Graduate Students

Keenan Davis

Keenan Davis is a doctoral student in the Graduate Division of Religion with a research focus in bioethics. Building on his background in neuroscience and Jewish ethics, Keenan completed his MA in bioethics through Emory University's Center for Ethics with a thesis analyzing the impact of biotechnology on human dignity. His current research revolves around patient experiences with deep brain stimulation to treat depression. He is also interested in neuroethics, moral psychology, and the metaphysics of medicine.

Corey Goergen

Corey Goergen

Corey Goergen is a PhD candidate in English. He received his MA at the University of Georgia in 2009. He is interested in disability and drug use in the long 18th century. His dissertation considers the interrelationships between drug use, English Empiricism, Romanticism, and disability in producing the modern conception of the addict.

Lindsey Grubbs

Lindsey Grubbs

Lindsey Grubbs is a doctoral candidate in English with a certificate in bioethics. Her dissertation traces the influence of literary style on the formation of psychiatric and neurologic diagnosis (and vice versa) from the 1780s to the 1880s in America. By tracing the diagnostic features of literature and the literary features of diagnosis, she analyzes how literature is used as a tool to negotiate the social meaning of illness. Her work has appeared in Literature & Medicine and the American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience.

John Gulledge


John Gulledge is a doctoral student in the English department, where he studies early modern and eighteenth-century theatre (1600-1800), disability, and social networks of performance that intersect with the stage. Broadly, his work questions the ways in which aesthetic performance served as blueprints for everyday life and shaped modern categories of identity. He received his BA from the University of South Carolina and MA from Auburn University.

Sasha Klupchak

Sasha Klupchak is a third year graduate student in the ILA. She works at the intersection of body history/disability studies and visual studies--especially ethnographic and documentary film. Her dissertation project revolves around the ex-Senator for the Democratic Party for Georgia Max Cleland. She is a working filmmaker in the final stages of post-production for a film shot in Nicaragua entitled Plastic of the Lemon Grove. She begins shooting her next film project in the fall using archival footage and conducting interviews with Max Cleland.

Rachel Kolb

Rachel Kolb

Rachel Kolb is a doctoral student in the English department, where she is also pursuing a certification in bioethics. Rachel has prior master's degrees in English literature and education from Stanford University and the University of Oxford. Her research interests relate to representations of disability in twentieth century American literature and culture, especially depictions of deafness, physical embodiment, and conventions of language and communication.

Stephanie Larson

Stephanie Larson is a doctoral student in the English Department at Emory University. She is interested in depictions of disability in 20th-century American Literature. Her current research examines representations of developmental disability in literature of the American South. Her other research interests include the medical humanities, animal studies, and film studies.

Jess Libow

Jess Libow

Jess Libow is a doctoral student in English. She studies disability, health, and gender in 19th and 20th century U.S. literature and culture. Other areas of interest include Deaf studies and the health humanities. She received her B.A. in English from Haverford College.

Adam P. Newman

Adam P. Newman

Adam P. Newman is a doctoral candidate in the Department of English and currently the Woodruff Library/ECDS Fellow in Digital Humanities. His research explores the intersection of race, disability and gender in 19th and 20th century American and African American literature and culture. In his dissertation, entitled “Caring Across the Color Line: Race, Disability, and Scenarios of Dependency in Nineteenth-Century American Literature,” he interrogates the way that fantasies and anxieties of dependency in nineteenth century America were inflected by issues of race, disability, and masculinity and worked out in representations of interracial caregiving between men. Some of his recent publications include "Polio and the Body Politics of Assimilation in Philip Roth’s Nemesis" in Jahrbuch Literatur und Medizin and the forthcoming essay “Learning to See Myself in the Mirror” in Barriers & Belonging: Personal Narratives of Disability (Temple University Press, 2017). Adam currently serves as the Chair of the Student Caucus in the Society for Disability Studies.

Justin Shaw

Justin Shaw

Justin P. Shaw is a PhD Candidate in English Literature at Emory University. His research engages issues of race and disability in the poetry and drama of early modern England. His dissertation, “Race and Melancholy in Early Modern English Literature,” explores the interwoven rhetoric and performances of racial difference and melancholy in drama, poetry, and prose works from 1590 to 1690. He has served as Project Manager for Shakespeare & the Players and the Andrew Mellon Intern and Assistant Curator for two exhibits in the Michael C. Carlos Museum: First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare (2016) and Desire & Consumption: The New World in Age of Shakespeare (2017).

Sam Vanhorn

Sam Vanhorn Sam is a PhD candidate in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and a doctoral certificate student in Bioethics. Originally from Hawaii, Sam received her BA (2008) and MA (2009) in psychology from New School University in New York City. Her dissertation explores how standardized body image assessments may do a disservice to understanding the body image experiences of lesbians. At the intersection of feminist theory, disability studies, and user experience (UX), Sam’s dissertation critiques many existing assumptions and methods of standardized assessments and points out how they falter. The social model of disability studies states that disability is made when the particularity of the body does not fit in the built environment. Relatedly, the lived experiences of lesbians are ignored by many body image standardized assessments. UX—a prevalent field in the tech industry—focuses on accessibility, usability, and how humans engage with their environments. In merging the fields of feminist theory and disability studies with the methodological practices of UX, this dissertation presents a novel approach for better understanding lesbian body image experiences.


Caroline Warren

Caroline is a PhD student in the Emory WGSS program. She holds a BA in Science, Technology and Society from Vassar College. Her research interests include feminist science studies and queer bioethics.

Past Graduate Students:

Joel Michael Reynolds (Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellow in Bioethics and the Humanities at the Hastings Center)

Harold Braswell (Assistant Professor of Health Care Ethics at the Albert Gnaegi Center for Health Care Ethics) 

Cyd Cipolla (Class Adviser & Associate Faculty at the NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study)

Rachel Dudley (Visiting Assistant Professor in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Emory University)

G. Michael Gordon-Smith (US English Teacher at Phoenix Country Day School)

Kristina Gupta (Assistant Professor in Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at Wake Forest University)

Aimi Hamraie (Assistant Professor of Medicine, Health, and Society at Vanderbilt University)

Anson-Koch-Rein (Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality, & Fem. Studies at Middlebury College)

Jen Sarrett (Visiting Assistant Professor in the Center for the Study of Human Health at Emory University)

Rebecca Spurrier (Associate Dean for Worship Life and Assistant Professor of Worship at Columbia Theological Seminary)

Mairead Sullivan (Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies at Loyola Marymount University)

Robyn Neville (Visiting Professor of Church History at the General Theological Seminary in New York)

Megan Friddle (Director of the National Scholarships and Fellowships Program at Emory University)

Alison Hobgood (Associate Professor of English at Willamette University)

Other notable former Emory graduates who work on disability (yet predate the establishment of the DSI) include:

Julie Livingston (MacArthur Fellow and Professor of History at Rutgers University)

Gary Albrecht (Fellow of the Royal Belgian Academy of Arts and Sciences and Professor Emeritus of Public Health and of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago)

Stephanie Jenkins (Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University)