating using a welfare-based approach. Overall, the author argues that social constructionist-oriented policies focusing on the rights of the individuals and inclusiveness were important factors in the progress made for policies supporting the social good of the disabled. Referring to the book as "important and very engaging" in a review in the Political Science Quarterly, Michael Givel wrote: "This book provides a clear and important analysis of what is wrong with current federal disability policies and advocacy and how they may be altered to achieve more positive policy outcomes."

Erkulwater is also the author, with Rick Mayes and Catherine Bagwell, of Medicating Children: ADHD and Pediatric Mental Health. The book begins with a general introduction to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and then presents a survey of the evolution of the diagnosis and stimulant use from 1900 to 1980. The authors also discuss ADHD and the politics of the Children's Disability Policy, stimulant treatment for ADHD, and the backlash against this treatment.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Erkulwater, Jennifer, Disability Rights and the American Social Safety Net, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2006.

PERIODICALS

Political Science Quarterly, winter, 2006, Michael Givel, review of Disability Rights and the American Social Safety Net, p. 733.

ONLINE

Alexander Campbell King Law Library of the University of Georgia School of Law Web site,http://www.law.uga.edu/library/ (March 31, 2008), review of Disability Rights and the American Social Safety Net.

Cornell University Press,http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/ (March 31, 2008), brief profile of author.

Richmond.com,http://www.richmond.com/ (March 31, 2008), brief profile of author.

Richmond University News,http://oncampus.richmond.edu/news/ (February 26, 2008), "National Academy of Social Insurance Inducts University of Richmond Professor."

Richmond University Political Science Department Web site,http://polisci.richmond.edu/ (March 31, 2008), faculty profile of author.