Elizabeth Ellcessor

Fast Facts

  • Associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia
  • Expert on disability and accessibility

Areas Of Expertise

  • Domestic Affairs
  • Health
  • Human Rights and Civil Rights
  • Media and the Press
  • Science and Technology
  • Social Issues

Elizabeth Ellcessor is an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia. Her research engages questions of access to media and technology, with particular attention to disability and accessibility. Her book Restricted Access: Media, Disability, and the Politics of Participation (New York University Press, 2016) provides a cultural history of digital media accessibility from both policy and user perspectives. Her second book, Disability Media Studies, co-edited with Bill Kirkpatrick, is an approachable collection introducing readers to the wide range of portrayals of disability in popular media in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Currently, Ellcessor is completing a book about the impact of digital technologies on emergency media systems and attendant effects on access and equity. This book, In Case of Emergency: Infrastructure, Innovation, and Inequality, addresses technologies including Wireless Emergency Alerts, the LifeAlert medical alarm, smartphone apps featuring “panic buttons” and location tracking, and varied 911 implementations.

Elizabeth Ellcessor News Feed

Fascination around the conjoined twins Brittany and Abigail Hensel’s romantic relationships is especially inappropriate, because it often stems from "prurient sexual interest," said Elizabeth Ellcessor.
Elizabeth Ellcessor USA Today
“Over-alerting is a common fear in emergency management circles because it can lead people to ignore alerts and not take needed action. The sheer volume of different updates can be similarly overwhelming, burying emergency alerts in countless other messages,” media and communication professors Elizabeth Ellcessor and Hamilton Bean wrote in a commentary about Wednesday’s test.
Elizabeth Ellcessor Washington Post
“The national test is best thought of as a system-wide test,” says Elizabeth Ellcessor at the University of Virginia. “If the system works for this, it should also work for the smaller, more local, ordinary uses.”
Elizabeth Ellcessor New Scientist
The Wireless Emergency Alert system is scheduled to have its third nationwide test on Oct. 4, 2023. The Wireless Emergency Alert system is a public safety system that allows authorities to alert people via their mobile devices of dangerous weather, missing children and other situations requiring public attention.
Elizabeth Ellcessor The Conversation
Elizabeth Ellcessor, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia and senior faculty fellow at UVA’s Miller Center, spoke about disparities caused by many emergency prevention systems.
Elizabeth Ellcessor The Hoya
In an emergency, we often look to media: to contact authorities, to get help, to monitor evolving situations, or to reach out to our loved ones. Sometimes we aren’t even aware of an emergency until we are notified by one of the countless alerts, alarms, notifications, sirens, text messages, or phone calls that permeate everyday life. Yet most people have only a partial understanding of how such systems make sense of and act upon an “emergency.” In Case of Emergency argues that emergency media are profoundly cultural artifacts that shape the very definition of “emergency” as an opposite of “normal.” What is the impact of "emergency media" on our lives? Miller Center Senior Faculty Fellow Elizabeth Ellcessor discusses her new book with Miller Center C. K. Yen Professor Aynne Kokas.
Elizabeth Ellcessor Miller Center Presents