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Imagine Otherwise: Aimi Hamraie on Sustainability and Disability Justice

Imagine Otherwise: Aimi Hamraie on Sustainability and Disability Justice

October 29, 2020
Aimi Hamraie wearing a blue collared shirt and black glasses

Pandemic living and its merging of work and home have made many of us exhausted as we zip from Zoom meeting to Zoom meeting with even more packed schedules than before. Much of the advice about surviving our new normal privileges capitalist versions of sustainability—for instance recommendations for how to work smarter and thus free up more time to get more things done. But what if we instead placed disability justice logics at the core of how we understand sustainability and our schedules?

In episode 121 of Imagine Otherwise, I interview permaculture designer and disability studies scholar Aimi Hamraie. In our interview, Aimi and I chat about using natural cycles to build sustainable schedules and prevent burnout, how disability culture practices like slowness and mutual aid reimagine sustainability as fundamentally collective, and why building a world beyond scarcity is how Aimi imagines otherwise.

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You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Aimi’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).

Guest: Aimi Hamraie

Aimi Hamraie is an associate professor of medicine, health, and society and American studies at Vanderbilt University, where they direct the Critical Design Lab.

Aimi is author of Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability (University of Minnesota Press, 2017) and host of the Contra* podcast on disability, design justice, and the lifeworld.

Their interdisciplinary research spans critical disability studies, science and technology studies, critical design and urbanism, critical race theory, and the environmental humanities. Hamraie is also a certified permaculture designer, a cofounder of the Nashville Disability Justice Collective, and an organizer for the Nashville Mutual Aid Collective.

Aimi lives and works in the original homelands of the Cherokee East, Chickasaw, and Shawnee people.

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