Announcing Contra* podcast

Contra* is a new podcast on disability, design justice, and the lifeworld. Produced by the Critical Design Lab, each episode will feature interviews with disability activists and designers. Please check out our first episode, in which I interview design researcher Sara Hendren, and subscribe via iTunes or Stitcher.


Upcoming events and book talks:

June 10. AIA New York, “Safe and Equitable Streets” panel.

August 2. “Crip Technoscience,” with Kelly Fritsch. Southern California School of Architecture.

October 6-8. Society for Social Studies of Science.

Keynote, “Accessibility and Body-Techniques,” Berlin (dates TBA)

Bowdoin College (dates TBA).

Emory University (dates TBA).

Purdue University (Fall 2021)


Published “Crip Mobility Justice: Ableism and Active Transportation Debates,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research.

Published interview with Shannon Finnegan (and Emily Watlington) in Extra Bold: a feminist, inclusive, anti-racist nonbinary field guide for graphic designers.

May 21. University of Washington panel with Joel Sanders.

May 20. Interviewed in Driving Change article: “Mutually Assured Aid: The U.S. Boon in Grassroots Community Organizing.

May 11. Interviewed for The Chronicle of Higher Education: “As Colleges Strive for a Return to Normal, Students with Disabilities Say ‘No Thanks’

May 6. Panelist. “Othered Grounds,” with Gail Dubrow, Jack Halberstam, Heather Davis, and Aroussiak Gibrellian. University of Southern California.

May 4. Elected to Vanderbilt University Faculty Senate.

April 8-9. Talk and workshop, University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

April 5. Health Humanities panel, Duke University.

March 31. Invited lecture, “Critical Access: How Disability Culture Can Inform Design Practice and Pedagogy,” Georgia Institute of Technology “Questioning Disciplinary Foundations” lecture series.

March 25. D.C. Queer Studies, Mutual Care panel with Moya Bailey, Hil Malatino, and Alexis Lothian.

March 25. Keynote, “New Materialist Informatics” (March 23-25, 2021; Kassel, Germany).

March 4. Longmore Institute Lecture with Jen White-Johnson and Liat Ben-Moshe.

March 2. Appeared on Down to the Struts podcast, episode 2: Critical Design in the Age of COVID.

February 28. Fireside chat on Disability Justice and Access-Centered Pedagogy, with Mimi Khuc, Hosted by the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network.

February 17. ADA@Yale Panel, Yale Law School. Read about the panel.

February 17-19. Talk and workshop, Agnes Scott College.

January 19. Vanderbilt Center for Teaching panel on accessible pedagogy

January 11. Accessible Teaching panel, University of Pennsylvania.


Published essay on race and disability in Saturation: Race, Art, and the Circulation of Value (MIT Press, 2020).

December 23. Featured in Art News. Essential Books: America Staff Picks to Read (or Re-Read) Now.

November 25. “Autumn, a revision” in Ecotone Magazine.

November 21. Invited lecture, Pacific Northwest College of Art.

November 12. Invited lecture, “Critical Access Studies,” Harvard Graduate School of Design. Watch video of lecture (captioned).

October 29. Invited panelist. Disability and Architecture. Society of Architectural Historians.

October 28. Imagine Otherwise Podcast episode on “Sustainability and Disability Justice.”

October 26. Workshop on accessibility for CVS Health with Alice Wong.

October 20. Invited panelist, “What is Solidarity?” event on accessibility, University of Waterloo.

October 19. Fordham University. Visit to Introduction to Disability studies.

October 2. Rehearsing Hospitalities book launch and reading.

September 28. “Building Access,” invited lecture at University of Kentucky school of architecture.

September 28. Crip Culture and Digital Experiments, hosted by Critical Distance.

September 16. Spatial Inequality and Inclusion Panel, Northeastern University.

August 24. Interviewed by the New York Times: “When the World  Shut Down, They Saw It Open.”

August 18. Adobe Design Summit, “Design Equity” panel.

August 4. Workshop facilitator, Emory University, “Universal Design,” Summer Teaching Intensive.

July 28, 2020. Interviewed for NPR/WNYC’s The Takeaway on cities and accessibility.

