Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. 20th Anniversary Edition, with a new foreword by the author. Columbia University Press.

As the first major critical study to examine literary and cultural representations of physical disability, Extraordinary Bodies inaugurated a new field of disability studies in the humanities in 1996 by framing disability as a minority discourse, rather than a medical one, ultimately revising oppressive narratives of disability and revealing liberatory ones.


About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times. Edited with Peter Catapano. Norton/Liveright.

Boldly claiming a space in which people with disabilities can be seen and heard as they are―not as others perceive them―About Us captures the voices of a community that has for too long been stereotyped and misrepresented. Speaking not only to those with disabilities, but also to their families, coworkers and support networks, the authors in About Us offer intimate stories of how they navigate a world not built for them.


Staring: How We Look. Oxford University Press.

Garland-Thomson defines staring, explores the factors that motivate it, and considers the targets and the effects of the stare. Featuring over forty illustrations, Staring captures the stimulating combination of symbolic, material and emotional factors that make staring so irresistible while endeavoring to shift the usual response to staring, shame, into an engaged self-consideration. This unique study advances new ways of thinking about visuality and the body, appealing to readers interested in the overlap between the humanities and human behaviors.


Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. NYU Press.

Freakery traces the freak show from antiquity to the modern period and explores the constitutive, political, and textual properties of such exhibits. Rosemarie Thomson’s groundbreaking anthology probes America’s disposition toward the visually different. Essays address such diverse topics as American colonialism and public presentations of natives; laughing gas demonstrations in the 1840’s; Shirley Temple and Tom Thumb; Todd Browning’s landmark movie Freaks; bodybuilders as postmodern freaks; freaks in Star Trek; Michael Jackson’s identification with the Elephant Man; and the modern talk show as a reconfiguration of the freak show.

Cover image of The Atlantic's December 2020 edition, depicting a young child with Down's Syndrome and the title of the cover story “The Last Children of Down Syndrome,The Dark Side of CRISPR” Op-ed for Scientific American (with Sandy Sufian).

Contribution to “The Last Children of Down Syndrome” by Sarah Zhang. The Atlantic. The article presents a complex and sophisticated understanding of the ethical issues in relation to disability and reproduction, covering Down Syndrome testing, selection, and termination in Denmark.

Contribution to “What Strength Really Means When You’re Sick” by Ed Yong. The Atlantic.

Featured in “Disability and Higher Education: Inclusivity in an Increasingly Technologically Inclined Academic World.” From the United Nations Academic Impact program’s disability and higher education interview series.

From Medical Condition to Political Condition: The Story of the ADA” in the Los Angeles Review of Books.

My ‘Orphan Disease’ Has Given Me a New Family” in The New York Times.

Becoming Disabled” in the New York Times Sunday Review.

Contribution to “Zika Virus Threat Puts Abortion Rights And Disability Rights On Collision Course” by Chloe Angyal in The Huffington Post.

Siri and Me.” Op-ed for The Huffington Post.                                

Elegy for Oscar Pistorius,” Op-ed for Al Jazeera.

Hot Sex and Disability at the Movies.” Op-ed for The Huffington Post.

Sex Lessons.” Op-ed for The Huffington Post.

Language of Autocorrect,” Letter to the editor of The New York Times.

How We Got to CRISPR: Reflections on the Dilemma of Being Human.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine.

Co-author of “Disability Rights as a Necessary Framework for Crisis Standards of Care and the Future of Health Care.” The Hastings Center Report.

Disability Liberation Theology.” In The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Disability, eds. A. Cureton and D. Wasserman.

Welcoming the Unexpected.” In Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing. Oxford University Press.

Disability Bioethics: From Theory to Practice.” The Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal.

Human Biodiversity Conservation: A Consensual Ethical Principle.” American Journal of Bioethics.

What Do Unusual Faces Teach Us About the Ethics of Recognition?AMA Journal of Ethics.

Misfits: A Feminist Materialist Disability Concept.” Hypatia.

Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory.” NWSA Journal.


“Humanity’s Awesome, Terrifying Takeover of Evolution.” Cited by Ezra Klein and Walter Isaacson in The Ezra Klein Show podcast. 

“Difference or Disability?” Interview with Laura Hercher, The Beagle Has Landed podcast.

Disability and Bioethics.” Radio broadcast with Paul Barclay, Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Inclusive Design.” Interview filmed for Microsoft’s Inclusive Design Toolkit.

