Miller 115C

Additional Appointments

Affiliate Faculty, Disability Studies Affiliate Faculty, Banks Center for Educational Justice

Maggie Beneke

Associate Professor
Special Education Doctoral

My scholarship is concerned with transforming deficit discourses surrounding young children’s identities and competencies, specifically young Children of Color with disabilities. I come to this work as a white woman scholar and former inclusive early childhood teacher who was labeled with a disability as a young child. Drawing on Disability Critical Race Theory (DisCrit) and sociocultural perspectives, my recent work examines how racism and ableism intersect in the context of everyday literacy practices, as well as how early educators, young children, and families negotiate and resist oppressive notions of “normalcy." I consider how such resistance can inform shifts in teacher education and early childhood education.

Ph.D. University of Kansas; Special Education
M.A.T. Tufts University; Child Development
B.A. Illinois Wesleyan University; English Literature & Studio Art
Centers and Initiatives
Fellowships, honors and awards
  • Early Literacy Educator of the Year, Early Childhood Education Assembly, National Council for Teachers of English - 2020
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, Disability Studies in Education SIG, American Educational Research Association - 2018
  • Outstanding Student Member, Kansas Division for Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children - 2017
  • Judy Tate Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, Department of Special Education, University of Kansas - 2016
  • Doctoral Research Fellow, Institute for Policy & Social Research, University of Kansas - 2016

If you'd like a copy of a publication but do not have institutional access, email

  • Beneke, M. R., Machado, E., Taitingfong, J., Dhoot, S., Nagarajan, J., & Rupert, M. (in press). “‘Together’ means I am not the only one”: Educators reclaiming interdependence in early literacy through narratives of struggle. Language Arts.
  • Machado, E., Beneke, M. R., & Taitingfong, J. (2023). "Rise up, hand in hand": Early childhood teachers writing a liberatory literacy pedagogy. American Educational Research JournalOnline Publication/Abstract. 
  • Beneke, M. R., & Love, H. R. (2022). A DisCrit analysis of quality in early childhood: Toward pedagogies of wholeness, access, and interdependence. Teachers College Record. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Mueller, C., & Beneke, M. R. (2022). Whiteness and ability: Discourses in disability history curriculum legislation. Educational Policy. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., Machado, E., & Taitingfong, J. (2022). DisCrit literacies: Early childhood teachers reading school as text and imagining an otherwise. Reading Research Quarterly, 57(4), 1237-1257. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., Machado, E., & Taitingfong, J. (2022). Dismantling carceral logics in the urban early literacy classroom: Towards liberatory literacy pedagogies with/for multiply-marginalized young children. Urban Education. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., Siuty, M. B., & Handy, T. (2022). Emotional geographies of exclusion: Whiteness and ability in teacher education research. Teachers College Record124(7), 105-130. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R. (2022). Disability critical race theory in and through early childhood literacies. Research in the Teaching of English56(3), 331-333. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., Collins, S., & Powell, S. (2021). Mothering young children of color with disabilities and the politics of care. Equity & Excellence in Education, 54(3), 328-344. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R. (2021). Investigating young children's conceptualizations of disability and race: An intersectional, multiplane critique. Educational Researcher, 52(2), 97-104. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Love, H. R., & Beneke, M. R. (2021). Pursuing justice-driven inclusive education research: Disability critical race theory (DisCrit) in early childhood education. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 41(1), 31-44. Online Publication/Abstract. 
  • Beneke, M. R. (2021). Mapping socio-spatial constructions of normalcy: Whiteness and ability in teacher candidates' educational trajectories. Whiteness and Education. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., & Cheatham, G. A., (2020). Teacher candidates talking (but not talking) about dis/ability and race in preschool. Journal of Literacy Research, 52(3), 245-268. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., & Cheatham, G. A. (2019). Race talk in preschool classrooms: Academic readiness and participation during shared-book reading. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy, 19(1), 107-133. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Beneke, M. R., Newton, J. R., Vinh, M., Blanchard, S. B., & Kemp, P. (2019). Practicing inclusion, doing justice: Disability, identity, and belonging in early childhood. Zero to Three, 39(3), 26-34. Online Publication/Abstract.