Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Director of the Disability Justice and Crip Culture Collaboratory at Carleton University, unceded Algonquin territory (Ottawa). As a feminist disability studies scholar and crip theorist, her research mobilizes social and cultural theory, arts-based research, and everyday hacking and tinkering to explore the generative frictions of disability. Fritsch is cross-appointed to the Pauline Jewett Institute of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Institute of Political Economy.
She is co-Principal Investigator on the New Frontiers in Research Fund project Frictions of Futurity and Cure in Transplant Medicine: Re-Thinking Central Challenges Through Feminist/Crip Science and Technology Studies. This mixed methods project engages ethnographic, narrative, and artistic research-creation practices that probe sociological and philosophical themes in transplant medicine. Aiming to address the central challenges of solid organ transplant in order to recast deeply held assumptions, standard practices, and foundational principles of transplantation medicine, Frictions entangles medical utility and technoscientific possibility with the lived experiences of heart, liver, and kidney transplant recipients.
With Anne McGuire and Eduardo Trejos, she is co-author of We Move Together (2021), a children’s picture book engaging community-based practices of desiring disability, with an accompanying open-access education resource which features lesson plans, discussion prompts, printable templates, and activities for use by primary school educators and community groups. Fritsch et al. also developed open-access digital accessibility tools to support book users, including image and audio description, ASL interpretation, and a text-to-speech enabled ebook.
Fritsch’s forthcoming co-edited collection Disability Injustice: Confronting Criminalization in Canada (2022), explores the ways in which ableism is embedded in Canadian criminological institutions, policies, and practices, making incarceration and institutionalization dangerous and deadly for disabled people. This book highlights how a deeper understanding of disability relations can challenge the practices of crime control and the processes of criminalization.
Examining the words that shape our political landscape, Fritsch is also co-editor of Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (2016). This book traces the variations and usages of words that have come to define the imaginary of today’s radical left, illuminating the social transformations marking our contested present.
Fritsch has co-edited special journal issues of Somatechnics, Feminist Formations, Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, and Studies in Social Justice. She currently sits on the Editorial Board of the open access journal Disability Studies Quarterly. Between 2015–2018, she served as Associate Editor of Research for Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal.
Fritsch is currently working on two books. The first, Crip Commitments, takes up the generative disruptions of disability as tracked through practices of friction and noncompliance. The second, A Broken Politics for a Disabled World, is co-authored with Anne McGuire and considers how crip knowledge practices of repair and maintenance better enable us to grapple with the broken social conditions under which we unevenly live.
She regularly teaches courses in critical disability studies and social theory and supervises a wide range of students interested in disability; crip and queer theory; deinstitutionalization, carceral ableism, and abolition; disability justice; accessibility; sociology of health, illness, and medicine; feminist science and technology studies; political economy; biopolitics and necropolitics; gender and sexuality; social and political theory; and social movements.
Fritsch completed her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University and was a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at the Women & Gender Studies Institute, University of Toronto.