July 25, 2020. Allied Media Conference, “Cripping the Podcast” (with Critical Design Lab).

July 24, 2020. “Remote Access” crip dance party, co-host, Allied Media Conference.

July 24, 2020. Featured in History Channel article on the Capitol Crawl and the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act.

July 2, 2020. Featured in Huffington Post article on mutual aid organizing in the time of the pandemic.

April 23, 2020. “Critical Access Studies,” University of Arizona.

April 16, 2020. Awarded tenure.

February 11, 2020. “Critical Access Studies,” Tulane University.

January 17. Invited talk, “Building Access,” University of Chicago. 

January 17. Invited talk, “Crip Technoscience in the Critical Design Lab,” University of Chicago and University of Illinois, Chicago . 


December 17. “Shannon Finnegan and Aimi Hamraie on Accessibility as a Shared Responsibility.” Art News.

November 14-17. Author Meets Critics session, National Women’s Studies Association, San Francisco, CA.

November 14-17. Whose Right to the City?: Feminist Crip Urbanism, National Women’s Studies Association, November 14-17, San Francisco, CA.

October 24. Roundtable on Disability, Design, and Technology, Rice University.

October 5. Plenary speaker, “Eugenics,” Healthy and Free Tennessee Convening, Nashville, TN.

September 5-6. Presented on Mapping Access and represented the Critical Design Lab at the Making and Doing exhibition, Society for Social Studies of Science, New Orleans, LA.

August 22. Received Chancellor’s award for Research in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for Building Access.

April 26. Launch of “Crip Technoscience” special issue of Catalyst: feminist, theory, technoscience, co-edited with Kelly Fritsch, Mara Mills, and David Serlin. NYU Center for Disability Studies.

April 25. STS Scholar-In-Residence, Drexel University.

April 3-7. Panel and workshop. American Association of Geographers meeting.

April 3. Published “Crip Technoscience Manifesto” with Kelly Fritsch in Catalyst: feminism theory technoscience.

April 3. Co-edited special section on Crip Technoscience in Catalyst: feminism theory technoscience with Kelly Fritsch, Mara Mills, and David Serlin. Read Introduction.

April 3. Curated and Introduced roundtable on crip technoscience in special section of Catalyst: feminism theory technoscience.

February 25. “Making Access Critical: Disability, Race, and Gender in Environmental Design,” Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and College of Environmental Design, Berkeley, CA. (open captioned video at link)


December 5-8. CripTech: Disability and Technology in Japan and the United States – an International Symposium. Berkeley, CA.

November 18. Annual Rathlyn Lecture (endowed), McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

November 16. Invited lecture, “Barrier Work,” Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

November 10. Panel on disability studies futures, American Studies Association, November 8-9, 2018, Atlanta, GA.

November 10. Panel on critical design and accessible futures at the National Women’s Studies Association, November 8-9, 2018, Atlanta, GA.

November 9. Book event. Charis Books. Atlanta, GA. 7:30 p.m.

November 6. Published “A Smart City is An Accessible City,” The Atlantic.

October 29. Invited lecture, University of Michigan.

October 26. Keynote Speaker, Process and Presence International Conference, hosted by DisArt Festival.

September 21. Book party for Building Access (along with books by Bess Williamson and Elizabeth Guffey). 3-5:00 p.m. NYU Center for Disability Studies. 

August 8. Talk on “Universal Design and the Rhetoric of Common Sense,” Universal Design and Communication Workshop, University of Lund, Sweden.

August 7. Invited open lecture on Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability, University of Lund, Sweden.

July 18. Interviewed about Building Access for the Imagine Otherwise podcast.

June 18-20. SketchModel curriculum workshop on design and art pedagogy, Olin College of Engineering, Boston, MA.

June 1. Author Meets Critic Session for Building Access (invited), Cultural Studies Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 31-June 2, 2018.

Published “Enlivened City: Inclusive Design, Biopolitics, and the Philosophy of Liveability,” Built Environments 44.1 (Spring 2018): 77-104.

May 4. Presentation on sustainability and accessibility at Living Futures UnConference, May 1-4. Portland, OR.

