Areas of Inquiry

My research is concerned with the social, political, economic, and cultural consequences of policies related to the education and employment of persons with disabilities in Japan and the United States. It covers a broad range of topics, which may be divided into three general areas of inquiry: (1) Disability and Politics, (2) Disability and Movements, and (3) Disability and Media.

Disability and Politics

Who decides what it means to be disabled? How do their decisions allow for the exclusion of certain individuals from sites of socioeconomic exchange? Should we do something about it? If so, what are our options? I take up these questions in my dissertation, “Politics, Prosthetics, and Public Imaginations: 150 Years of Disability in Japan.” I have also delivered presentations related to disability and politics at conferences hosted by the Association for Asian Studies, the Harvard East Asian Society, and the Oriental Studies Club of Philadelphia. My research on disability and politics has been supported by the Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership.

Disability and Movements

What kind of social movements does disability allow us to imagine? And how can disability help us think through issues of difference, diversity, and respect in coalition politics? To address these questions, I’ve developed the “Accessibility Mapping Project” (2017)which has been featured in articles by CNET and The Philadelphia Inquirer. I have also spoken about disability and social movements as a special correspondent on NHK’s Baribara and Mobility International USA’s Ripple Effects podcast. My ongoing research on disability and social movements is supported by a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania.  

Disability and Media 

How do ideas about disability structure the law, policy, fiction, and film that we create? And how do such media reciprocally shape our understanding of disability as a conceptual category? I’ve explored these questions in talks delivered at the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and the U.S.-Japan Youth Forum in Tokyo. I will continue to do so in my forthcoming publication, “Prosthetic Dharma: An Exploration of Disability and Defilement in Medieval Japan,” which is currently in preparation for a special issue of Japanese Studies. My research on this topic has been supported by Fulbright-IEE and the Khyentse Foundation.