Aimi Hamraie and Kelly Fritsch offer “crip technoscience” as a critical project that centers the experiences of disabled people as designers. Too often in architecture, product design, and urban planning, disabled people are treated solely as users, not as makers. This ignores the long history of disabled people’s ways of shaping design, both in a professional capacity and in everyday life. Crip technoscience provides a different analytical framework that also explains why disabled ways of designing are political: they challenge the imperatives to be typical, productive, and functioning, instead inviting strategies based on friction and contestation.
Aimi Hamraie is Associate Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society and American Studies at Vanderbilt University, where they direct the Critical Design Lab. Their scholarship spans crip and feminist approaches to technoscience, built environments, and race. They are author of Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability (2017), the first critical history of the Universal Design movement, and host of the Contra* podcast. Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. As a feminist disability studies scholar and crip theorist, her work explores the generative frictions of disability for social justice. She is co-author of We Move Together, a children’s book engaging community-based practices of desiring disability, and co-editor of Disability Injustice: Confronting Criminalization in Canada and Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle. Together with Mara Mills and David Serlin, Hamraie and Fritsch co-edited a 2019 special issue of Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience on “Crip Technoscience.”
Image description: Aimi Hamraie on the left, an olive-skinned Iranian person with short dark curly hair and rectangular glasses, smiles at the camera. They wear a blue button-up shirt and a blue-green blazer. Behind them is a blurry green background. Kelly Fritsch, on the right, woman with green eyes, brown hair with bangs, wearing round black and red-rimmed glasses smiles wearing a blue shirt in front of a red background.