My professional interest in disability studies grew out of my personal experiences living in Japan as an American wheelchair user.
Each day, I got out of bed with help from a caregiver; left my barrier-free apartment, which an architect designed; and relied on administrators at school and work to prepare accommodations for me. Occasionally, the ‘access-makers’ described above were not present, or their actions not coordinated in such a way as to support me as a disabled foreigner, so I found myself unable to leave home, pursue an education, or achieve employment.
My isolation led me to investigate a series of questions: Why do barriers to accessibility emerge? For whom are they an issue? What kinds of barriers are there? And how can barriers be dismantled?
To answer these questions, I set out to explore how stakeholders construct notions of accessibility in Japan by combining frameworks from history, anthropology, sociology, law, and media studies.
To date, my research has culminated in my dissertation, “Politics and Prosthetics: 150 Years of Disability in Japan,” and a collection of peer-reviewed and public-facing publications and digital projects.
For additional information, see my research statement.