Episode 124: How can anthropologists use the social model of disability to understand veteran experiences?

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For this edition of the podcast, Sgt. Nathan Tilton (University of California, Berkeley) is on the show to speak about his undergraduate course in anthropology, his work in disability research, and his ethnographic studies of military veteran experiences.

Nate is a Lab Manager at the UC Berkeley Disability Lab, a makerspace where disability research and human-centered design are key focus areas of work. In what ways can universal design for disabled users and publics be limited, and why is the UC Berkeley Disability Lab focusing on the idea of improving flexibility of utilities, spaces or buildings instead? What examples of designed spaces are there that highlight the importance of directly speaking to disabled folks concerning individual needs?

We also talk about Nate's experience as a military veteran, how anthropology has helped him see research potential in a wide range of topics currently and going into the future, and how being in key military positions have provided perspectives that are helpful in adopting an emic approach in ethnographic work (i.e., allowing Nate to have an 'insider's' perspective when working with other vets). Central to his work is adopting a social theory of disability approach in looking at veteran health and wellbeing, while also incorporating Marxist theory, concepts about bare life, feminist theory, and a critical examination of gender roles and family relationships.

You can find more information in the show notes under the episode on our website.

If you have feedback or questions for Nate, you can find him on Twitter. More information about the Berkeley Disability Lab can be found at their website as well.

You can find Michael on Twitter and Instagram too.

The Arch and Anth Podcast is on Twitter and Instagram, and it has a Facebook page.

If you liked this episode and you want to help contribute to the show, please visit the Patreon page for details on how to do that.

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