The cover image above shows a black and white sketch drawing of a building exterior, a “proposal for ramped entry” to a court house building in North Carolina drawn by disabled architect Ronald Mace in 1980. The building’s entry has two steps to its glass doors, but a ramp to the side facilitates entry to the same doors by wheels. Two people stand in apparent conversation in front of the doors, their bodies arranged in similar manner to the building’s vertical geometries: columns flanking the doors, as well as serving as aesthetic elements at the upper level. This design was unbuilt.

Like the sketch, my work focuses on the relationship between bodies and built environments. I am assistant professor of Medicine, Health, & Society, affiliated faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies, and director of the Mapping Access project and Critical Design Lab at Vanderbilt University. My interdisciplinary scholarship focuses on the historical and ethnographic study of bodies and built environments, applying frameworks from critical and crip disability studies, feminist technoscience studies, and critical design studies. My first book, Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability, studied the twentieth century shift from design for the average user to design for non-average users culminating in the movement toward Universal Design. My second book project, Enlivened City: public bodies, healthy spaces, livable worlds, examines the biopolitics of global livable cities design. I also direct Mapping Access, a participatory data collection and mapping project focused on promoting accessibility in built environments. Finally, I am a certified permaculture designer working at the intersections of food justice, sustainability, and urban development.


PhD, 2013

Department of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Emory University

Concentrations: critical disability studies, feminist technoscience and science and technology studies, architecture and urban studies/critical design


B.A., 2007

Interdisciplinary Studies in Culture and Society and Political Science (Urban Studies), Emory University

Other Publications


Hamraie, Aimi. Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017).


Hamraie, Aimi. “Universal Design and the Problem of Post-Disability Ideology,” Design and Culture 8.3 (2016): 285-309. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17547075.2016.1218714.

Hamraie, Aimi. “Beyond Accommodation: Disability, Feminist Philosophy, and the Design of Everyday Academic Life.” philoSOPHIA. 6(2) (2016): 260-272.

Hamraie, Aimi. “Historical Epistemology as Disability Studies Methodology: from the models framework to Foucault’s archaeology of cure,” Foucault Studies 19, June 2015, 108-134. ISSN: 1832. http://rauli.cbs.dk/index.php/foucault-studies/article/view/4827/5252.

Hamraie, Aimi. “Cripping Feminist Technoscience” (peer reviewed review essay), Hypatia: journal of feminist philosophy 30.1 (Winter 2015): 307-313. DOI: 10.1111/hypa.12124.

Hamraie, Aimi. “Designing Collective Access: a feminist disability theory of Universal Design,” Disability Studies Quarterly 33.4 (2013): http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3871/3411.

*Reprinted in Disability, Space, Architecture, edited by Jos Boys. London: Routledge, 2017.

Hamraie, Aimi. “Universal Design Research as a New Materialist Practice,” Disability Studies Quarterly 32.4 (2012): http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/3246.

Hamraie, Aimi. “Proximate and Peripheral: Ableist Discourses of Space and Vulnerability Surrounding the UNCRPD,” in The Politics of Space and Place:Exclusions, Resistance, Alternatives (ed. C. Certoma, N. Clewer, & D. Elsey). Cambridge Scholars Press, 2012: 145-169.


Hamraie, Aimi. “Inclusive Design: Cultivating Accountability Toward the Intersections of Race, Aging, and Disability,” Age Culture Humanities 2 (Spring 2016): 253-262. http://ageculturehumanities.org/WP/inclusive-design-cultivating-accountability-toward-the-intersections-of-race-aging-and-disability.

Book reviews

Hamraie, Aimi. Review of Universal Design as a Rehabilitation Strategy by Jon Sanford (2012) and Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments by Edward Steinfeld & Jordana Maisel. Design & Culture (Spring 2013): 268-271.

Hamraie, Aimi. Review of The Question of Access by Tanya Titchkosky (2011). Disability Studies Quarterly 33.1 (2013): http://dsq-sds.org/issue/view/100 (solicited).

Public scholarship

Hamraie, Aimi. “Universal Design in the Museum” blog series. Smithsonian Institution, Lemelson Center “Bright Ideas” Blog. August 22, 27, & 30, 2012. Available at: <http://blog.invention.smithsonian.org/tag/aimi-hamraie/&gt;


Blog Posts


    Association of American Geographers (AAG)

    Society for the History of Technology (SHOT)

    Society for Disability Studies (SDS)

    Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)

    History of Science Society (HSS)

    Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)

    American Studies Association (ASA)

    National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA)

    Phi Beta Kappa (Emory University)

    Aimi Hamraie

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