Research

Publications

Konrad, Annika. “Reimagining Work: Normative Commonplaces and Their Effects on Accessibility in Workplaces.” Article in “Enabling Workplaces, Classrooms, and Pedagogies: Bringing Disability Theory and Accessibility to Business and Professional Communication,” a special issue of Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, vol. 81, no. 1, March 2018, pp. 123-141.

Konrad, Annika, Miller, Elisabeth and Kerschbaum, Stephanie (eds.). Introduction to “Doing Composition in the Presence of Disability,” special issue of Composition Forum, vol. 39, Summer 2018.

Konrad, Annika. “Why Study Disability: Lessons Learned from a Community Writing Project.” Reflections: A Journal of Public Rhetoric, Civic Writing, and Service Learning, vol. 14, no. 1, 2014/2015, pp. 121-135. Reprinted in Best of the Journals in Rhetoric and Composition 2015-2016, Parlor Press.

Overview

My research interests rest at the intersections of disability studies, rhetoric of public engagement, theories of access and pedagogy, assistive technology and universal design, community engagement, and writing program administration. I focus particularly on public engagement with difference, with attention toward how public audiences engage—and do not engage—disability and disabled people. Methodologically, I use approaches to rhetoric and writing studies informed by disability studies, community writing, and feminist bioethics, employing qualitative methods to examine lived rhetorical experiences of difference.

Previous Research

My current research is based on a qualitative study conducted for my doctoral dissertation in which I investigated how disabled people learn and use rhetorical and literate practices for public life. Through semi-structured interviews with twenty-two people who are blind and visually impaired—a population that is often socially isolated and faces barriers to employment, literacy, and transportation—I investigate the deficit discourses and normative relations that shape public engagement with disability. I conclude that while access depends on the participation of others, an argument disability scholars have been making for a long time, people with disabilities often bear the heavy burden—without training or guidance—for engaging others in access, a phenomenon I call everyday rhetorical labor of disability. I explore how everyday rhetorical labor of disability manifests in three different scenes of public life: professional, informational, and social. In each of these three contexts, I demonstrate how logics of individual responsibility for access have material, emotional, and social consequences, a finding I discuss through a concept I call access fatigue. By building upon participants’ rhetorical strategies for access, I offer a theory of rhetorical pedagogy of interdependence that teaches habits and behaviors for supporting a more inclusive public life.

Current Book Project

My current book project, Access Fatigue: Public Rhetorical Pedagogy of Disability in Everyday Life, extends my previous research by theorizing the act of access as a lived, everyday rhetorical experience from both individual and community perspectives. Built from an online community advocacy project (The Outlook From Here) facilitated in partnership with a nonprofit disability organization, Access Fatigue theorizes the central rhetorical task of the community project—to engage public audiences with disability. While scholars in Composition and Rhetoric have theorized access from specific events and exigencies, mainly stemming from studies of higher education, access has not yet been theorized as a lived, everyday experience that requires rhetorical labor in public life. Drawing upon scholarship of embodied rhetoric, disability rhetoric, feminist bioethics, community engagement, and sociology, Access Fatigue offers new conceptual frameworks through which to understand access as a public rhetorical act that demands high levels of literate and rhetorical activity from disabled people and their allies. As an answer to this problem, my book offers a rhetorical pedagogy of interdependence as a method for building inclusive structures for public engagement. Placing access at the center of the rhetorical situation, my book trains readers to reimagine relationships among people, tasks, and tools in space and time. Access Fatigue includes new data that complicates the theory of access fatigue and uses the online community advocacy project as a case study for redefining the rhetoric of access through everyday experience. Theorizing the online community advocacy project as a point of access and interdependence, Access Fatigue offers an ethics of interdependence for public rhetoric partnerships. As part of this book project, I plan to launch a new community project around the concept of access fatigue, publishing multimodal histories from people with varied physical and mental disabilities about access fatigue.

Media Coverage

Eye on Vision. Memphis Public Radio Interview. March 27, 2015.

The Badger Herald. February 19, 2015.

My research stems from a community-writing project, The Outlook From Here, which has been featured on local radio stations. One community writer’s work was featured on Wisconsin Public Radio.

Featured image: The image above features two Ishihara color blind tests. They look like circles with many different colored dots, and supposedly, someone who is not color blind can see a number in the dots. Although I cannot see the numbers, I have always enjoyed how these circles look. 

Advertisements