Ariel Merkel, Student, The New School for Social Research

Ariel Merkel is a Ph.D. student in the sociology department of The New School for Social Research, who has dedicated her professional and academic life to promoting the rights of people with disabilities. In addition to four years of serving the developmentally disabled in the non-profit sector, and a current administrative position at the New School’s Student Disability Services Office, Ariel recently completed an international subcontract with the United Nations Partnership to Promote the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) to provide support on the publication "Toward an Inclusive and Accessible Future for All: Voices of Persons with Disabilities on the Post-2015 Development Framework." This publication documents the perspectives of people with disabilities from the Global South on a range of economic development issues.

Her current research stems from her previous work with people with disabilities in tandem with her recent international work, specifically feminist disability theory and a Goffmanian analysis of deinstitutionalization. She is fascinated by how disability, a malleable identity that shifts spatially and temporarily and yet is so deeply rooted to the body and literally embedded in bone, intersects with other identities that are typically conceptualized as socially constructed performances. Ariel is also project fellow in the Future of Disability Studies at Columbia University’s Center for Critical Analysis of Social Difference.

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