Post #7 McRuer & Kafer on Queer & Crip

With McRuer and Kafer (and also our guest speaker this week Dr. Kim Q. Hall), we explore intersections between queer studies and disability studies. McRuer says that able-bodiedness is compulsory in our society, much as heterosexuality is. Kafer says that our society tends to believe that both queer people and disabled people have no future. Pick one of these claims and explain it, and then share your own observations of how able-bodiedness is compulsory and/or disabled people, like queer people, are seen as without a future or opponents of the Child. You may also want to share your feelings about these readings, both of which are very passionate and powerful.


Kafer says in the introduction of her book Feminist, Crip, Queer that “disability is seen as the sign of no future, or at least of no good future” (3). As she explains, being disable literally means not to be fully able. “Disability is disavowed,” that is unrecognized as a valuable present. This is linked, according to Kafer, to the fact that disability is unrecognized as a political category of oppression. No one is supposed to want to be crip and crips are supposed to be finished: they don’t have future because their current state would be absolutely undesirable. This assumption is based on a discriminatory logic, ableism, that works as racism. Crips are not only considered as  having no future, but are seen as not wanting their present and possible future as crip. Crip are, then, deprived of any future. Kafer, thus, wants crip to imagine their future, to shape a collective future where crips would be included and actor of their own future. Kafer wishes a re-politicization of the crip community, that would begin with a conscientization of the political construction of cripness.

I never think about cripness as a political construction and I think that it is really interesting. In our society, it is true that able-bodiedness is kind of compulsory. No one wishes, indeed, to become crip and when someone is we often think that s/he wouldn’t be like that. Last semester, in my bioethics class, I studied the case of people having a “body integrity identity disorder” (BIID) and I remind that students in the class where a priori thinking that these persons were simply mad because they wanted to be crippled. The rejections by some students in the class about the possibility that BIID people rationally want to be crippled were maybe too strong to be fully “natural.” I mean: who cares? It reminds me how some non-heteronormative people are rejected. I think that Edelman’s and Keller’s assumption that disabled people, like queer people, are seen as without a future or opponents of the Child is a pretty convincing claim. It is true that disable people and queer people are not people that conforms to the heteronormative idealistic model. They even contradicts it by showing that some people do not desire the same thing.

I like Keller’s introduction and first chapter. I like the way she makes a synthesis between Edelman’s and Muñoz’s works. I also like the fact that she wants to expand Edelman’s and Muñoz’s analyses to other oppressed people. We might almost feel the felling of empowerment that rises inside this book for the crip community. There is something very subversive, radical and positive.

I would not add something to this post.


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