Research

Primary Research Areas: Ethics (especially practical ethics and bioethics), philosophy of disability, epistemology (especially social epistemology).


Silence, Oppression, and Resistance in Narrative Health Practices: The relatively recent “narrative turn” (or perhaps “return”) in medicine and bioethics has generated lively discussion on the relevance and importance of stories for health and moral practices. While I believe that narrative is important for many of the reasons commonly expressed, I argue that an uncritical centring of narratives in our moral and health practices may miss and obscure the ways in which instances and structures of injustices often manifest in enforced “silences”, as well as the ways “silences” are often deployed as forms of communication and as resistance to unjust and coercive practices. Drawing from feminist social epistemology, disability studies, postcolonial studies, and communication studies, my thesis explores and examines the different ways we discuss or undervalue “silence”, and the practices and structures that uphold or reinforce these “silences” and exclusions. This research is currently supported by a SSHRC Vanier Canada award.


2018 Selected Talks and Presentations: *

  • November 22, 2018: Promoting Public Health through Forgiveness Interventions: Cautionary Notes“. Health Promotion Ontario Conference. Toronto, Ontario. CAN.
  • June 4-7, 2018:Building Epistemic Justice: Disability, Epistemic Exclusions, and the Material Built Environment” and comments on Michael Montess (York University, Canada) “Challenging the Anthropocentrism in the Ethics of Climate Change”. Canadian Philosophical Association. Montreal, Ontario. CAN.
  • May 30, 2018: “Rethinking ‘Participation’: Inclusive Design in Evaluation of Student Engagement“. 10th Annual Accessibility Conference. Guelph, Ontario. CAN.
  • May 23-25, 2018: “Exclusion and Healthism in Population Health Nudging Practices“. Canadian Bioethics Society Annual Meeting. Halifax, Nova Scotia. CAN.
  • April 27-28, 2018: “What You See Is What You Gender: Pinkwashing in Digital Architectures“. Theorizing the Web Annual Conference. Panel on Representing Queerness. New York City, New York, USA.
  • March 23, 2018:Social Epistemology and Bioethics“. Invited talk for Philosophy Course Union Bioethics Conference: ‘What Every Philosophy Student Should Know About Bioethics’. University of Toronto. Toronto, Ontario, CAN.
  • January 6, 2018: Epistemic Exploitation of Students in Accommodation Policies and Practices” (co-authored with Mark Fortney). Eastern American Philosophical Association Teaching Hub. Savannah, Georgia, USA.

* A lot of my research and learning is grounded in dialogue and conversation, and so I tend to seek out more conferences than I otherwise would. However, this is only possible through the privileged means and access I have that permit me to frequently attend academic conferences, whether as an audience member or other participant. The list here is meant both as a reference for people looking to reconnect after a conference, and to give some more detail on my research. But I am also acutely aware of how this may contribute to the pervasive culture of ‘productivity’ and overwork as a norm in academia (as academics’ personal websites often do in general), and how this serves to passively and actively exclude many people and groups. I hope that this comment can do at least a little work to contextualize my research activities while we remain critical of the structures and barriers around those.

Those interested in thinking more about academic norms in the context of disability in particular might wish to learn about the concept of ‘crip time’ such as in Alison Kafer’s 2013 Feminist, Queer, Crip (esp chapter one) or Ellen Samuels’ 2017 “Six Ways of Looking at Crip Time” in the open access Disability Studies Quarterly, and to read Margaret Price’s Mad At School which does well to discuss and interrogate norms around eg participation and productivity in the context of mental disabilities (esp chapters two and three).


Other research in progress:

Most of my conference presentations represent pieces of a larger dissertation rather than individual projects. I do currently have some stand-alone projects being prepared, in various degrees of completion, that are available for presentation or conversation. The titles here are merely illustrative: (i) “Rethinking Forgiveness and Public Health” is a response piece that offers cautions against uncritically taking the evidence that forgiveness promotes well-being as a reason to promote forgiveness as a public health issue or intervention; (ii) “Hostile Health Design” argues that architectural practices play important roles in health access and public health nudging practices, and that health ethics and practices can benefit by attending more closely to critical access studies and geographies of health; and (iii) “Rethinking Participation” offers critical remarks on the risks and abuses of participation as an assessment in higher education, grounded largely around disability and language justice, and suggests a more inclusive framework. I also have projects on what plastic straw bans and classroom laptop bans reveal about the construction of the category of disability, which are ready for discussion but do not currently have written materials on these.