Visionary Politics and Methods in Feminist Disability Studies
Special Issue: The Journal of Feminist Scholarship, Co-edited by Ashley Mog and Jess Waggoner
Abstracts Due: Jan 2nd; Full Papers Due: May 15th
In this special issue for The Journal of Feminist Scholarship, we will explore the mechanisms that influence what is possible in feminist disability studies. Methods, and the theories that underpin and create those methodological tools, can open or foreclose possibilities for praxis. Considering theory and method as mutually informative intellectual projects, how can our methods influence political investments that open up visionary possibilities and plans? How can we take a coalitional approach to disability politics that is informed by collaboration, rather than appropriation? How can we put both our theories and methods to work in service of a justice-oriented praxis?
Visionary politics are a cornerstone of many contemporary activist movements. Academic movements, such as critical feminist disability studies, pull from this genealogy of writing ourselves into a canon while urging for nuanced accounts of our lives. Drawing together activist and academic concerns, feminist disability studies scholar Alison Kafer, in conversation with social activist and cultural historian Bernice Johnson Reagon, posits that a “robust combination of future dreams and present critique is essential to politics, and it requires leaving open the parameters of our political visions” (153). Keeping visionary parameters open is both a theoretical and methodological concern, requiring a commitment to subtle distinctions. Disability and transformative justice activist Mia Mingus similarly invites us all to think and act critically to change interlocking and oppressive structures:
“I want us to think beyond just knowing the “right things to say” and be able to truly engage. I want us to not only make sure things are accessible, but also work to transform the conditions that created that inaccessibility in the first place. To not only meet the immediate needs of access—whether that is access to spaces, or access to education and resources, or access to dignity and agency—but also work to make sure that the inaccessibility doesn’t happen again.” (https://leavingevidence.wordpress.com/…/disability-justice…/
In her work on disability justice, she urges us to create an action plan and a roadmap. Mingus, Kafer, and Reagon talk about intersectionality and political visioning as both the theory and method through which to dismantle systems that oppress and marginalize bodyminds. Part of the theory and method of this approach is through disability justice, a movement that eschews sameness models of equality for a celebration of difference and a tireless fight for the recognition of multiple interlocking oppressions. For this special issue, we ask: what is needed to enrich the scholarship in the interdisciplinary field of Feminist Disability Studies? In the spirit of disability justice work, how can our methods and citational practices create pathways for praxis-oriented approaches? As an open access journal, The Journal of Feminist Scholarship asks us to consider the reach of interdisciplinary feminist studies. We particularly welcome critiques of academic ableism, compulsory neurotypicality, and access to academic resources and language in our commitment to open access scholarship.
Topics of interest include:
The temporality of feminist methodology regarding disability. What does it mean to use traditional social science and humanities methods to research crip bodyminds? How do crip researchers challenge paradigms of rigor and objectivity in these methods?
Specific feminist methods we can employ for keeping disability studies/theory grounded in disability justice, with the increasing institutionalization of disability studies within the university. What methods would best help us get at these experiences? What subjugated knowledges are we not drawing upon that would enrich the field?
Approaches to madness and mental disability that de-center whiteness, including a more nuanced attention to carcerality.
What disability studies owes to and can proffer women of color feminisms, which have influenced the field, often without acknowledgement (reproductive justice, health care activism, decolonial practices, to name a few). How might this also trouble one-dimensional approaches to cure and the medical model in disability studies?
How activist movements or academic studies of activism flatten language and tactics, rather than opening up possibilities of coalition. How does coalition from a disability justice perspective enrich academic conceptions of feminist disability studies?
Strategic navigations of the medical industrial complex and the incorporation of trans and nonbinary knowledges in the shaping of feminist disability studies. How might disability justice bring more nuance to trans studies, theories, and experiences?
Exploring the methods of disability justice. How can those methods be utilized to inform academic praxis?
Appropriations of other civil rights movements by disability rights movements, examining and repairing these rhetorical thefts and deployments.
Praxis-informed approaches to environmental illness / environmental justice through a disability justice lens.
Transnational, decolonial, and Global South perspectives on disability justice movements.
Decolonial tactics, insights, and critiques for the methodological and theoretical project of feminist disability studies.
Care work, gendered labor, interdependency, and critiques thereof.
Crip critiques of capitalism, labor, temporality, and citizenship.
Outlining methodological approaches that move us toward what Jina B. Kim calls a “crip of color critique” (Kim 2017)
Cultivating feminist and accessible pedagogies and activist spaces, open access knowledge distribution.
Compulsory neurotypicality and hyperproductivity in activist and academic spaces; how academic ableism and academic precarity entwine with “diversity work” (Ahmed 2012).
Addressing racial capitalism through a lens of disability justice, which can be in contrast to disability rights/social model frameworks.
Please send abstracts of 400-500 words and include 3-5 relevant citations to Ashley Mog firstname.lastname@example.org and Jess Waggoner email@example.com by January 2nd, 2019.