A series of book covers from Tovah Leibowitz's queer crip syllabus on autostraddle.

CFP: Crip Poetics Panel

Note: deadline extended to January 25

Critical Disability Studies Caucus of American Studies Association CFP:
November 12-15, 2020 Baltimore, MD

In recent years, disabled poets and disability poetic communities have worked to theorize what disability poetics have done, are doing, and can do. 2011’s Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability called to the history of embodiment in poetry and began making space for conversations on disability poetics. The 2018 Symposium “A New Disability Poetics” at UPenn “curate[d] critical and collaborative discussions around the relationships between the disabled body and contemporary poetic practices through avenues that test the very limits of poetry, publics, and performance.” Working within the American Studies Association’s 2020 theme of “Creativity within Revolt,” this panel seeks papers, presentations, and creative works that crip poetics and in doing so open up possibilities for revolt and ways to imagine crip futurity in revolt.

Crip poetics offer models of disability that seek out partners for political action and coalition; crip works within culture in order to affect change and refuse our racist, ableist world. In “Toward a Crip-of-Color Critique,” Jina B. Kim discusses the poetics of survival used by Black, queer, disabled women as one that “us[es] language and culture to intervene into narratives of expendability, and to instead inscribe an existence for racialized, impoverished, and disabled populations that refuses the violence of the present” (Kim). In Black Madness::Mad Blackness, Therí A. Pickens notes how “disability functions as a social structure that by virtue of ableist reliance on pity and sympathy determines who gets to belong to the category of disabled and whose experience of illness can be validated in the public sphere” (Pickens 9). This panel calls for scholarly and creative works theorizing and practicing forms of crip poetics that revolt against social structures that hierarchize disability. Following Kim and Pickens, this panel considers how artists, activists, and scholars take up crip poetics and crip methodologies as necessary practices of remaking. This panel asks: how do crip poetics attend to the multiplicity and specificity of lived experiences? How do crip poetics mess with overlapping and conflicting power structures that try to inscribe the lives of white disabled people and BIPOC, disabled and non-disabled alike?

We welcome submissions from all those who are engaging in crip poetics as authors, scholars, performers, activists, and in ways the creators of this call haven’t yet imagined. Submissions should attend to or contain work that politicizes disability in ways that generate coalitional potentials. Submissions are encouraged to be a synthesis or hybrid of creative/activist/scholarly contributions.

A non-exhaustive but potential list of topics includes:

  • Crip practice, praxis, or poetic epistaxis
  • Histories of crip poetics and activism
  • Revolting as crip, with crip, or alongside crip
  • BIPOC crip refusal/revolt/resurgence
  • Practices of cripping existing poetic form/function
  • Trans/queer/crip futurity as revolt
  • Mad poetic practices 
  • Performing or presenting crip poetics
  • Methodologies of creating/revolting crip poetics 
  • Creative embodied practice
  • Eco-crip creation
  • Archives of crip activism
  • Undisciplining/undoing as crip poetic practices of revolt
  • Cripping creativity, cripping revolt

Please submit a brief abstract (500 words or less, including references) to Jessica Suzanne Stokes (stokesj5@msu.edu) by the 25th of January 2020.

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