April 25. Interviewed for the New Books Network podcast about Building Access. Link:

April 10 and 13. Two talks at the Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, LA: roundtable on Critical Digital Geographies for Justice (Tuesday, April 10) and presentation on livable and healthy cities (Friday, April 13).

March 23. Two talks – “Crip Technoscience” and “Livable Cities, Habitable Worlds” at “Composing Disability: Crip Politics and the Crisis of Culture” will be held at George Washington University, in Washington, DC.

March 17. Keynote speaker, “Doing Disability Differently in Architectural Education,” Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, March 17. Directions and accessibility information:

January 19. Book party for Building Access, hosted by the Vanderbilt Center for Medicine, Health, & Society, Nashville, TN.


November 9-12. “Mapping Access: Against Pedagogies of Simulation,” American Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois.

November 8. Invited lecture, “Crip Technoscience: disabled people as makers and knowers,” Grinnel College, Iowa.

November 1. Official release date for Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

September 28. Led first session on “Disability and Power” for the Vanderbilt Center for Teaching.

Published “Designing Collective Access: a feminist disability theory of Universal Design,” reprinted in Disability, Space, Architecture, edited by Jos Boys. London: Routledge, 2017.

September 20. Published post on “Crip Technoscience” on Transmissions blog, with Kelly Fritsch.

September 15. Co-editing special issue of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, with Kelly Fritsch, David Serlin, and Mara Mills.

September 15. Served as judge for Park(ing) Day, hosted by Nashville Civic Design Association.

September 14. Participated in first “Design Thinking” faculty pedagogy session, Vanderbilt Center for Teaching.

September 13. Served on Vanderbilt University’s Accessibility Task Force as part of the university’s land use planning process.

September 11. Invited Author Meets Critic Session for Building Access, Cultural Studies Association, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, May 31-June 2.

September 9. Attended Boundless fashion show, hosted by Empower Tennessee.

August 30. “Crip Technoscience Manifesto,” with Kelly Fritsch. Society for Social Studies of Science, Boston, Massachusetts.

June. Volunteered with “Design Your Neighborhood,” high school civic design program.

May 22. Participated in Shared Realities Symposium, Microsoft Research, Boston, MA.

May 2. Awarded Publication Grant from Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

April 19. Invited lecture, “Disability, Critical Design, and Collective Access,” SUNY Upstate.

April 18. “Mapping Access” workshop, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

April 17. Brown bag presentation, “Universal Design and the Problem of ‘Post-Disability’ Politics,” Syracuse University.

April 7. “Mapping Access: from code compliance to intersectional disability justice,” American Association of Geographers, Boston, Massachusetts.

March 31. Invited panelist speaker, “Feminist and Queer Theory,” Disability Studies: A History, University of Pennsylvania.

February 27-29. Mentored post-doctoral candidate via Academic Pathways program, Vanderbilt University.

January. Social permaculture and urban design field school, Cazadero, California.


Published “Universal Design and the Problem of Post-Disability Ideology,” Design  and Culture 8.3 (2016): 285-309.

Published “Beyond Accommodation: Disability, Feminist Philosophy, and the Design of Everyday Academic Life.” philoSOPHIA. 6(2) (2016): 260-272.

December 16. Invited to present at Disability Studies: a history at University of Pennsylvania.

November 28. Awarded Vanderbilt Institute for Digital Learning grant for “Mapping Access.”

November 9. “Mapping Access,” National Women’s Studies Association, Montreal, Quebec, November 7-10.

October 28. Invited plenary speaker, “Mapping Access,” Residential College Symposium, Vanderbilt University.

October 5. Invited lecture, “Access-Knowledge: Disability, Universal Design, and the Politics of Knowing-Making,” Ohio State University.

September 20. Invited to give talks and workshop at Syracuse University.

August 26. “Mapping Access” mentioned by Vanderbilt Chancellor Zeppos comments on “Inclusive Excellence.

July. Urban STS ethnographic methods field school, Columbia University.

May 25. Awarded Research Scholar Grant, Sabbatical Funding, Vanderbilt University.

April 29. Invited lecture, “Crip Technoscience,” University of Toronto Technoscience Salon.

