cripelectric: river tam from the shoulders up, on the right hand-side of the picture and the words  also i can kill you with my brain (Default)
I got this idea from a thread that developed on the Critical Disability Studies Students Association FB page, when one of my friends posted this list that listed 10 disabled people who overcame their disabilities (link here: ), thereby achieving “great things”, asking how we could counter such casually ableist articles.

Not being fans of the “overcoming narrative”, or of the “great things”, the one, because it presupposes that what is hindering disabled people’s lives is impairment/disability, whereas, ableism is much greater factor in doing that. And the other, because it uses fame, and success, as defined via a mainstream neo-liberal and capitalist framework, to assess what actions are worthwhile, beneficial, and laudatory.

Community-building is done a myriad of ways by a multitude of people, who often are not recognized for being the awesome people they are. So, although I don’t discount some of the people on that list as having contributed to defining disability in ways that can counter disability stereotypes, I am not uncritical of the fact that they each had access to a huge amount of privilege in order to do so.

The people on that list also skirt the thin line between supercripdom/inspirational porn, for nondisabled people, and being people disabled people can look up to, and want to emulate.
Therefore, I would like to compile a list of 100- or more- awesome disabled activists and community-builders, in order to create a counter-narrative about who it is that counts as people who are contributing to fighting ableism, disability stereotypes, and building sustainable communities where accessibility and disability are centrally important goals and forms of knowledge.

So, if people want to send in their suggestions, I’m into creating an online home for a compilation of 100- or more awesome disabled activists and community builders.
A few guidelines- provisional and open to change:
If you send me just a name, I’m not including it- send me a name who this person is, what they do, where, how, etc… I just finished a two-year research project for my M.A., so kind done with research for a while.

DON’T SEND super famous people, such as Michael, J.Fox and Stephen Hawkins- they ALREADY have everyone knowing their name and using them as “disability icons”, this list is to highlight the work and actions of disabled people who need the recognition, because their awesomeness goes unrecognized. I will be adding my own suggestion, so you can get an idea who I mean.

DON’T SEND famous dead people such as Charles Dickens, Julius Caesar, and Claude Monet- in some cases they are being diagnosed after their deaths and speculatively, and it’s this whole process of pathologization and legitimization of medical diagnosis which I understand works on the level of justifying a history of disabled people, but on the other also serves to reinforce the notion of disabled people needing to be famous to be recognized as worthwhile. This is for community-builders, so by all means, include Ed Roberts and Helen Keller but consider also that Audre Lorde was a fierce disability activist, and that Emi Koyama has contributed to many a queer disabled person’s self of identity as disabled people.

Similarly, if you’re fighting ableism in your queer/trans*/feminist/sports association/ workplace/ school/gaming/crafting communities, then you are fighting ableism- we need to recognize that disabled people are EVERYWHERE and so disability activism happen many places and in many ways.

The idea for this list, after seeing my friend’s post on FB, came to me because I knew of the “100 Trans” project at That list is similar to what I propose here, although I am not averse to including people who have passed away, as too much of disability history gets forgotten as it is.

HOWEVER, the 100 Trans list is all –American, and I am not American, but a Quebecois, Canadian, francophone living in English Canada, and , am not interested in doing something that is just Canadian, or just American, especially considering the critiques I have of the nation-state .
Also, I would suggest we not make this a disability studies bibliography- I know, as a disability scholar/researcher myself I know, outside of our field no one knows about disability studies…but no one knows about disability activists and community-builders either, and academia is a privileged space…

RECOGNIZE that not all disability activism happens within mainstream disability rights movements, and that, disability rights/accessibility, as a single-issue, is not as helpful as many people assume.

This is at the compilation stage right now, so let’s compile this and see what we can do with it, and then unleash it on the world.

All that being taken into consideration, here are my submissions:

Audre Lorde:

was a Black lesbian poet, essayist, activist, feminist, woman, who wrote some of the most powerful speeches about oppression and who developed some of the most significant critiques of second-wave white feminist movements, including LGB liberation movement. Audre Lorde’s Cancer Journals, where she recounts her personal experiences as a Black lesbian living with cancer are an important text about illness/disability, and should be included in all disability studies curricula, at least. Audre Lorde died of cancer in 1992.

