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Anne's Reading Notes

Anne Dalke's picture

Reading Notes towards Critical Feminist Studies, 2013

Kafer, Alison. Feminist, Queer, Crip. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.
Introduction: Imagined Futures-- dreaming of more inclusive spaces
a political/relational model for defining disability: recast from medical and social model (as problematic inherent in particular minds, bodies) into political/relational terms: pluralized bodily instability, recognizing both impairment and disability as social—what is impairing shifts

Cultural ideals of normalcy create anxiety about aging:
symptom of compulsory able-bodieness/mindedness
(cf. Sara’s syllabi re: pathologies of aging…?)
incomplete/contested/refused identities of the disabled--
what are the characteristics needed to claim “crip” (CODAs?)
thru feminist theory, saw disability as political category,
rather than ind’l pathology or personal tragedyà site of discrimination
wanting to make people wince w/ “crip”:
shake things up/jolt out of e’day understanding
crip (like queer) theory more contestatory than disability studies,

more willing to explore potential risks/exclusions of identity politics,
along w/ generative role of identity in disability rights movement
potential expansiveness of term is productive/provocative
cyborg, environmentalism, genetic utopianism all share
normalizing impulse to wholeness—need to provide political framework
for a more just world not dependent on normalizing

I. Time for Disability Studies and a Future for Crips
disability often characterized in reference to duration;
focus on nondisabled and able-bodied as temporal/temporary categories
(TAB = temporarily able-bodied = not permanent nor impermeable)
crip time a reorientation: flex time exploded/
challenging normative/normalizing expectations of pace, schedule
cf. “curative time” w/ curative imaginary that expects/assumes intervention
Lee Edelman’s famous argument to “fuck the future,”which is always figured in reproductive terms,
w/ the Child as “fantasmatic beneficiary of every political intervention”;
idealization of the Child should concern crip readers: generation, inheritance…
politics of futurity: buttresses able-bodied/minded heteronormativity;
leads to ethics of endless deferral; was enacted in eugenics histories of sterilization, segregation, exclusion, institutionalization
Edelman challenges the “whole network of Symbolic relations and the future that serves as its prop”/
interrupt this privileged imaginary by making apparent its assumption, careful accounting of real children’s lives….
re-consider terms of “frequency,” incidence,” & “occurrence”--
don’t refuse future, but imagine it otherwise
work of illness/disability in articulating queer time
per Halberstam, time is foundational in the production of normalcy:
engaging in particular behaviors at particular moments reified as natural
normative narratives of time presume a linear development from
dependent childhood to independent adulthood defined by marriage, reproduction

queer subcultures operate outside these paradigmatic markers
re-reading “strange temporalities” through disability:
queer time of AIDS epidemic, deflecting away from future onto urgent present
“time of coincidence”: synchrony beyond strict linear time (“may 23 ‘falls’ on Tues”)
modality of “falling” (into disability, on the sidewalk)
liminal temporality of diagnosis/prognosis time, w/ futurity tenuous, precarious
“present takes on more urgency as the future shrinks”;
cf. between/anticipatory time of undiagnosis
(chronic fatigue, chemical sensitivities, PTSD)
depression slows time; mania/panic unravels it, speeds it up
“imaginative life schedules”: increased scheduling/different orientation, foregrounding how physical needs shape our days
“eccentric economic practices”: refusal of productivity
Ellen Samuels (2006 MLA talk on “Normative Time”):
crip time as resistant orientation:
refuses to define itself in terms of either the ideal or the average;
schedules shaped by ind’l need and desire, not economic/cultural imperatives
challenge normative modalities that define time:
productivity, accomplishment, efficiency
2 ways that disability exceeds queer temporalities:
oppositional relationship between queer time and longevity
(Halberstam’s understanding of queer time draws
its meaning from its opposition to longevity…)
this equally a crip move, as DS troubles “health: and “stability,”
refuses to devalue bodies that are not unchanging, impermeable, long lasting, stable
queer desire for reformulated histories:
grappling w/ compulsory nostalgia for lost able mind/body--
dissonance of return to the “before” state, inhabiting before and after @ once,
refusing identity bifurcated into two distinct temporal planes:
Susan Wendell on myalgic encephalomyelitis: “it has made me …
a person I am glad to be, would not want to have missed being, and could not imagine
relinquishing, even if I were ‘cured’”; Eli Clare: “I don’t know my body any other way”
not all disabled people long for a lost whole, pre-illness body,
w/ the only culturally recognizable future as a curative one
cure-driven future positions people w/ disabilities in a temporality
that cannot exist fully in the present, where one’ s life is always on hold, in limbo
the lust of recognition for bodies like my own, a desire born of absence
dangers of substitutive logics and practices
inability to value queer lives is related to the inability to imagine disabled ones:
both are failures of the imagination, supported by the drive toward normalization
this book an attempt to “cultivate disability”
“Fantasy allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise” (Butler, Undoing Gender)
how relate this to eco-work, w/ its relentless focus on futurity?!?