April 14. Coverage of “Mapping Access” events in Nashville Scene.

April 8. Advised Vanderbilt University on Disability and Diversity.

April Featured Community Member, EDI Connect.

March 10. Invitation from Disability Graduate Students Association to deliver talk at Ohio State University.


Published “Historical Epistemology as Disability Studies Methodology: from the models framework to Foucault’s archaeology of cure,” Foucault Studies 19, June 2015, 108-134.

Published “Cripping Feminist Technoscience” (peer reviewed review essay), Hypatia: journal of feminist philosophy 30.1 (Winter 2015): 307-313. DOI: 10.1111/hypa.12124.

Published “Inclusive Design: Cultivating Accountability Toward the Intersections of Race, Aging, and Disability,” Age Culture Humanities 2 (2015): 253-262.

November 19. Awarded Library Dean’s Fellowship (2 semesters), Vanderbilt University.

November 17. “Environmental Knowing and the Making of Social Justice in Architectural Space,” History of Science Society, San Francisco, CA.

June 11. “The Making of the Principles of Universal Design,” Society for Disability Studies, Atlanta, GA.

June 4. Invited Faculty Public Fellow, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy, Vanderbilt University.

April 16. “Crip Non-conformity: conversations between disabled users and built environments,” philoSOPHIA, Atlanta, GA.

March 18. Invited panelist, “Teaching with Twitter,” Vanderbilt University, Conversations on Digital Pedagogy.

February 5. Invited alumni lecture, “Sloped Technoscience,” Emory University, Department of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies.

January 15. Invited lecture and panel moderator, “Universal Design: Myth or Reality?,” Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York City.


November 10. “Turning the Dial: Disabled Bodies, Thermostat Interfaces, and Cold War Design,” Society for the History of Technology, Dearborn, Michigan.

August 23. “Structural Competency for Structural Disciplines: Universal Design education and epistemologies of evidence-based design,” Society for Social Studies of Science, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

July 19. Invited seminar leader, Age, Ability, and Healthcare Summit, Hiram College Center for Literature and Medicine.

July 5. Invited talk, “The Politics of Fit,” Open Style Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

June 12. “Sloped Frictions,” Society for Disability Studies, Minneapolis, MN.

June 11. “Saving Energy for the Future,” Society for Disability Studies, Minneapolis, MN.

March 16. Appointed Faculty Fellow at Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities, Vanderbilt University, for 2014-2015 year.


Published “Designing Collective Access: a feminist disability theory of Universal Design,” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.4 (2013):

Published Review of Universal Design as a Rehabilitation Strategy by Jon Sanford (2012) and Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments by Edward Steinfeld & Jordana Maisel. Design & Culture (Spring 2013): 268-271.

Published Review of The Question of Access by Tanya Titchkosky (2011). Disability Studies Quarterly 33.1 (2013): (solicited).

December 15. Invited talk, “Universal Design in museums as an intervention into architectural phenomenology,” King’s College London.

November 22. “Universal Design and the National Museum: Representing Knowledge, Culture, and Belonging,” American Studies Association, Washington, D.C.

November 9. “Historical Epistemology as a Feminist Disability Methodology,” National Women’s Studies Association, Cincinnati, OH.

November 9. “Applying Feminist New Materialism to Universal Design,” National Women’s Studies Association, Cincinnati, OH.

October 8. “Wayfinding in the Museum: Embodied Cognition as Evidence in Universal Design,” Society for Social Studies of Science, San Diego, CA.

October 3. “Disability and Critical Design,” Politics of Health, Vanderbilt University.

June 27. “User-Centered or ‘Universal’ Design?: An Interdisciplinary Conversation,” Society for Disability Studies, Orlando, FL.

June 26. “Historical Epistemology as Feminist Disability Methodology,” Society for Disability Studies, Orlando, FL.


Published “Universal Design Research as a New Materialist Practice,” Disability Studies Quarterly 32.4 (2012):

Published “Proximate and Peripheral: Ableist Discourses of Space and Vulnerability Surrounding the UNCRPD,” in The Politics of Space and Place:Exclusions, Resistance, Alternatives (ed. C. Certoma, N. Clewer, & D. Elsey). Cambridge Scholars Press, 2012: 145-169.

