Asia Feiss


PhD Student : Department of Communication & Department of Science Studies


Research Interests

My research is primarily focused on assistive technology, for high-performance athletes. I am specifically interested in bracing technology, as it is used for temporary injuries or rehabilitation purposes. Such technology is both representatives of the machinic transformation which athletic bodies undergo as well as the transformative potential of artificial augmentation. Division 1 athletes are my intended research population, due to the unique social and physical spaces which they occupy. While they make prolonged and extensive physical demands of their bodies their bodies are still required to participate in standard public spaces, such as classrooms, buses, desks, etc. Thus with Division 1 athletes requiring effective bracing technology to function in high-intensity training as well as everyday activities, they provide a unique site of investigation on the compatibility and efficacy of bracing technology across a variety of spaces.

Furthermore, I am interested in the way bracing technology with a biodata interface restructures ways of communicating with and about bodies. In looking to bracing technology that is not only customizable but communicative with the body suggests new ways of resisting ideas of bodily standardization and restructuring understandings of bodies in motion. The medical setting is of particular interest as a site where multiple sources of knowledge and power converge on the athlete’s body. My interest in pain as a process of negotiation has effectively highlighted fissures in communicative methods in the medical setting. I am interested in the affordances and constraints produced by personalized technological experiences in conceptualizing bodily ability .

I received my Bachelor's Degree in Sociology from the University of California Santa Cruz. During my time at UCSC, I maintained an internship with the NCAA Athletic Trainers. This internship allowed me to also receive training from and experience with athletic trainers, rehabilitation specialists, and physical therapists. During my undergraduate studies, I conducted a pilot research project on NCAA athletes and assistive technology at large (including physical braces as well as training equipment). My results yielded a strong discrepancy between user satisfaction and rehabilitation progress on one hand and the prescriptive intent of physical braces on the other hand. These findings have inspired my current research interests.

I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in Communication and Science Studies and also a member of the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology at the University of California San Diego.