An Interview with Annika Konrad

by Emma Kostopolus


Hello, and thank you for your interest in this interview. While I am obviously biased as the interviewer, I think this interview and the work of scholar Annika Konrad are of incredible importance to the future of the field of rhetoric. But before you begin reading, some notes about the experience of this webtext: This text was composed and coded in Twine, an open-source "interactive fiction" engine that runs on modified Javascript. In Twine, you can create stories with branching paths and narratives with multiple endings—think about it like an old choose-your-own-adventure book. With Twine you aren't locked into experiencing a text in a purely linear fashion—you can pick which avenue to explore and loop back or not as you see fit.

This ethos, of self-determination of content accessed, is how I have envisioned and structured this interview. It starts with an introduction of the scholar, and then you as the reader have access to three branching paths: our discussion of terminology, our discussion of the broader context for her work, and our discussion of how this theory can be used to impact lived experiences. And within each path, there are still further subdivisions: With each question I ask, you as the reader have the option to either hop directly to Dr. Konrad's response or to take a detour into a miniature literature review I curated, so you can understand the theory I've used to build the questions out the way I have.

My reasoning for structuring the interview in this way is twofold: First and foremost, I wanted to allow readers unfamiliar with the work of disability studies/rhetoric to be able to familiarize themselves with the broader conversation, to put Dr. Konrad's work in context, while allowing those who already are versed in the field to move directly into Dr. Konrad's contribution without belaboring things they already know. This pragmatic respect for the time and energy investment of my readers was the major impetus behind this choice.

However, breaking with traditional reading practices in this way also opens up a larger discussion about how those practices rely primarily upon a neurotypical and thus abled bodymind to engage with them. While I don't want to take space away from Dr. Konrad's ideas with my own theorizing, I humbly submit this work as my own small attempt to "neuroqueer" the idea of the academic interview, using one of Nick Walker's (2021) own neuroqueered definitions of the term: "Engaging in practices intended to undo and subvert one's own cultural conditioning and one's ingrained habits of neuronormative and heteronormative performance, with the aim of reclaiming one's capacity to give more full expression to one's uniquely weird potentials and inclinations" (p. 155). So I hope and intend for this work to be an entry point into disability rhetorics and also, in some small way, an exemplar text of what academic texts can be if we free ourselves from thinking in entirely abled paradigms.

Enter the Interview


CAST. (2018). Universal Design for Learning guidelines version 2.2.

Konrad, Annika M. (2021). Access fatigue: The rhetorical work of disability in everyday life. College English, 83(1), 179–199.

Manchanda, Sarah. (2020, July 17). Through a deficit lens. Insider Higher Ed.

Models of disability: Types and definitions. (2022, March 30). Disabled World. Retrieved July 11, 2022, from

Morin, Amanda. (n.d.). What is Universal Design for Learning (UDL)? Understood. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

Perspective: Disability and intersectionality: Why are people staring? (2017, August 23). INCLUDEnyc. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

Thurber, Arnie, & Brandy, Joe. (2018). Creating accessible learning environments. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from

Walker, Nick. (2021). Neuroqueer heresies: Notes on the neurodiversity paradigm, autistic empowerment, and postnormal possibilities. Autonomous Press.

Wood, Tara, & Madden, Shannon. (2013). Suggested practices for syllabus accessibility statements. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 18(1).