Emi Koyama:

“is a multi-issue social justice activist and writer synthesizing feminist, Asian, survivor, dyke, queer, sex worker, intersex, genderqueer, and crip politics, as these factors, while not a complete descriptor of who she is, all impacted her life. Emi is currently the director of Intersex Initiative. Emi lives in Portland, Oregon and is putting the emi back in feminism since 1975. Email Emi at” Emi Koyama is awesome for so many reasons, it’s hard to take breath and list them, cause you know you’re going to forget something. They develop analysis around feminisms, disability, racism, transness* poverty, queerness, the pathologization of intersex people that is so beyond even intersectionality, that you can barely see it with your glasses and squinting really hard. I’m still amazed everytime I meet someone who doesn’t know them…

Access_fandom community on DreamWidth:
This is a community that was started by disabled fans for disabled fans, and contributes to the development of awareness about ableism in fan communities. Their goals are : “is a learning & teaching space. It's about how to improve access at conventions and conferences and how to make online fandom more disability-friendly.” Access_fandom is an online space where disabled fans can congregate and organize, and they also have been a springboard for discussion around accessibility as WisCon, and a place for disability activism to flourish online. Considering that I just finished writing my Master’s project on disability in fanfiction communities, I can tell you first-hand, that not enough people know about the initiatives of disabled fans online and off, and more people need to know.
cripelectric: river tam from the shoulders up, on the right hand-side of the picture and the words  also i can kill you with my brain (Default)
From Dr. Beth Haller's blog, an excellent bibliography of academic texts about disability and/in media:

A few books not on this list, because they are not presented as centrally about disability and disabled people in media but that examine that intersection as part of their analysis.

In my opinion, in order to theorize disability, you need to look at how it's deployed in media and culture, as part of the process by which disabled people are made invisible socially and politically is through the metaphorization of their lives as plot devices- whether the story being told is in the news, in a movie, on a television show, in fanfiction, in a play or in nondisabled people's personal interactions (as in "let me tell you about my grandma, cousin, ex-best friend, past coworker, pet, who had a disability and weren't they courageous-pitiful-feeling sorry for themselves-not trying hard enough-a burden on their family" - we seriously need to find strategies to challenge those ableist re-telling of stereotpes of disability/disabled people in day to day life)

Erevelles, Nirmala. Disability and Difference in a global context: Enabling a transformative politics. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

Dr. Erevelles uses critical race feminism and marxist historical materialism to examine how disability can be re-theorized outside of the contexts its been usually confined to in disability studies: white, middle-class, first world.

Brueggemann, Brenda Jo. Deaf Subjects: Between identities and places. New York: New York University Press, 2009.

This book is a fairly easy read, language-wise; between a personal narrative and an academic text, the reader is always aware of the author, her feelings and emotions play a significant part in the telling of this story of disability/Deafness/deafness.
The concept of "betweenity" is enough by itself to justify reading it; whatever you do,don't skip the introduction!

Trigger Warning for chapter 7: it's a difficult chapter, as it deals extensively with the mass genocide of disabled people via euthanasia. I was in tears by then end of it, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be read!!

-to be continued.
cripelectric: river tam from the shoulders up, on the right hand-side of the picture and the words  also i can kill you with my brain (Default)
I'man M.A. student in critical disability studies at York University in a one year M.A. program. Fanfiction and disability, disability fics, and the writers who write them and who identify as disabled are what my major research project.

Because it's a one year program,what my M.R.P. ends up being about might not include participants, however, I am hoping to conduct qualitative, interview-based researchon this for my PhD. starting next year.

For this yearthough,I am hoping to make this journal theplace where I keep all the links to fanfiction resources and disability resources i find online. I also hope to keep llinks to more general disability-related websites as well as more specific disability culture websites.

But, I hope to also have this as a space where I can interact with others who are interested in disability in fanfiction, disability fics, and critical disability scholarship- as well as academia in general.

If you are interested in my more academically-focused journal, which will be more about the theories, the methodology, and the process of doing my M.R.P. you can check out my blog.

I also have anoter journal at LiveJournal, as I didn't know if people onone visited theother. I am fairly new to the world of online journaling, so still learning this stuff.
I think the posts on both journals will probably be the same at first, or maybe one will become more active , i don'tknow.

For now, I've given them all the same title: "I can kill you with my brain"
which is from one of my favorite shows of all time- along with "Buffy" and "Xena"- "Firefly".

the livejournal address is :
cripelectric: river tam from the shoulders up, on the right hand-side of the picture and the words  also i can kill you with my brain (Default)
Critical disability studies takes seriously the notion that disability can be used as a heuristic tool, as a methodological process and as a theoretical framework.