Stryker, Susan and Aren Z. Aizura, Eds. The Transgender Studies Reader 2. Routledge, 2013.
Lucas Cassidy Crawford, Transgender Without Organs:
Mobilizing a Geo-affective Theory of Gender Modification,” pp. 473-482:
why do narratives of gender transition so often rely on a metaphor of geographical migration? big cities from rural…locations…”How might we trouble our certainty that small towns need to be escaped?”…critique of transgender metronormativity…Deleuzian theorization of deterritorialization…displaces familiar transgender narratives of moving in a “straight line” away from a “wrong body” trapped in a nonmetropolitan location…how we might reimagine transgender lives lived in actual small town…refuses the metronormative logic of “outness” and passing—which dictates that a trans person should both be visible and “out” within a  community of identity, but simultaneously be able to escape the weight of one’s history always being known by disappearing into the urban crowd—and offers instead the counterexample of “imperceptibility”…via Deleuze and Guattari…a state of being different “like every one else,” and hence unremarkable and unnoticed, that is better suited to small town life….
cast doubt on our current valorization of cities in representations of queer space…revel in the deterritorializing potential of not being recognized…crafting ceaseless mobility in seemingly static and conservative locales
“cities built on grids probably help us become straight, insofar as how we move must affect how we are moved...the comfortable feeling of knowing where our bodies are at all times might not in fact be a very queer feeling…”
“the etymology of ‘direct’ relates to ‘being straight’ or getting ‘straight to the point.’ To go directly is to follow a line without a detour, without mediation. Within the concept of direction is a concept of ‘straightness.’ To follow a line might be a way of becoming straight, by not deviating at any point” (Sarah Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology, 2006, p.16).
Deleuze and Guattari’s figure of the nomad who ‘clings to the smooth space left by the receding forest, where the steppe or the desert advances”
Ian Buchanan, Space in the Age of Non-Place: “deterritorialization names the process whereby the very basis of one’s identity, the proverbial ground beneath our feet, is eroded, washed away like the bank of a river swollen by floodwater”
the literal shapes we impose upon bodies, buildings, or hillsides are constitutive of how we will be able to move and be moved
gender nomadism—refusing home, refusing the straightest and quickest path between two points
against any simple rural/urban dichotomy (which is itself instituted only through the boundary-tracing authority of the city), nomadic and radical ways of living with/in (or as) space can happen in any locale
“Striated space is first griddled and delineated, then occupied, by the drawing of rigid lines that compartmentalize reality into segments…composed of centers…productive of remoteness, of the entire idea that there are places of more and of less importance….The city…allows the striation of a larger territory (Bonta and Protevi, Deleuze and Geophilosophy, 2004, p. 154)
 Smooth space...a field without conduits or channels.....nonmetric, acentered, rhizomatic…occupies space without “counting” it…not observable from a point in space external to them (D&G, p. 371)
The striation of space is not conducive to becoming
“passing” is a void notion in a small town where everyone know you… let us experience something more exhilarating…imperceptibility….being just like everyone else…. rather than seeking out places where one feels readable or acknowledged as transgender…