Kuansong Victor ZHUANG

Image description: Picture of the Purple Parade 2022. Taken from a vantage point, it shows a large crowd, all dressed in purple, in front of a large stage.

My research focus on disability is born out of passion, as something that needs to be done, rather than expediency. My longstanding intellectual and ethical commitment to disability research and inclusion began in 2007 when I first met Ron Chandran-Dudley, the Singaporean founder chairperson of Disabled People’s International, the first international disability-led organization. He was then an interviewee for my Bachelors’ dissertation. The stories around disability advocacy that he shared influenced me deeply, and it was he who introduced me to the fundamental tenets of disability studies. Uncle Ron as I called him, became like a grandfather to me. In the years that followed, his life’s work inspired me to work in the disability sector so as to implement and shape policies towards an inclusive society. Uncle Ron’s unexpected passing in 2015 came as a shock to me and was one of the key reasons I decided it was time to pursue disability research in the hope of creating a better world that builds on this legacy.

I am currently Fung Global Fellow at the Institute of International and Regional Studies, Princeton University, and International Postdoctoral Scholar at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University. As a Fung Global Fellow, I am currently researching the intersections of disability, technology, and sustainability as it emerges within the smart city.

I am working on two book projects at the moment. The first emerges from a research fellowship with Gerard Goggin exploring the intersections of disability and emerging technologies such as IOT; 5G; automation and AI; driverless cars; and robotics. Gerard and I will be publishing a book arising from this research.

The other book project is based on my PhD research, which was supervised by Lennard J. Davis. Tentatively titled The Biopolitics of Inclusion: Disability and Capacity in the Singapore Nation, the book project examines how inclusion as an ideology is created, circulated, communicated, and consumed in Singapore, amidst the global embrace of inclusion as an ideal. It undertakes an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding the logics and implications of inclusion as a form of biopower, and to excavate the lived realities of disabled people in Singapore. I am also interested in disabled peoples' articulation of the arts, as well as how inclusion is manifested across policy and practice. My current research is also increasingly focused on disability as it interacts with the smart city project. My larger hope is to use my research to contribute to current debates about how inclusion happens both in Singapore and around the world.

In 2023, together with my fellow editors, Meng Ee Wong, and Dan Goodley, we published the first Singapore-focused critical disability studies volume, titled Not Without Us: Perspectives on Disability and Inclusion in Singapore.

Outside of the academy, i continue to be widely engage in a praxis centred on disability studies. I am involved with the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) where i serve as the Country Representative for Singapore under its Smart Cities for All global initiative.