Senior Lecturer

Curriculum Vitæ


Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania, M.A. and M.F.A. Indiana University, B.A. University of Pennsylvania

My research locates at the intersection of disability history and bioethics. My specific interest is in the severely intellectually and developmentally disabled, and how this population challenges the social model of disability that is currently ascendant in both academia and advocacy. I am also very interested in representation in both senses of the word: first, who speaks for those who can’t speak for themselves? And second, how do media and other cultural depictions both reflect and shape the changing valence of an unstable diagnosis such as autism? My work engages as well with broader themes in the history of medicine, such as the ontology of diagnostic categories and contested claims of expertise and authority.

Research Interests

History of autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities; public policy and vulnerable populations; history of psychiatry; bioethics

Selected Work

“Ethical Advocacy Across the Autism Spectrum: Beyond Partial Representation,” with Matthew McCoy, Emily Liu, and Dominic Sisti, in American Journal of Bioethics, (2020)

“Against ‘Community,’” The Pennsylvania Gazette, (2020). “Adults with Disabilities Deserve Right to Choose Where to Live,” Spectrum, (2017).

“Who Decides Where Autistic Adults Live?” The Atlantic, (2015) “Psychiatric Patients Aren’t The Only Ones In Need Of ‘Asylum,’” The Philadelphia Inquirer, (2015).

“You Do Not Have Asperger’s: What Psychiatry’s New Diagnostic Manual Means for People on the Autism Spectrum,” Slate, (2013)

“Where Should Special Needs Kids Be Special? Tricky Questions About How To Share Public Spaces,” Slate, reprinted Dallas Morning News (2013).

Teaching Fields

History of medicine, bioethics

Faculty Bookshelf