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UMD at Home and in the World: Ability and Disability

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University of Maryland

0201 Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center

College Park, MD 20742

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From the workplace and our personal relationships, to culture and literature, disability has attracted new and important perspectives. The next UMD at Home and in the World will feature researchers who study disability from a variety of disciplines and help promote thinking about and discussion around this crucial issue.

Join us as we hear from speakers Bradley Hatfield, Kinesiology; Paul Jaeger, Information Studies; and Alexis Lothian, Women’s Studies, as they discuss their projects, including:

  • Creating new accessible technologies and making existing technologies more accessible;
  • The use of prosthetics in virtual reality environments and determining the brain’s role in the recovery and adaptation process;
  • Disability in the context of public policy and the Internet;
  • Understanding disability through the framework of ableism as a systemic form of structural violence that intersects with many others; and
  • How people have sought to imagine and enact worlds structured differently through fiction, art, and social engagement.


This event is open only to faculty, staff, and students at the University of Maryland. If you require special accommodations, please email us or call 301.405.6803.



Research Details:


Alexis Lothian
Disability activist and writer Eli Clare writes: “gender folds into disability, disability wraps around class, class strains against race, race snarls into sexuality, sexuality hangs onto gender, all of it finally piling into our bodies.” Scholarship and pedagogy in the interdisciplinary field of Women’s Studies analyzes these intersections and the power structures that produce and maintain them, understanding disability primarily through the framework of ableism as a systemic form of structural violence that intersects with many others. My research explores how people have sought to imagine and enact worlds structured differently through fiction, art, and social engagement; I will use the short science fiction story “Hollow” by Mia Mingus to demonstrate why this perspective is important.

Paul T. Jaeger The field of information studies strives to promote the inclusion of disabled people in numerous ways, from creating new accessible technologies and making existing technologies more accessible to the numerous programs and services of cultural heritage institutions, like public libraries, that work to promote the inclusion of disabled people in their communities. I will be discussing issues of information related to disability in the context of public policy about the Internet.

Bradley D. Hatfield Our lab seeks to understand the brain processes in elite performers, such as athletes and soldiers, who are generally very efficient at task-related brain activity. Even for these folks, though, having to use a prosthesis after an injury can be a challenge. We study the “attention cost” of walking with a prosthetic for amputees of the lower extremity--that is, there is an adaptation period for amputees to acclimate to the device during which mental load is high and attention is compromised. This state poses the risk of accidents (e.g., falls) and distraction during walking. We use a virtual reality environment to try to understand individual differences and attention-related strategies that would promote economy of brain activity and elevated focus and awareness of their environment. The overarching goal is to determine readiness for activities of daily living and work-related tasks so new amputees can function as safely as possible.






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University of Maryland

0201 Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center

College Park, MD 20742

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