Disability Geographies and Disability Time Travels


About the Cluster
Our cluster is interested in how disabled people travel to and through academic geographies. We are interested in the barriers and joys of traveling to and within higher education, including ableist productivity expectations, inaccessible physical spaces, and innovative performance. Traveling with disability requires an embrace of crip time (Samuels, 2017; Kafer 2021), which means understanding how disabled people move in time and space, which often conflict with academic conceptions that imagine disability as “not-yet” present (Titchkosky, 2010). Thus, rather than assuming that academia is an accessible home base from which we travel, our research cluster is interested in reshaping our academic geographies to embrace disability cultures (Kuppers, 2022) – including disability activisms, pedagogies, and research trajectories – so that disabled people may finally and fully arrive on campus. To do this, we seek to build community, make connections and collaborations beyond UCSC, host local events, and think towards a Disability Studies minor.

This research cluster will convene faculty and graduate students working in the field of Disability Studies and disability justice from across the social sciences, arts, and humanities. Our approach is one that foregrounds intersectionality, and the individuality of questions of ableism from anti-Blackness and other forms of racism, sexism, trans- and homo-phobia, classicism, and many other interlocking threads of oppression and injustice. We intend to build connections between our cluster and other clusters, for instance, the “Black Geographies” group, which is also concerned with mapping spaces of danger and inaccessibility, as well as spaces and practices of community healing and gathering.

The UCSC campus poses particular barriers to, and opportunities for, disability work, most obviously to disabled people with mobility complications, but also at the intersections of poverty, disability, and mental health. To this end, our cluster models accessible practice and interaction by challenging traditional notions of travel and time in ways that fashion a crip research cluster space. We intend to document how we do this to offer resources to future research clusters, and to contribute to ongoing campus discussions about what it means to offer hybrid and online events and teaching spaces.

Principal Investigators
Megan Moodie (Anthropology)
Amy Vidali (Writing Program)

Affiliated faculty
Nameer Akhtar (Psychology)
Noriko Aso (History)
Melissa Caldwell (Anthropology)
Nancy Chen (Anthropology)
Vilashini Cooppan (Literature)
Susan Daniels (Digital Arts and New Media)
Maria Evangelatou (HAVC)
Anna Friz (Film and Digital Media)
Irene Gustafson (Film and Digital Media)
Ashwak Hauter (Anthropology)
Sri Kurniawan (Computer Science)
Cynthia Ling Lee (Performance, Play, and Design)
Irene Lusztig (Film and Digital Media)
Megan McNamara (Social Sciences Division)
Brenda Sanfilippo (Writing Program)
Mircea Teodorescu (Electrical and Computer Engineering)

Affiliated PhD students
Caitlin Flaws (Literature)
Katie Gougelet (Anthropology)
Alison Hanson (Anthropology)