Published “Universal Design in the Museum” blog series. Smithsonian Institution, Lemelson Center “Bright Ideas” Blog. August 22, 27, & 30, 2012.

November 15. “Anthropometry and the Standardization of Disability Access,” History of Science Society, San Diego, CA.

July 27. Invited talk, “What Can Universal Design Know?,” National Museum of American History Colloquium, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.

September. “Spaces of Inquiry: Architecture & Science,” Social Science Research Council, Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship field building exercises

June 21. “Dysphoric Knowledge,” Society for Disability Studies, Denver, CO, With Anson Koch-Rein.

March 2. “Bodies as Evidence: Disability Research and Access Standardization since 1970,” Southern Association for the History of Medicine and Science, Atlanta, GA.

Through 2013. Woodruff fellowship, Emory University.

Spring and summer. Lemelson Center Fellowship, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution.

Disability Space Architecture reader

My essay, “Designing Collective Access: a feminist disability theory of Universal Design,” is being reprinted in a new edited collection by Jos Boys, Disability Space Architecture (Routledge, 2017). Preorder at this link. For those familiar with Jane Rendell, Barbara Penner and Iain Borden‘s brilliant Gender Space Architecture, Disability Space Architecture covers a range of disability theories and design practices, with both critical and practical essays. It represents the range of a field that I am calling “critical access studies,” which takes disability theory beyond the social model of the 1980s and 90s to consider access as both a productive and power-laden world-building practice. I am excited to have this volume as a teaching tool, in particular, as it includes work by fabulous colleagues such as Jos Boys, Rob Imrie, David Serlin, Margaret Price, Bess Williamson, Liz Crow, Rob Michalko, Jay Dolmage, S. Lochlann Jain, Amanda Cachia, Sara Hendren, and many others. More information from Routledge (including the table of contents) can be found here.

New publication: “Universal Design and the Problem of ‘Post-Disability’ Ideology”

My article, “Universal Design and the Problem of ‘Post-Disability’ Ideology” is out now in Design and Culture. Click through here to access it.


Although Universal Design gains popularity as a common sense strategy for crafting built environments for all users, accessibility for disabled people remains a marginal area of inquiry within design practice and theory. This article argues that the tension between accessibility and Universal Design stems from inadequate critical and historical attention to the concept of disability as it relates to discourses of “good design.” This article draws upon critical disability theory to reveal the persistence of “post-disability” narratives and “ideologies of ability” from the eugenics era into the present theory and practice of Universal Design.

Fellowships, appearances, and publications

I am very pleased to announce that I will be a faculty fellow at the Curb Center for the Arts, Enterprise, and Public Policy this academic year. My project for the year will involve developing an intersectional accessibility map of the Vanderbilt campus, in anticipation of my next project on public health and urban design. This fellowship builds upon work that I completed last year as a faculty fellow at the Robert Penn Warren Center working on issues of public scholarship.

As I continue my work in the history and philosophy of science, and the new field of Crip Technoscience that I have been developing, I am excited to be speaking at the University of Toronto Technoscience Salon in May 2016 (and designing a Universal Design Technoparty!). Also this summer, my article, ““Historical Epistemology as Disability Studies Methodology: from the models framework to Foucault’s archaeology of cure” was published in Foucault Studies.

Spring 2014 Courses

In Spring 2014, I will be teaching the following courses:

-MHS 242: Bionic Bodies, Cyborg Cultures

A course that examines the history, materiality, and visual representation of prosthetics, assistive technologies, and disabled and post-human bodies using scholarship from disability studies and feminist technoscience studies. The course will be a discussion-based seminar with short readings, analysis of engineered and designed art and technoscientific objects, and a number of iterative speculative design projects. No prerequisites, open and accessible to all disciplinary backgrounds.

-MHS 300: Graduate introduction to Medicine, Health, & Society

This course introduces MHS to students in our graduate program. We will be reading from the history, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology of science and medicine, as well as scholarship in fields such as Science & Technology Studies, feminist history, and design studies.