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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Call For Papers — Special Issue: Cripistemologies

Centre for Culture & Disability Studies  

Call for Papers

Special Issue: Cripistemologies
General Issues
Book Reviews
Special Issue: Cripistemologies
Guest Edited by Merri Lisa Johnson and Robert McRuer
“Does having a disability in itself give a person a particular point of view or a less distorted and more complete perspective on certain issues?  No. . . . But I do want to claim that, collectively, we have accumulated a significant body of knowledge, with a different standpoint (or standpoints) from those without disabilities, and that that knowledge, which has been ignored and repressed in non-disabled culture, should be further developed and articulated.”
-Susan Wendell, The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability
“A queer phenomenology might involve an orientation toward what slips, which allows what slips to pass, in the unknowable length of its duration.  In other words, a queer phenomenology would function as a disorientation device; it would not overcome the disalignment of the horizontal and vertical axis, allowing the oblique to open another angle on the world. . . . Queer would become a matter of how one approaches the object that slips away, a way to inhabit the world at the point at which things fleet.”
-Sara Ahmed, Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others
From foundational statements in feminist disability studies to more recent meditations at the intersection of queer theory and disability studies, the idea of what we might term cripistemology—a theory of knowledge based in crip embodiments, a theory of analysis predicated on crip deconstructions—is poised on the tip of our tongues, called for, yearned for.  What new forms of knowledge might be produced through cripistemology?  What are crip perspectives and phenomenologies, and how might theorists in the humanities come to know differently from a crip perspective?  What epistemological innovations, as well as epistemological problems, arise from cripistemological standpoints?  Following Sara Ahmed—whose work on queer phenomenology bears the implicit imprint of the crip body as it slips or refuses to overcome disalignment, the crip mind as it becomes disoriented and allows the oblique to open another angle on the world—might crip as a critical positionality not also produce new horizons of thought about objects, orientations, and others?
In asserting a crip analytic—one that is as contestatory and playful as the best queer theory—do we risk losing our grip in a tug-of-war with medical authority?  Do identification and disidentification work the same way in crip theory as they do in queer theory and in disability studies more generally?   How do we invoke labels of disorder, illness, and stigma without also making ourselves subject to the structural inequalities that produced them?  How might crip theory avoid becoming ‘respectably crip’ (to redirect a phrase from Jane Ward)—contained, in other words, by neoliberal rhetoric about diversity and corporate multiculturalism? How might attention to cripistemologies forge a path out of the ruts of conservative and liberal ‘options’ for thinking about disability (and about difference in general)?   What are some other routes of thought apart from difference good, difference bad?  What would move us towards a radical reconfiguration of the question beyond the bigoted formulation of difference as despised and the neoliberal formulation of difference as the superficial skin covering everyone’s inherent sameness?
With such questions in mind, the co-editors seek essays that articulate a philosophy of crip epistemologies or phenomenologies, and invite proposals on an array of topics related to the task of defining ‘crip’ as standpoint or horizon, which include (but are not limited to) the following:
  • standpoint, sitpoint, and crippoint theory
  • thinking crip, thinking black
  • crip subjectivities—beyond ‘managing’ the spoiled identity
  • cripping disidentification
  • revealing the intersicktional, or cripping intersectionality
  • cripping the Parsonian sick role
  • cripistemologies of ignorance
  • crip dis/orientations
  • insult and the making of the crip self
  • disabilinormativity and cripping the queer call to defy ‘diversity as usual’
  • crip affect—beyond the binary of crip pride/crip shame
  • crip utopianism, crip nihilism
  • memoirs as named or unnamed sites of cripistemological innovation
  • crip ruralities and rural cripistemologies
Discussions of specific literary and cultural texts are invited, but consonant with the philosophical flavor of this issue, preference will be given to projects that use individual texts as vehicles to address broader cultural debates and theoretical inquiries.  A one-page proposal and a one-page curriculum vitae should be emailed to and by August 1, 2011.  Finalists will be selected by November 1, 2011, and full drafts of articles are due on May 1, 2012.

General Issues
The Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies adopts the MLA referencing system. The extent of an article submission should not exceed 7,000 words, including an abstract of no more than 200 words and a list of works cited. General submissions are always welcome and should be sent directly to the Editor, Dr. David Bolt (  

Book Reviews
The journal reviews books about the literary and cultural representation of impairment and disability, as well as those that represent impairment and disability. The extent of submissions in this category should not exceed 1,500 words. Interested reviewers, publishers, and authors should contact the Book Reviews Editor, Dr. Simone Chess, Department of English, Wayne State University, 5057 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202 USA - .

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