culture + environment creating health + wellbeing engaged research

Cathrin Fischer

PhD Student, Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures

About Me/Biography 

I have a background in philosophy, social sciences and psychology – which has left me really interested in interdisciplinary research! I Following my BA Degree in Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology at the University of Exeter, I went to University College Dublin for my MA in Philosophy, specialising in Consciousness and Embodiment. I am now at the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health as part of the ‘Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures Project’.

Philosophy is a collective practice for me – it is never easily separated from other aspects of life, often intersects with other disciplines and always done in conversation and exchange with others. At UCD, I co-founded a Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) chapter as part of the grassroots MAP organisation which aims to address structural barriers to the participation of marginalized people in philosophy. With this group, I have organised various events and spaces for meeting that focus on interdisciplinary and transnational perspectives in and to philosophy, and engaged philosophical practice.

Research I will be undertaking in the Centre 

My project will bring together phenomenological and crip-queer-feminist methods to investigate the lived embodied experience of disability, especially in relation to prosthesis. My research will therefore focus on a critical examination of futurity and reproduction, bodies in relation to each other and queer-‘crip’ uses of technology, appendages and environments. To put it more simply, disability technologies are a bit of a two-edged sword: on the hand, prostheses are rooted in medicalised understandings of disability that disabled people have to ‘cured’ or made to look ‘normal’. On the other hand, prostheses highlight the artifice and permeability of the body, and they can be very useful.  A nuanced understanding of disability and technology has to be mindful of all these dimensions. I therefore want to examine the experience of prostheses from the perspective of those who use them, and how they imagine prostheses to feature in the/their future. To facilitate this and centre lived experience, my work will also involve collaboration with disabled people, including phenomenological interviews.

I am part of Work Package 1 ‘Imagining/Experiencing Disability, Care and Embodiment’ of the ‘Imagining Technologies for Disability Futures’ project, supervised by Professor Luna Dolezal and Dr Joel Krueger.

My other research interests are primarily in the areas of feminist philosophy and phenomenology, particularly in terms of psychopathology, embodiment, emotions and at the intersection of social theory and medical humanities. I am interested in interdisciplinary philosophical approaches which center the lived, bodily experience of marginalised people and challenge normative assumptions. Both my undergraduate and postgraduate theses have focused on the (inter-)subjective, bodily and affective dimensions of eating disorders. I have also been writing about pregnancy, heartbreak and queer joy.