About Elizabeth McLain, PhD

Elizabeth McLain, PhD. teaches musicology and disability studies at Virginia Tech. She publishes on spirituality in music since 1870, including her dissertation “The Apolitical as Political: Olivier Messiaen’s Theology, Intellectual World, and Aesthetic Agenda in the 1930s,” an article on George Crumb’s Black Angels for the Journal of Musicological Research, and a forthcoming chapter in Messiaen in Context from Cambridge University Press. However, McLain increasingly draws from lived experience as a chronically ill cane-wielding autistic to transform music scholarship through the principles of disability justice. With the support of an ACLS Digital Justice Seed Grant, her a2ru’s Ground Works team is documenting the inaugural CripTech incubator with an emphasis on ethical consent processes and access. Her current book project is Krip Time: the Rhythm of Disabled Music, Life, and Activism.
McLain serves as co-chair of the Music and Disability Study Group of the American Musicological Society, leads the Virginia Tech Accessible Gaming Research Initiative, is on the board of directors of the New River Valley Disability Resource Center, and works on behalf of students, faculty, and staff with disabilities at Virginia Tech as co-chair for the Disability Caucus. McLain’s disability activism in the academy directly impacts her teaching philosophy, from the Student Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Board report at the University of Michigan to her inclusive pedagogy that draws from the principles of disability justice and Universal Design for Learning. She created a Disability Culture & the Arts course and leads the Disability Studies minor curriculum revision at Virginia Tech.
You can see her presentations on what employers can learn from the disability community from Guardian Life. Additionally, she shared her knowledge of disability culture with MDisability at Michigan Medicine and discussed autism with Virginia Tech’s Carilion School of Medicine. McLain also leads workshops on disability culture and inclusion; inclusive pedagogy and UDL in the performing arts; and inclusive gaming (ttrpgs, video games, and remote gaming). She is available for consultations on the above as well as disability representation in media.

Recognition and Awards

| Disability Impact Award
Recipient, Southwest Virginia
| Reco(r)ding CripTech
| Just Disability Tech Futures

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