Crip Technoscience and the Politics of Enhancement

This project investigates science-society relations to develop the emerging area of “crip technoscience.” I examine how body enhancement and capacitation technologies such as bionic prosthetics, robotic exoskeletons, and personal assistive and adaptive devices emerge, marking

 the ways in which these technologies are differentially produced, distributed, consumed, and utilized. 

Through a critical examination of the social, political, cultural, and economic dimensions of these technologies—largely developed through military-sponsored research and embedded within economies of neoliberal risk and population governance—I map out how these technologies influence our shared understandings of both abled and disabled embodiment as well as our shared understandings of health and illness. Of particular interest to me is tracing how both the private and public research and development of personalized enhancement and rehabilitative technologies in the United States and Canada produce human embodiment in particular ways and alter forms of human capacity. Drawing together methods from critical social theory, disability studies, feminist science and technology studies, critical race and ethnicity studies, and the sociology of health, illness, and medicine, I investigate how these technologies function within a double process that both works to erase human variation (in particular disability), while also producing new forms of bodily variation that contest the very idea of the normal body, such as super-soldiers and better-than-able-bodies. My project lays a framework for building more socially just ways of engaging disability and technology. As part of this project, I am guest editing a special issue of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience on the topic of “crip technoscience” with Aimi Hamraie, Mara Mills, and David Serlin.

 

The Biopolitics of Queer/Crip Contagions and Neoliberal Risk

Situated within critical disability studies, feminist science and technology studies, and the sociology of health, illness, and medicine, this aspect of my research examines the emerging practices of precision and personalized medicine and its relation to neoliberalized forms of risk society and population governance, marking how practices such as tailored drug regimes or personalized genetic therapies alter our shared understandings of disability, ability, health and illness. This project is being developed in collaboration with Anne McGuire at the University of Toronto and includes guest editing a special issue of Feminist Formations on “Queer/Crip Contagions.”

 

Disability (In)Justice: Examining Criminalization in Canada

 This project explores how disability is central to practices of criminalization in Canada. Weaving together interdisciplinary scholarship across the fields of criminology, disability studies, law, and socio-legal studies, this project examines disability in relation to various agencies and aspects of the criminal justice system, including surveillance and policing, sentencing and the courts, prisons and other carceral spaces, and alternatives to confinement. Part of this project includes co-editing an upper level undergraduate reader with Jeffrey Monaghan (Carleton University) and Emily van der Meulen (Ryerson University). 

 

Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late Capitalist Struggle 

Bringing together the insights of dozens of scholars and activists, kfrKeywords for Radicals constellates a vocabulary of contested words that shape today’s political landscape. Beginning from a consideration of the current radical context, each entry highlights a term’s contested variations, traces the evolution of its usage, and speculates about the radical implications of particular term-use trajectories. More than a glossary, Keywords for Radicals makes clear that contests over word usage and meaning are themselves meaningful. By forcing words to reveal the underlying social contradictions they symptomatically express, the contributors to this volume provide an important new vantage on the terrain—and the stakes—of contemporary struggle. Read my interview about this project.