About Me

Hi everyone. My name is Kate O’Connor (she/her/hers) and I’m a 5th year PhD candidate in American Culture at the University of Michigan. My research and teaching interests include disability theory, 19th and 20th century history, history of youth, history of medicine, and history of reproductive justice.

My dissertation broadly follows the history of youth institutionalization and eugenics in Michigan from the mid-19th century through the present. I trace this history through the Coldwater Training School and the Wayne County Training School, youth facilities built for “trainable” delinquent, poor, and/or orphaned adolescents.

I manage the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab¬†which has primarily focused on California’s eugenic sterilization program but is now expanding to include North Carolina, Iowa, and Michigan.

In my free time, I love spending time with my dog, partner, niblings (gender neutral word for nieces & nephews), and my extended chosen family. I’m passionate about disability rights and fighting for accessible spaces, especially in higher ed.