Allison S. Reed studies health, disability, and mental difference in the context of social change, especially Black, queer, and feminist-inspired social change.
Dr. Reed’s current book project, Surviving Social Movements, considers how US social justice communities practice care. In this project, she develops what she calls the “repertoires of care” framework. This unique theoretical approach aids in understanding how—despite the stresses of activism, burnout, and sociopolitical upheaval—social change agents persist. More broadly, her research agenda aims to advance Black feminist studies, the sociology of health and illness, political sociology, Disability and Mad studies, and related fields. Complimenting cultural, literary, and similar methodological approaches to these subjects, she relies primarily on qualitative and humanistic empirical research methods.
Through the theory and knowledge she generates, Dr. Reed hopes to support social movement actors and socially engaged scholars in becoming more anti-healthist, anti-saneist, and anti-ableist. Both Disability Justice and Healing Justice, along with Black and queer ethics of care, inform her primary concern: Better understanding how to center and protect the inherent, inviolable dignity of each human person—particularly the dignity of Black, LGBTQ+, sick, non-neurotypical, and other marginalized, otherized persons.
Dr. Reed conceives of care not just as a means of increasing social movement productivity, but also as the primary end of just social change itself.
Reed received her BA (Urban Studies) from Washington University in St. Louis, where she was a John B. Ervin Scholar. In 2023, she received her PhD (Sociology) from the University of Chicago. Her peer-reviewed work appears in Mobilization: An International Quarterly and Social Science & Medicine.