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Precarious and Performative Play Web Paper 1

jmorgant's picture

Redefining Difference: The Emergence of the Disability Movement

My interest in the disability movement was generated by our class discussions on the meanings and constructions of disability. Along with Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Studies, I am currently taking a class at Haverford called Social Movement Theory, where we have discussed how and why movements emerge under certain conditions. Throughout the course of my research on the disability movement, I found that three phenomena were pivotal in accounting for its emergence, expansion, and relative success: organizers managed to build broad and diverse coalitions, garner the support of influential political elites, and spark vast changes in consciousness.

Scholars vary in their estimations of the time period during which the disability movement emerged. The first legislation relating specifically to the disabled was passed after World War I in order to accommodate wounded soldiers returning from Europe. However, a flurry of legislation and organizing activity did not surface until the 1970s alongside other social movements in the United States. The first significant piece of legislation was the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 of the bill read,

“No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States, shall solely be reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

S. Yaeger's picture

Challenging The Idea of Independence As A Desirable End

In thinking about a topic for this paper, I was utterly confused.  I have never actually written a promptless paper before, and the idea of doing so ramped up my anxiety to the point of crippling any productive thought.  Then, I encountered Margaret Price and her writings on the intersection of mental disability (an umbrella term for mental and neurological illness) and academic discourse.  I am drawn to Price’s analysis of how academia excludes those who have mental disabilities for several reasons.  The first is that  I have, as some would say, a dog in the race of disabilities studies as the interact with academia, since I have a variety of common mental ailments, including several learning disabilities and what therapists are now thinking might be P.T.S.D.  Additionally, my peer mentor at my previous school is a schizophrenic who actually uses the rigors of college to cope with the hallucinations and delusions which plague him.  However, beyond the initial attraction of seeing something of myself reflected in a non-cure oriented text, I was driven to interest in some of the issues which Price examines through our classroom discussion on the topic. 

Kammy's picture

Finding “Home”: The Gay Evangelical Body

Finding “Home”: The Gay Evangelical Body
At some point or another in our lives, we generally come to realize that we are unique beings; furthermore, we also discern that  much of our individual essence is encoded in our physical bodies. From height and weight to race, gender, crooked teeth, bum leg, or speech impediment; it is in the body that we may find so many of our defining attributes: our general appearance, our physical strengths and limitations, even our illnesses and diseases. It is the body that Eli Clare conceptualizes as “home” in Exile and Pride, that is tied in so strongly with our notions of self and identity.  In light of this assertion, one might question whether the gay Evangelical is able to come “home” to his body. How is it that religion and sexuality are reconciled somatically? Is it even a possibility?  

Initially, one might be tempted to immediately say that “yes”, of course the gay evangelical is at home in his body. If his body is that of a white cisgendered man, then what is there not to like? What resentment could there be, and what other form besides white cisgendered man could be desired? But it is not so simple as that, because being at “home” in one's body is not merely an issue of liking and accepting oone's body, nor is it fair to objectify the white, cisgendered, male body as ideal, despite its normalization and acceptance as such in Western culture. The question is one that deserves more thought and consideration.

Katie Randall's picture

Medical Authority in the Discourses of Disability and Transsexuality

Medical Authority in the Discourses of Disability and Transsexuality


Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation is an impossibly far-ranging book. Its author Eli Clare covers many topics that are entangled within his own life: tensions of class, sexuality, gender, abuse, disability, environmentalism and exile. Here I want to use his discussion of the medicalization of disability as a springboard to approach Rachel Ann Heath’s description of the pathologization of transsexuality in The Praeger Handbook of Transsexuality: Changing Gender to Match Mindset. Medicalization and pathologization are not precisely equivalent terms, but to me both represent a process of delegitimizing their subjects and placing this lost authority into the hands of medical professionals. Both produce negative or limiting effects that are not widely acknowledged. In addition, both are oriented towards “curing” or “normalizing” difference.


