Ryan Lee Cartwright’s research focuses on disability, gender, and sexuality on the social and spatial margins. Cartwright’s first book, Peculiar Places: A Queer Crip History of White Rural Nonconformity
(University of Chicago Press, August 2021), maps racialized queer and disability histories of white social nonconformity across the rural US, from the 1910s to the 1990s. Their second book examines how, in the early-to-mid twentieth century US, chronic illness came to be understood as a gendered, racialized “social burden.” Cartwright teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on a wide range of topics, including disability studies, queer and trans history, the 1990s, research methodologies, social welfare, and landscapes and places.
Cartwright is affiliated with the graduate groups in Cultural Studies and Performance Studies, as well as the designated emphasis in Feminist Theory and Research, and is coordinator of the Disability and Social In/Justice DHI research cluster. Cartwright holds a PhD in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, and their work has been funded by the ACLS, NEH, Hellman Family Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, and American Philosophical Society, among others. Prior to their appointment at the University of California, Davis, Cartwright was associate editor of MNopedia, a digital encyclopedia of Minnesota created by the Minnesota Historical Society.