Dr. Laura Mauldin is a feminist sociologist interested in thinking about how disability operates as a social category and axis of inequality alongside and intersecting with race, class, and gender. She is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of medical sociology, science and technology studies, and disability studies. Most of her work is focused on understanding social meanings of disability and the effects of medical knowledge and medicalization on our lives, particularly how we think about various conditions (such as deafness) and what “good care” in the context of disability or chronic illness means.
Dr. Mauldin’s first book was an ethnographic study of parents obtaining a cochlear implant for their deaf child. After this, she published a variety of other qualitative studies looking at such things as the caregiving experiences of sibling of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities, disparities in outcomes of pediatric cochlear implantation, and life histories of Deaf and queer people, among others. The thread through all of these projects is a critical examination of disability and the social consequences experienced by disabled people because of a culture that devalues it.
Her current book project is a study of spousal caregiving and the lack of care infrastructure in the US. The study, funded by the Social Science Research Council, also includes a look at how COVID-19 is impacting spousal caregivers and their partners. She has interviewed nearly 50 people across 22 states. These conversations are also sparking ideas about how creative and generative people are in caregiving; repurposing household objects and rigging medical technologies to meet their own needs. Part of her online methodology is asking for photos of caregiving objects and she’s working on creating an archive to document these ingenuities.
Dr. Mauldin lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her partner and toddler. She likes birding, eating coconut buns in Chinatown, and has just begun a knitting class. She is also a former spousal caregiver and a nationally certified American Sign Language interpreter.