Exile and Pride: disability history

aybala50's picture

A Dream Within a Dream


jfwright's picture

"Called Me Crazy": Insanity and Non-Normative, Butch Identities

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          As Eli Clare describes in Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation, queer identity has been treated as madness, and queer people have been pathogized and condescended to for centuries:

“[q]ueer identity has been pathologized and medicalized. Until 1973, homosexuality wasconsidered a psychiatric disorder. Today transsexuality and transgenderism, under the names of gender dysphoria and gender identity disorder, are classified as psychiatric conditions. Queerness is all too frequently intertwined with shame, silence, and isolation…[q]ueer people deal with gawking all the time: when we hold hands in public, defy gender boundaries and norms, insist on recognition for our relationships and families…Queer people have been told for centuries by church, state, and science that our bodies are abnormal” (Clare 2009:112-113).

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AmyMay's picture

Diffracting and Entangling System-Correcting Praxis

Diffracting and Entangling System-Correcting Praxis

            In my post from week 4, I posited a question to the class: what place do diffraction and entanglement have in practices of system-correcting praxis?  Are the concepts diametrically opposed?  To answer this question, it is necessary to delve deeper into the theoretical and functional foundations of correcting vs. system challenging praxis.  Only by understanding the problems inherent to these types of activism can we utilize diffraction and entanglement to improve their implementation.  Integrating processes of diffraction and entanglement into system correcting activism offers a way to prevent the passive subscription to existing systems of power inequality and reduce the disabling nature of enabling acts.

someshine's picture

Who was Ssehura/Sartjee/Saartje/Saat-je/Saartji/Saat-Jee/Saartjie/Sara(h) ?



A Poem For Sarah Baartman

by Diana Ferrus

listen to her reading

I’ve come to take you home
home, remember the veld?
the lush green grass beneath the big oak trees
the air is cool there and the sun does not burn.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white
and the water in the stream chuckle sing-songs
as it hobbles along over little stones.

I have come to wretch you away –
away from the poking eyes
of the man-made monster
who lives in the dark
with his clutches of imperialism
who dissects your body bit by bit
who likens your soul to that of Satan
and declares himself the ultimate god!

I have come to soothe your heavy heart
I offer my bosom to your weary soul
I will cover your face with the palms of my hands
I will run my lips over lines in your neck
I will feast my eyes on the beauty of you
and I will sing for you
for I have come to bring you peace.

venn diagram's picture

The Perils of Passing as Explored by the Works of Frances Negrón-Muntaner and Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez

    In order to explore the intra-action of queerness and Puerto Rican-ness I have chosen to focus on two pivotal queer cultural productions by Puerto Ricans. The first is the 1995 film by Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Brincando el charco: Portrait of a Puerto Rican. The second is a poetic excerpt from Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez’ play Side Effects. These texts address many critical questions that intersect both querness and Puerto Rican-ness. Among these, the theme of passing, essential to both texts, particularly necessitates the interaction of queerness and Puerto Rican-ness. Passing is so critical to immigration and queer studies that the editors of the anthology on sexuality and immigration in which critical analyses of both of these texts appear, chose the title Passing Lines. In the introduction they argue that passing “can implicitly question not only the solidity of ethno-racial lines but of sexual lines as well” (Epps 5). I believe the Negrón-Muntaner film and the Sandoval-Sánchez play, as well as their authors' mediations on their respective works, illustrate through passing just how inter- and intra-connected queerness is with Puerto Rican-ness.

Images of "brincando el charco"

Brincando el charco

phenoms's picture

Culturally constructed sexuality

    When I read “Living the Good Lie” I was skeptical that any human could repress biological aspects of their being in favor of social ones. Could a gay man really choose a heterosexual lifestyle because he identifies more closely with his religion? It didn’t seem plausible, possible, or pleasant. And yet, there was something that drew me to closer examination. Was the distinction between the biological/social as clearcut as I had always assumed?  Biologically, I am female, and socially, I identify as a woman. But untangling the biological/social for sexuality proved more difficult than I had anticipated. The intersection of sexual orientation and society is as deeply entwined as Foucault’s theory of power/knowledge. Because we live in an era and culture that accepts a sexual spectrum from hetero to bi to gay, we assume these identities have always been. Subjectively, they are abstract cultural markers that precede us, making it feel as if they have always preceded us. When in fact personal identification on the basis of sexuality is relatively recent, and marks a shifting scientific obsession on sexual studies (Foucault).
    In America, (especially for men), we seem to subscribe to a”one-drop-rule” on the sexual spectrum. For a man, one sexual encounter with another man will (for some people) forever brand him as gay. We are easily and rigidly defined by our sexual choices. Which brings me to this picture.  

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