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Date: 09/29/2021
Time: 6pm PST
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Talk Description:

The COVID-19 pandemic brought into the foreground—and exacerbated—a host of existing social inequities and injustices, including and especially those facing disabled people. Dr. Joel Michael Reynolds, Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, will discuss lessons we should take away from disability justice critiques of the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on how realizing disability justice and enacting insights from disability ethics would change American society today and in the future.


Joel Michael Reynolds is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Disability Studies at Georgetown University, a Senior Research Scholar in the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, a Senior Advisor to The Hastings Center, and core faculty in Georgetown’s Disability Studies Program. He is also the founder of The Journal of Philosophy of Disability, which he edits with Teresa Blankmeyer Burke.

At the broadest level, Dr. Reynolds’ work explores the relationship between bodies, values, and society. He is especially concerned with the meaning of disability, the issue of ableism, and how philosophical inquiry into each might improve the lives of people with disabilities and the justness of institutions ranging from medicine to politics. These concerns lead to research across a range of traditions and specialties, including philosophy of disability, applied ethics (especially biomedical ethics, public health, and ELSI research in genomics), European and American philosophy (with an emphasis on phenomenology and pragmatism as practiced in connection with history of philosophy), and social epistemology (particularly issues of epistemic injustice as linked to social ontology).

Reynolds is the author or editor of six books: The Life Worth Living: Disability, Pain, and Morality (forthcoming March 2022 with University of Minnesota Press), The Disability Bioethics Reader (forthcoming May 2022 with Routledge and co-edited with Christine Wieseler), Philosophy of Disability: An Introduction (forthcoming fall 2023 with Polity), The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability and Technology (forthcoming spring 2023 with Oxford University Press and co-edited with Liz Bowen, Erik Parens, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson), The Meaning of Disability (under contract with Oxford University Press), and Disability Justice in Emergency Conditions (in preparation and planned for fall 2023). Also with Erik Parens, he co-edited a 2020 special issue of The Hastings Center Report, “For All of Us? On the Weight of Genomic Knowledge.” Dr. Reynolds is author or co-author of over three dozen journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries, and his current research includes a number of article-length studies as well as pieces for Philosophical Foundations of Disability LawThe Encyclopedia of PhenomenologyThe Oxford Handbook of Social EpistemologyThe Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Existentialism, and The Oxford Handbook of Genetic Counseling. Recent authored or co-authored articles of his appear in EpistemeAMA Journal of EthicsEpoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy, Journal of Medical Ethics, The Hastings Center ReportCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, Kennedy Institute of Ethics JournalCritical Philosophy of Race, Foucault StudiesLevinas Studies, and Chiasmi International: Trilingual Studies Concerning the Thought of Merleau-Ponty.

His public work has been featured in TIME, HuffPost, AEON, The Conversation, Health Progress, and in a Tedx talk. Currently, he is the co-director of a 2-year NEH Public Humanities grant project, The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability and Technologyfounder and chair of the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy’s Committee on Accessibility, Disability, and Inclusion, and a board member of the Society for Philosophy and Disability. He has received fellowships supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. Reynolds earned his B.A. in Philosophy as well as in Religious Studies from the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from Emory University. He previously held the inaugural Rice Family Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioethics and the Humanities at The Hastings Center from 2017-2020 and the inaugural Laney Disability Studies Fellowship at Emory University from 2014-15. You can reach Dr. Reynolds by email at joel [dot] reynolds [at] georgetown [dot] edu.