Contact Us

About Dr. Zola

Irv.jpgIrving Kenneth Zola (1935—1994) was an internationally known activist and writer in the fields of medical sociology and disability rights. He was a founding member of the Society of Disability Studies and the first editor of Disability Studies Quarterly. He also was a founding member and counselor at the Boston Self-Help Center.

His best-known book, Missing Pieces: A Chronicle of Living With a Disability, appeared in 1982. It has recently been reissued. Missing Pieces chronicles a compelling personal journey of a man understanding life with a disability. Zola writes, “Missing Pieces is an unraveling of a social problem in the manner of Black Like Me. Like its author, I, too, am a trained social observer, but for me ‘passing’ was not an issue. For I already have the stigmata of the disabled—the braces, the limp, the cane—though I have spent much of my life denying their existence.” Dr. Zola’s other works include Ordinary Lives: Voices of Disability & Disease and Socio-Medical Inquiries: Recollections, Reflections and Reconsiderations.

The Society of Disability Studies now offers a scholarship named after him for Emerging Scholars in Disability Studies. Funded through the generosity of the late Professor Zola’s colleagues at Brandeis University, this annual award recognizes excellence in research and writing that shares the values and commitment to disability studies exemplified by Irving K. Zola’s life and scholarship. The Dr. Irving Kenneth Zola Collection, a repository of most of Zola’s works, can be found at The Samuel Gridley Howe Library at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. Zola had taught at Brandeis since 1963. For more information, see the Irving K. Zola homepage.


Irving K. Zola Center
20 Hartford Street, Newton Highlands, MA 02461