FALL 2020

The Baldy Center Podcast

Book Cover: Disability Rights and ​Religious Liberty in Education: The Story Behind Zobrest V. Catalina by David Gerber and Bruce Dierenfield.

Book cover: Disability Rights and ​Religious Liberty in Education: The Story Behind Zobrest V. Catalina by David Gerber and Bruce Dierenfield

Episode 6: David Gerber and Bruce Dierenfield discuss disability rights and religious freedom

Published September 21, 2020

Episode 6 of the podcast features David Gerber, emeritus professor of history at UB and Bruce Dierenfield of Canisius College. Professors Gerber and Dierenfield discuss their new book, focused on the Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District case at the crossroads of disability rights and church-state separation.

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Education Policy, Legal History, Disability Rights, Church-State Separation.

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About the Book

In 1988, Sandi and Larry Zobrest sued a suburban Tucson, Arizona, school district that had denied their hearing-impaired son a taxpayer-funded interpreter in his Roman Catholic high school. The Catalina Foothills School District argued that providing a public resource for a private, religious school created an unlawful crossover between church and state. The Zobrests, however, claimed that the district had infringed on both their First Amendment right to freedom of religion and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). 

Cover: Disability Rights and ​Religious Liberty in Education: The Story Behind Zobrest V. Catalina by David Gerber and Bruce Dierenfield

About the Authors

David A. Gerber

Research Focus: American History writing in the mid-twentieth century, developmental disability.
David A. Gerber.

David A. Gerber

David A. Gerber is Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus and Emeritus Director of the Center for Disability Studies at the University at Buffalo. He is a social historian with interests in identity and groups in American History. Gerber recently authored in immigration and ethnic history: Authors of Their Lives: The Personal Correspondence of British Immigrants to North America in the Nineteenth Century (2006), and American Immigration: A Very Short Introduction (2011). Recent works in the history of disability include, as editor, Disabled Veterans in History (enlarged and revised edition, 2012). See faulty profile.  Visit Gerber's website.

Bruce J. Dierenfield

Research Focus: American politics, church & state, constitutional law, and the civil rights movement
Bruce J. Dierenfield.

Bruce J. Dierenfield

Bruce J. Dierenfield is professor emeritus of American history at Canisius College, Buffalo NY. Dierenfield has written six books, including the prize-winning The Battle over School Prayer: How Engel v. Vitale Changed America (2007), The Civil Rights Movement (revised edition, 2008), and A History of African-American Leadership (3rd edition, 2012). He has also completed another book manuscript entitled, “Separating Church & State: How the Minnesota Affiliate of the ACLU Led the Nation in Religious Liberty.” 

2020-21 Podcast Producer

Azalia Muchransyah.

Azalia Muchransyah


Azalia Muchransyah is a filmmaker, writer, and scholar from Indonesia. In Spring 2021 she completed her PhD in Media Study. During her time as our podcast producer, she was a PhD Candidate in Media Study at UB. Muchransyah's research investigates the status of activist media, specifically for HIV advocacy in Indonesia. Her short films have been officially selected for screening at international festivals and academic conferences.

Executive Producers

Samantha Barbas, PhD
Professor, UB School of Law
Director, The Baldy Center

Caroline Funk, PhD
Associate Director, The Baldy Center

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