Research

Current research emphases: Bioethics, philosophy of disability, philosophy of medicine, social epistemology.


Silence, Oppression, and Resistance in Narrative Health Practices: The relatively recent “narrative turn” (or perhaps “return”) in medicine and bioethics has generated new discussion on the relevance and importance of attending to stories for health and moral practices. While I believe that narrative and testimony are important for many of the reasons raised in these discussions, I think that uncritically centering narratives in our moral and health practices may miss or 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 strategies of communication, as self-protection, or as resistance to unjust and coercive epistemic and health practices. Drawing from social epistemology, disability studies, and communication studies, alongside examples from health communities, institutions, and practices, and the vast knowledges produced outside of academic and professional health spaces, my dissertation explores the different ways we discuss or undervalue ‘silence’, the practices and structures that produce or reproduce different kinds of ‘silences’ and exclusions, and the material consequences for health and healthcare. This research is currently supported by a SSHRC Vanier Canada award.


2019 Selected Presentations (in reverse chronological order):

  • June 2019: [Tentative Title: “On Perishing and other Disappearing Acts”]. Panel on Ableism and Mental Health Stigma in Philosophy. Canadian Philosophical Association. Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN. Accepted: Invited panelist, peer-reviewed panel.
  • May 2019: “Designing for Diversity: Broadening Language and Practices Around Accessibility and Accommodation“. Accessibility Conference. Guelph, Ontario, CAN.
  • May 2019:‘Building’ Public Health: Hostile Architecture and Healthy Design” and “Promoting Public Health through Forgiveness Interventions: Cautionary Notes” and “This Presentation is Inaccessible: Social Epistemology and Bioethics Conferences“. Canadian Bioethics Society. Banff, Alberta, CAN. Accepted: Each presentation peer-reviewed based on abstract proposal.
  • April 2, 2019: “Divesting from Ableism: Plastic Futures and Disabling Environmentalisms”. LEAP UofT, University of Toronto. Invited talk for week of action on divesting from fossil fuels.
  • March 1, 2019: Roundtable participant: Problematizing ‘Academic’ Knowledge. Underrepresented Philosophy Conference. University of Toronto. Invited panelist.
  • January 24, 2019: “Plastic Futures and Disabling Environmentalisms”. University of Toronto. Invited talk for undergraduates.

An invitation to you: I get to go to many conferences where academic researchers and health practitioners meet, and many of these events are inaccessible to the “broader public” because of things like their costs, location, academic jargon, restrictions on who gets to register, and other sources of inaccessibility. Where possible, I like to try to use my attendance to benefit others who cannot. One way I’ve been able to do this is to bring the questions and experiences of people who are unable to attend into my talks or into the Q&As of other presentations (and to share the answers I receive back accordingly).

If you have questions or perspectives that you would like to be raised in any of the events I’m listed as attending (such as questions for a particular presentation on a conference schedule), I am always happy to hear from you and to try my best to share them. You can send me an email at c.dalrymple.fraser at mail.utoronto.ca (replace the “at” with an “@”). For example, if there are things you think philosophers need to know about ableism and mental health stigma, I may be able to share those at the panel I’m presenting on in June.

And a note on context: A lot of my research and learning is grounded in dialogue and community conversation, and so I seek out conferences and events rather often. However, this is only possible through the material and community supports I have access to. The list here is meant both to provide a reference for people looking to reconnect after an event, and to give some more detail on my research. But I am also acutely aware of how this contributes to the pervasive culture of ‘productivity’ and overwork as a norm in academia (as academics’ personal websites often do in general), particularly among graduate and early-career academics, and how this serves to passively and actively exclude or disvalue many people and groups who do not have the same access to resources or opportunities. I hope that this comment can do at least a little work to contextualize these research activities while we remain critical of the structures and barriers around them.

Those interested in thinking more about academic norms in the context of disability in particular might wish to read more 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 journal 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).