Ann Heffernan is an LSA Collegiate Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Michigan. Her research and teaching interests include contemporary political theory, disability studies, feminist theory, and American political development. Her current book project, “Disability: A Democratic Dilemma,” brings into view the significance of disability in mediating the relationship between citizens and the American state. Drawing upon historical and contemporary examples—among them the rise of waged labor, the Flint, Michigan water crisis, the healthcare debate, and, most recently, the proposed expansion of public charge requirements in U.S. immigration law—she shows how the boundaries and defining features of political membership are stabilized and recast in and through disability. Where existing research emphasizes the exclusionary ground of liberal citizenship and its consequences for people with disabilities, she argues that disability as a concept, legal category, and medical condition has become a crucial mechanism through which to negotiate transformations in the obligations and entitlements of citizenship.
She received her doctorate in political science from the University of Chicago where she was affiliated with the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality and the Pozen Center for Human Rights.