2023-24 JHI-UTSC Digital Humanities Faculty Fellow

May 1, 2023 by Sonja Johnston

The JHI-UTSC DH Faculty Fellowship is an 18-month digital scholarship for UTSC faculty members that is supported by the Jackman Humanities Institute, the UTSC Library, the Dean, UTSC and the Office of the Vice Principal Research. We're delighted to announce that Aparna Nair, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Society, will be the JHI's 2023-24 fellow.

Aparna Nair is an historian and occasional anthropologist of disability, race, technology, medicine, and public health in South Asia, with emerging interests in animal studies/history and popular culture. Her work is fundamentally interdisciplinary, and driven by her interest in exploring the pasts, presents and possible futures of disability. Her research is also undeniably shaped by her own experiences of epilepsy, and part of her research involves hospital-based ethnographic explorations of epilepsy and its meanings for identity, belonging, family and community. In her teaching, she is committed to both the public and digital humanities, and to disability justice as an organizing principle.

Fellowship Project

Everyday Technologies and the Experience of Disability in India, 1900-1990

Whether referring to prostheses or Braille presses or reading software, technology has routinely been pitched as a particularly important “panacea” to the “problem” of disability. Technology is seen as approximating normalcy in disabled populations; as facilitating anti-poverty efforts, increasing social participation, and improving access; in short, transforming disabled bodies into approximations of “normal.” But how have disabled people experienced technology in India? This interdisciplinary project will examine experience and identity through the lens of assistive technology in India in the 20th century and will be published in open access format.