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Disability Studies Quarterly    [7 followers]  Follow    
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
     ISSN (Print) 1041-5718 - ISSN (Online) 2159-8371
     Published by Ohio State University Homepage  [2 journals]
  • Editor-in-Chief's Note
    • Authors: Bruce Henderson
      PubDate: 2013-10-02
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • On the Negative Possibility of Suffering: Adorno, Feminist Philosophy, and
           the Transfigured Crip To Come
    • Authors: Kelly Fritsch
      Abstract: Critical theorist Theodor Adorno is rarely considered as a philosopher of the body. The body which leaks, desires, rages, and lusts is seemingly disjointed from the dry and dense writings that often characterize Adorno's work. As bleak as this description of Adorno’s writings may be, however, the body is both central to his critique of modernity and the site of hope and desire against the total domination and suffering that capitalism imposes. This paper highlights some of the ways in which feminist philosophy of disability and disability studies, more generally, would benefit by thinking in constellation with Adorno's negative dialectic to interrogate the ways in which meanings get made about bodies and, furthermore, use the margins of difference, in relation with others, to challenge what Adorno calls the "wrong state of things." I argue that the transfigured crip to come is central to this fight against the "wrong state of things."Keywords: Adorno; negative dialectics; suffering; disability; crip
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Hegel, Feminist Philosophy, and Disability: Rereading our History
    • Authors: Jane Dryden
      Abstract: Although feminist philosophers have been critical of the gendered norms contained within the history of philosophy, they have not extended this critical analysis to norms concerning disability. In the history of Western philosophy, disability has often functioned as a metaphor for something that has gone awry. This trope, according to which disability is something that has gone wrong, is amply criticized within Disability Studies, though not within the tradition of philosophy itself or even within feminist philosophy. In this paper, I use one instance of this disability metaphor, contained within a passage from Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, in order to show that paying attention to disability and disability theory can enable identification of ableist assumptions within the tradition of philosophy and can also open up new interpretations of canonical texts. On my reading, whereas Hegel’s expressed views of disability are dismissive, his logic and its treatment of contingency offer up useful ways to situate and re-evaluate disability as part of the concept of humanity. Disability can in fact be useful to Hegel, especially in the context of his valorization of experiences of disruption and disorientation. Broadening our understanding of the possible ways that the philosophical tradition has conceived human beings allows us to better draw on its theoretical resources.  Keywords: Hegel; contingency; history of philosophy; feminist Hegel scholarship

      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Vile Sovereigns in Bioethical Debate
    • Authors: Melinda Hall
      Abstract: In this paper, I critically assess transhumanist philosophy and its influence in bioethics by turning to resources in the work of Michel Foucault. I begin by outlining transhumanism and drawing out some of the primary goals of transhumanist philosophy. In order to do so, I focus on the work of Nick Bostrom and Julian Savulescu, two prominent contributors to this thinking. I then move to explicate Foucault’s work, in the early iterations of the Abnormal lecture series, on the concept of vile sovereignty. Foucault used the concept of vile sovereignty to critique psychiatric witnesses that had been utilized in mid twentieth-century French courts of law. Turning back to transhumanism, I analyze transhumanist discourse on the basis of Foucault’s vile sovereignty. Transhumanists promote human enhancement in a way that rejects the body—especially the disabled body—and pose the question of what lives are worth living, as well as attempt to answer it. I conclude that because of the undeserved influence and ableism of transhumanism, it is important for feminist philosophers, philosophers of disability, and other disability scholars, who collide at the nexus of bioethical debate (especially with regard to reproductive technology and the body), to work together to intervene upon transhumanist discourse.   Keywords: bioethics; enhancement; Foucault; transhumanism; ableism  
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Clinically Significant Disturbance: On Theorists Who Theorize Theory of
    • Authors: Melanie Yergeau
      Abstract: This essay is an autie-ethnographic narrative that traces the problems with and limits of theory of mind (ToM) as it is currently constructed in psychology and cognitive studies. In particular, I examine the role of the body in ToM—or rather, the ways in which autistic people are disembodied in theories about ToM. I argue that theories about ToM deny autistic people agency by calling into question their very humanity and, in doing so, wreak violence on autistic bodies. I suggest, furthermore, that feminist rhetorical studies represent one potential location for dismantling the complex web of oppression that ToM has come to signify.Keywords: theory of mind; autism; rhetoric; violence; embodiment 
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • "Lives Worth Living:" Theorizing Moral Status and Expressions of
           Human Life
    • Authors: Ashley Taylor
      Abstract: A growing body of work in feminist philosophy of disability, in particular, and philosophy of cognitive disability, more generally, demonstrates the discursive constitution of norms of intelligence and cognitive ability in order to undermine both the false assumptions about human ability and the gendered and racialized norms of rationality, independence, and competence that inform philosophical and bioethical theories about moral status. Many of these philosophical accounts of disability seem designed to—implicitly or explicitly—prove that, given some newly-valued norms,  certain persons do indeed have these capabilities, rather than to transform the social conditions that create such demarcations in the first place. In this paper, I argue that feminist philosophy of disability and moral philosophy more broadly would benefit if they were to consider the social conditions of possibility in which these qualifications for moral status arise, rather than continue to focus on the qualifications themselves. In order to argue in this way, I consider how assessments of moral status and human life simultaneously foreclose possible expressions of "lives worth living." I suggest, furthermore, that feminist philosophers of disability in particular and feminist philosophers in general would benefit if they were to consider the risks that this normative theorizing involves. In turn, I propose a way in which feminist philosophers ought to orient themselves in order to create the conditions of possibility for the emergence of divergent expressions of human well-being and moral potential. Keywords: personhood; intellectual disability; social justice; normative violence; feminist philosophy
