Sunday, September 27, 2015
This past week, M.W. Bychowski and Samuel Yates met to assess the accomplishments of the previous year and to plan events for Fall 2015 - Spring 2016.
Previously, monthly reading groups have proven a successful way to collect together scholars interested in topics related to crip and queer theory. We remembered the Low Theory discussion where MATCH affirmed through J. Jack Halberstam's Queer Art of Failure that philosophically rich cultural studies does not require participants to been fluent in a wide range of jargon or have the whole bibliography of theoretical texts under their belt. In that spirit, we planned that the MATCH meeting for October 2015 would be a return to the basics of Crip/Queer Studies by reading together a chapter from Robert McRuer's seminal book, Crip Theory.
Moving forward, one program that has been batted around in the past is finally coming to light. In order to improve academic praxis as well as theory, MATCH will be running seasonal American Sign Language (ASL) and Braille 101 Workshops in the Fall and Spring respectively. The purpose of these workshops is not to profess or learn mastery of these critically important languages but to increase exposure and familiarity. The exact form and schedule of these workshops are still to be determined but should begin in some form by the end of the Fall 2015 semester. We look forward to igniting interest in crip and queer studies at the George Washington University and beyond!
Thursday, September 17, 2015
A Talk by Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
On Sept. 17th, 2015, Rosemarie Garland Thomson spoke on "Why I am a Bioconservative" to a packed lecture hall at the George Washington University. The event was coordinated by the GWU English Department as part of its Crip/Queer Studies programing. David Mitchell introduced the speaker, praising her as a foundational figure in Disability Studies, authoring such influential texts as Freakery, Staring: How We Look, and Extraordinary Bodies. In an hour and a half, Thomson spoke on the important but often unspoken alliance between religious conservatism and non-religious disability activists around "Pro-Life" issues, specifically the abortion of fetuses to be born with physical or mental impairments, euthanasia, and the assisted suicide of the disabled.
By opposing not only the use but the cultural indoctrination of eugenics, disability activists find themselves joining forces with religious conservatives. Thomson contends that while religious and non-religious "bioconservatives" may disagree in first principles, these groups join together in their conclusions. For instance, "dignity" is a key issue within bioconservatives of either ilk. In this context, dignity designates a life worth living and deserving of "moral personhood" (rights and duties) as well as a "quality of life" (well being in medical care, politics, and employment). Religious and non-religious groups may disagree in the source and authority that bestows dignity: humanity or God. Nonetheless, persons of different belief systems can help preserve the dignity of those marked as undesirable: those who are "too expensive" in relation to their social worth.
Thomson stressed the important cultural work of bioconservatism that promote a culture of life. In particular, ritual practices such as the washing of bodies are acts of care common among religious and non-religious communities. Washing in hospitals, elderly care facilities, families by caregivers, as well as the sacramental blessing of children, the sick, and the dead are all examples of rituals that recognize the dignity of the bodies they encounter. Such rituals recognize the dignity of embodied experiences, Thomson argued. Through repetition, rituals directly create the conditions for a quality of life while affirming moral personhood. If washing were more openly a communal practice where the reception of care is a sign of dignity rather than shame, fewer people would be instilled with the belief that they would rather be dead than unable to clean themselves.
Sunday, September 13, 2015
Deadline for Abstracts:
October 31, 2015
The new abstract deadline for GW's Crip Ecologies conference is October 31.
We invite proposals for papers and panels for this event. 250-word abstracts for papers and 500-word abstracts for complete panels should be sent by October 15, 2015 to email@example.com
Deadline for Abstracts: October 31, 2015
Crip Ecologies: This symposium seeks to bring together scholars, artists, advocates, and activists working across the fields of ecocriticism, disability, and queer studies. Our goal is to think through the queer interchanges of environments and bodies in more radical ways. As vulnerable embodied beings that interact with our environments, we experience ourselves and others through a defining porosity: we are not only affected by the places we inhabit, but we also leave our imprint on these locations as well. Marginalized subjects, including disabled people, often experience their lives in greater proximity to environmental threats such as toxicity, climate change, generational exposures to unsafe living conditions due to poverty, militarization, body exhausting labors as in the case of migrant workers, etc. Further, we seek to investigate how non-normative bodies/minds can reframe what it has historically meant to be an environmentalist or "nature lover?” Crip Ecologies will draw out these wanted, unwanted, and even unknowable intimacies with our environments as materials for new trans-historical, cross-cultural, and crip/queer research about human, non-human, organic, and inorganic relationships that mark our experiences in the world.
Possible topics include:
Composing Crip Ecologies
Crip Ecologies and Militarization/War
Crip Ecologies and Art
Crip Ecologies and Localism
Crip Ecologies and Environmental Justice
Crip Ecologies and Food Justice
Crip Ecologies and Farming
Crip Ecologies and Racial Borderlands
Crip Ecologies, Time, and Places
Crip Ecologies and the University
Toxicity, Embodiment, and Uneven Development
Queercrip Bodies in the Global South
Disaster Capitalism, the Environment, Disability
Media Studies and Digital Interfaces
Crosscultural and Transhistorical Worldings
Race, Class, and Environmental Justice
Accessibility and Ecological Backlash
Politics of Racial/Crip/Queer/Trans Spaces
Intersectional Bodies and Policing in Security States
Class and Toxic Exposures under Neoliberalism
Rhetorics of Inclusion/Biopolitics of Exclusion
Non-productive Bodies and Alternative Practices of Everyday Life
Expendable Bodies and Economies of Neglect (Necropolitics)
Crip Mental Health Ecologies
For more information about the Composing Disability series at GW, visit this page on the Disability Support Services website and explore the Composing Disability tumblr site. You can also follow Composing Disability on Twitter (@ComposingDis) or join the community on Facebook.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
Why I Am A Bioconservative
Featuring Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
Thursday, Sept 17th. 3:45-5:00 pm
310 Media and Public Affairs Building
The George Washington University
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Disability Studies Initiative at Emory University. Her her fields of study are disability studies, American literature and culture, bioethics, and women’s studies. Her work develops the field of critical disability studies in the health humanities, broadly understood, to bring forward disability access, equity, and identity to communities inside and outside of the academy. She is the author of Staring: How We Look and several other books. Her current book project is Habitable Worlds: Disability, Technology, and Eugenics.
The event is wheelchair accessible. We welcome deaf & hearing
impaired participants. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for ASL access
the English Department Rosenblum Funds
and Disability Students Services