At HIVES’ emergence, we never intended to linger in a singular set of themes or conversations. We meant for HIVES to spread out and form sprawling interdependencies: vibrant combs and entangled communities. Due to the constrictions of grant funding and the disruptions of COVID-19, HIVES lingered in the space of disability studies, animal studies, and popular culture for two years. This year, however, we are expanding the “we” of HIVES and welcoming co-coordinator and collaborator Naajidah Correll. Together, we are glad to be embarking on the first of HIVES’ many mutations as we turn to conversations on disability, race, and performance.

Do you have HIVES yet? As the result of a compelling performance? Due to an allergic reaction? Or after joining the buzzing communal space of the hive? HIVES is capitalized not because it’s an acronym, but rather to gesture toward the material reaction of bumps on skin and the physical space of a beehive. This research workshop seeks to reimagine a community space, a hive, for conversations on disability, race, and performance. In Bodyminds Reimagined, Black feminist disability studies scholar Sami Schalk exhorts “disability studies scholars to not merely include race, but to allow black feminist and critical race theory to transform the field.” In her piece, “Toward A Crip of Color Critique,” woman of color scholar Jina B Kim seeks to move away from a disability studies centered on a disabled subject and instead to consider disability as verb: “to take seriously disability as methodology is to take seriously this politics of refusal, to recognize disablement and racism as inextricably entangled, and to enact intellectual practices—like resistance to hyper-productivity—that honor disabled embodiment and history.” In seeking practices of resistance and disruption, we turn to the work of performers, writers, and artists drawing on disability and race, as well as their entanglements, to transform fields and imagine otherwise.

Past themes:

(2019-2020) HIVES is an ongoing scholarly, artistic, and communal organization dedicated to developing an understanding of the ways in which matter and beings function in interdependent networks. This research workshop seeks to create a generative space for conversations at the intersections of disability studies and animal studies in popular culture. In his book Brilliant Imperfection, Eli Clare emphasizes how “White Western culture goes to extraordinary lengths to deny the vital relationships between water and stone, plant and animal, human and nonhuman, as well as the utter reliance of human upon human” (Clare 136). Clare offers the disability studies notion of interdependence as a way to undo fantastical narratives of independence and the individual. HIVES is an engagement with hiveminds, relationality, and interdependence across and within animal/human divides. This research workshop draws on popular culture in the form of novels, films, and video games and theory from disability studies to critical race theory to queer studies to animal studies in order to think through disrupting white western denials of interdependence. We are guided by the questions: what are the potentials and pitfalls of the overlap between disability and animal studies? what forms of inter-reliance arise from lived disabled existence and/or representations of disabled characters in popular culture? what does (and does not) separate animals and humans? what frictions exist in turning to animal studies to find alternate conceptions of relational being?

HIVES coordinators:

A woman with Black skin stands for a professional photograph. She is wearing a fine gray cardigan over black clothing and an orange, teal, and black headwrap.

Naajidah Correll: Naajidah Correll is a headwrap collector who loves rivers, reading, and rhymes

A person with a lot of red, curly hair and white skin is wearing purple lipstick. They are wearing a button up shirt criss-crossed with red, blue, and yellow on a on a starry black background. They lean on a green walking stick.

Jessica Stokes: Jessica Stokes has a purple wheelchair and a lot of red hair.

A man with white skin leans out from behind a concrete wall. He has white skin, brown hair, and a goofy smile.

Michael Stokes: Michael Stokes is a sci fi buff who is not buff.

HIVES contributors (an obviously non-exhaustive list):
Eli Clare
Petra Kuppers
MSU’s Council of Graduate Students
Dean Bill Hart-Davidson
Valerie O’Brien
Zarena Aslami
Scott Michaelsen
Trixie Smith
Jonny W. Thurston
Natalie Phillips
Cheryl L. Caesar
Kimberly Ann Priest
Anuj Vaidya
Maurice Moore
Marisa Lucca
Ann Millett-Gallant
Claire K. Robbins
Mike Gill
Daniel Christmann
Hilda Smith
seeley quest