Welcome to the Course Site for Fall 2015’s “Technology & Disability” course. While the semester has not yet begun, I’m setting up a structure to fill with content during the coming semester, so please bear with the current disorganization!
I’m Ashley Shew, course instructor, page admin, and assistant professor in STS at Virginia Tech. I’ve published work on nanotechnology & society, am engaged with the interdisciplinary graduate education program on Regenerative Medicine at VT, work in the area of philosophy of technology, and am an amputee.
I’m interested in when, how, and why technologies are adopted or fail to be adpted when they are made. Now at the outset of a project on the intersection between philosophy of technology and disability studies, I am so excited to learn with this class. My book project, which I’m calling Human Again: Technology, Enhancement, and Disability, will offer readers an introduction to philosophy of technology and disability studies. By placing primacy on the lived experience of disability in the context of technological enhancement and in the context of assumptions about the nature of technology and disability, I hope to highlight the tensions we all often feel about any technology – the seduction of the new, the tug of the familiar, the incorporation of identity into the things we use, and the way identity and perception set up around technologies.
With a focus on the lived experience of technology and body, I invite students to develop and deepen their own specific research interests in line with the course theme. We will engage with the course theme through a variety of mediums – academic articles, memoirs and personal reflections, field trips to engineering labs that focus on assistive technologies, relevant documentaries, and a variety of guest speakers. This class requires a “hands-on, minds-on” approach, and I cannot wait to dig into the content with class participants!