Critical disability studies understands disability as a social process, or rather a set of social practices, that disadvantages people with non-normative bodies and experiences, linked to either their impairments or their perceived impairments.

In critical disability studies, there is a basic, although not uncontested, differentiation between 'impairment' and disability, not unlike the difference made between gender and sex in gender studies.
'Impairment' is defined and understood as the physical and/or physiological, and/or emotional, and or intellectual variation from the norm that some people live with, what is often called a 'disability'.
'Disability' is the process by which that impairment is stigmatized, and how people with that impairment are hindered from flourishing, and disadvantaged by it.

Critical disability studies is also, by definition and in practice, an interdisciplinary field of studies, which can include what could seem unrelated disciplines, such as philosophy, sociology, anthropology, literature, geography, environmental studies, critical race studies, gender studies, law, political science, fine arts, communication studies, education, and so forth. As a general rule, disability scholars are extremely wary of positivist disciplines such as psychology, medicine, nursing, and biology. There is also a high level of suspicion towards management and business-related fields and endeavor.
There are a number of good reason to that, first and foremost, the reduction of disabled people's lives and experiences to their ipairment by so-called health disciplines, and the tendency to try and limit contributions by disabled people, current or future, to a monetary equation. Questions centering on how much disabled people 'cost' society in social resources usually both ignore how we contribute to society, as well as leaving unexamined how much non-disabled people cost society in turn.

I will no doubt say more at a later time on the neo-liberal tendency to equate all lives to a money-value.

There are many areas of political and social life that critical disability studies can impact for the better; it can affect governmental policies , improving them and disabled people's lives. It can dispell stereotypes about disability, it can combat discrimination against disabled people, and it can give a voice to both.

My interests as a critical disability scholar are in culture and disability, and how it relates to the possibility of political and social agency for disabled people. I have a strong suspicion that there exists a link, if not many, between cultural representation and political agency. This suspicion goes something like this:

whether or not a certain group of persons are represented in the wider culture is linked to how much clout they have to make political claims.

How a certain group is represented makes a difference in how they can make those claim, or whether they can make them at all.

This addresses a few complicated issues I have in considering disability representations in the media and cultural productions; disability can be said to be prevalent in both the media and cultural production, but how it is represented is seldom representative of disability as it is experienced by disabled people, and it is most often depoliticized and reduced to an individual occurence. But, disabled people, as well as non-disabled people don't live their lives solely as individuals. We live our lives as individuals that aremembers of different groups, and that are embedded in a social world, one that is geographically, culturally and historically specific.

A further complication for me,is how I perceive that people, whatever the means by which society attempts to reduce their lives to one or two characteristics, do things that resist and challenge those attempts as legitimate.
Which brings me to participatory culture. Participatory culture is a concept that, as far as I know, and I don't have a quote handy (will include the proper reference later) was elaborated by Henry Jenkins, a media scholar, and the first to take a serious look at fans, fandom and fan consumers/producers.In short participatory culture is when fans use an existing cultural production, such as a tv show, a movie, a book, a video game etc... and, using the same characters, story lines and world, and create their own work of art. This can be in the form of vids, fan art, and fanfiction. You're not just consuming culture when you do that you're producing it, and in many cases, you're re-signifying t, you're subverting it.
A few other facts about fanfiction, and why I think it's significant as a form of resistance and as a social phenomenon:

fanfiction is huge. like HUGE huge.We're talking global, we're talking cross-cultural, and virtual.

It's a mostly internet phenomenon, and people are interacting with each other, sharing their stories, editng and commenting on each other's stories, and creating communities about their fanfiction and the fandoms they are a part of.

It's anti-capitalist- or is that non-capitalist?- and anti-corporate. People write fanfiction because they want to, not because they get paid to do it. People read fanfiction for free. Now,that, is radical culture-making, it's resistance.

Fanfiction is a way for people to explore a number of issues they have to deal with, as we all do, like gender, sexuality, relationships, trauma, and disability.

There's something I've been seeing online that seem to be developing, and its called 'disability fics', which are stories where one or more main characters have a disability, and the disability is central to the story.

And I want to know why people write those fics, how they write it, what they think and feel about them, and how the view/think/feel about disability, and fanfiction, and all the relationships these things have to one another.

And that what this journal is for, 'disability fics, disability, fanfiction, society, people, fanfic writers, and how all those should be significant in critical disability studies.
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