Welcome! I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago and a dissertation fellow at the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. My work is situated at the intersection of contemporary political theory, feminist theory, and disability studies. My dissertation, Disability: A Democratic Dilemma, brings disability studies into conversation with political theory by drawing upon the resources of feminist political theory, science and technology studies, and economic history. More specifically, I am interested in the ways in which disability studies scholars and activists articulate claims to membership, and why these claims so often serve to reinforce the very structures and assumptions they are meant to oppose. A greater understanding of these dynamics as they play out within disability studies and activism will, I argue, have broader implications for the ways we think about citizenship and equality while also illuminating alternative avenues by which marginalized and excluded groups might achieve full membership.

During my time at the University of Chicago, I have taught in the Social Sciences Core, the Political Science Department, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. This past spring, I designed and led an upper-level undergraduate seminar in the Political Science Department, entitled Disability: A Democratic Dilemma. Spanning literature in political theory, legal studies, US history, and disability studies, the course considered the challenge presented by disability for the way we think about democratic inclusion. In previous years, I taught Advanced Theories of Gender and Sexuality with Linda Zerilli (Winter 2018), as well as Classics of Social and Political Thought II (Winter 2017). Between Spring 2018 and Spring 2019, I served as a BA preceptor in the Political Science Department. More information on my teaching, including syllabi, can be found here.

I hold an MA in the Social Sciences from the University of Chicago (2012) and an AB in Social Studies from Harvard College (2009). Since 2014 I have served as the co-coordinator of the Gender and Sexuality Studies Workshop at the University of Chicago. My work at Chicago has been supported by the Department of Political Science, The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, and the Pozen Family Center for Human Rights. My CV is available here.

I am reachable by email at: aheffernan@uchicago.edu