Sex with Disabilities.” Interview for HuffPostLive.

Interview with K.P. Whaley for The Kathleen Dunn Show, Wisconsin Public Radio.

Interview with Kirby Kochanoski for “Examining Disability,” the Brandeis University Justice.

Interview with Celeste Headlee and Amanda Art for On Second Thought, Georgia Public Radio. 

Interview with Marty Moss-Coane on “The Paralympic Games and How We View Disability,” for Radio Times, WHYY-FM.

Interview for “Invisible: Illuminating Disability, Inside the Classroom and Out,” Emory Magazine.

Disability Bioethics: a Path to Realizing Equality.” Presentation in the series “Stories for Survivability: How We Talk about Disability Ethics and Why It Matters” at the UNC Charlotte Center for Professional and Applied Ethics.

Invited speaker at the Bard College Philosophy Salon.

Biomedical Ethics and the Existential Threat to Persons with Disabilities.” Lecture and discussion for Columbia University’s Department of Medicine and the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, hosted by Dr. Lydia Dugdale, director of the Center for Clinical Medical Ethics.

CRISPR and Human Identity: Governing Germline Gene Editing.” Plenary speaker at ELSI Virtual Forum, an International ELSI Congress event 30 Years of the Genome: Integrating and Applying ELSI Research at Columbia University.

Event co-organizer for “The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability.” This National Endowment for the Humanities-funded public conversation series at the Hastings Center consists of six public events from 2019 to 2021 that explore how technologies can be used to promote or thwart meaningful, flourishing lives.

Event co-organizer and panel moderator for a public discussion with Rachel Kolb, Haben Girma, and Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Baruch Performing Arts Center, New York City; part of the Hastings Center and National Endowment for the Humanities event series for “Shaping Humans: A Discussion Series on Technology, Disability, and Human Flourishing.”

Presentation at symposium and workshop on “Public Participation in Human Germline Editing Governance,” UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.

Talkback and public interview with playwright Stephen Unwin following performance of All Our Children play on Nazi histories of eugenics, The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture, New York, NY.

Panel discussion following screening of the film GATTACA, Center for Genetics and Society, Berkeley, CA.

Panel presentation on societal concerns for end of life care, End of Life Option Act Task Force Convening, Coalition for Compassionate Care of California, Sacramento, CA.

“Genome Surgery: CRISPR Cures, Community Perceptions and Questions of Equity,” Panel Participant at CRISPRcon: Science, Society, and the Future of Gene Editing, Berkeley, CA.

Hosted a series of Human(e) Tech Design Studios for Arizona State University’s Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics; workshops titled “Misfits: (Dis)Ability, Bodies, and Work.”

Invited attendee and participant, “Experimenting on Future Children: Gene Editing in Human Reproduction,” workshop hosted by the Brocher Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland.

Invited attendee, Expert Group Meeting on Bioethics and Disability convened by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Geneva, Switzerland.

Hastings Center workshop for Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing book project.

Panelist for “Ensuring Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities: The Context and Ethics of Health Rationing Protocols during COVID-19,” a webinar hosted by the Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, featuring Rabia Belt (Stanford Law School), Rosemarie Garland-Thomson (Emory University), Devan Stahl (Baylor University), and Joseph A. Stramondo (UCSD).

Panelist for “The Preservation of Disability,” a virtual event hosted by the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University, organized and moderated by David Gissen, in discussion with Georgina Kleege, Rob Thomson, Sun Young Park, and Wanda Katja Liebermann.

Pandemic Parallels: Reimagining Disability.” Inaugural event for the COVID and Disability Lab at the UCLA Disability Studies Inclusion Labs.

Book discussion for About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times Book Discussion. Hosted by BACKBONES.

Book discussion for What Can a Body Do?: How We Meet the Built World.“ Hosted by Mechanics’ Institute.

Selected media

Human Diversity for a Flourishing Life
Interview on NHK World TV

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Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered
Invited keynote at University of Iowa

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Staring and Its Implications in Society
Interview at Emory University

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Building a World that Includes Disability
Invited lecture at University of Maryland, Baltimore

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Misfitting: Disability Broadly Considered
Invited keynote at University of Iowa

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Interview at University of Maryland, Baltimore 
by Jessica Berman, Director of the Dresher Center