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Feminism, Disability, and Evolutionary Psychology: What’s
    • Authors: Maeve O'Donovan
      Abstract: Although a number of feminist scholars have scrutinized evolutionary psychology (EP) in order to show its gendered assumptions, very few feminist scholars have interrogated the assumptions that the field makes about disability. Nor have disability theorists paid adequate critical attention to EP, despite the fact that the field and the theories that it promotes are central to dominant contemporary conceptions of disability. In this essay, I point out the ways in which feminist criticisms of EP fail to address its implications for our understandings of disability. I argue, furthermore, that insofar as feminist criticisms of EP fail to integrate a critical approach to disability, they do so at their own expense—perhaps even undermining their own theoretical and political goals. Both feminist philosophy and philosophy of disability have much to gain from co-developing a feminist philosophy of disability that takes account of evolutionary approaches. Given the prevalence—both within and outside of the academy—of evolutionary justifications for oppression and discrimination, the need for an integrative model which would succeed where other critiques of evolutionary psychology have failed is vital.Keywords: disability, evolutionary psychology, feminist philosophy, modularity, standpoint theory
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Toward a Theoretico-practical Accountability to Difference and
    • Authors: Heather Rakes
      Abstract: In this essay, I argue for a theoretico-practical accountability to difference and belonging in feminist philosophy and theory that requires attentiveness to disability as an important vector of power, normativity, and oppression. My insistence on accountability echoes the many appeals to confront and take account of one's own ableist, white supremacist, cisgendered forms of privilege (while simultaneously working to dismantle more systemic forms of privilege) that disabled feminists, feminists of color, and transgender feminists have made.[i] Following Eli Clare and Aimee Carrillo Rowe, I consider how an ongoing accountability to intersectionality and embodiment in a politics of relation can avoid the exclusionary logics at work in feminist philosophical and theoretical invocations of "gender, race, and class," or "gender, race, and sexuality" that consistently ignore disability, among other identifications, as constitutive productions of structural power. An embodied and intersectional feminist refiguring of subjectivity that attends to race, class, age, disability, cis/gender, and sexuality, among other axes of difference, should be recognized as an important requirement of accountability for feminist philosophers and theorists, especially feminist philosophers and theorists who are privileged along one or more of these axes of power.
      [i] Aurora Levins Morales (1998), frames this accountability as “the willingness to examine and dismantle our own privilege and take full responsibility for remaking the world so that neither we nor anyone else can hold it again” (94). Keywords: belonging; relationality; feminism; disability; queer; transgender  
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Metaphorically Speaking: Ableist Metaphors in Feminist Writing
    • Authors: Sami Schalk
      Abstract: This article examines the use of metaphors of disability in feminist texts. Starting from an understanding of feminism as a movement to end sex and gender oppression in the lives of all people, a movement aligned with anti-racist, anti-homophobic, anti-classist and anti-ableist movements, I make connections between sexist and ableist rhetoric in order to expose the political and intellectual repercussions for feminist work that relies upon metaphors of disability. I argue that most current uses of disability metaphors promote an ideology of impairment as a negative form of embodiment. In order to articulate my claims, I provide a close reading of extended disability metaphors used in work by bell hooks and Tania Modleski, identifying the implications about disability and problems that occur in their overall arguments when the metaphors are read from a disability studies perspective. The article ends by offering recommendations for a feminist philosophy of language, calling for a reflective political commitment by feminists to interrogate our theoretical assumptions and consider the effects of our language so as to prevent further marginalization of disempowered groups in general and disabled people in particular.Keywords: metaphor; language; ableism; feminism
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Designing Collective Access: A Feminist Disability Theory of Universal
    • Authors: Aimi Hamraie
      Abstract: Universal Design (UD) is a movement to produce built environments that are accessible to a broad range of human variation. Though UD is often taken for granted as synonymous with the best, most inclusive, forms of disability access, the values, methodologies, and epistemologies that underlie UD require closer scrutiny. This paper uses feminist and disability theories of architecture and geography in order to complicate the concepts of "universal" and "design" and to develop a feminist disability theory of UD wherein design is a material-discursive phenomenon that produces both physical environments and symbolic meaning. Furthermore, the paper examines ways in which to conceive UD as a project of collective access and social sustainability, rather than as a strategy targeted toward individual consumers and marketability. A conception of UD that is informed by a politics of interdependence and collective access would address the multiple intersectional forms of exclusion that inaccessible design produces.Keywords: universal design; collective access; interdependence; built environment; feminist theory  
      PubDate: 2013-09-05
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
  • Introducing Feminist Philosophy of Disability
    • Authors: Shelley Tremain
      PubDate: 2013-09-04
      Issue No: Vol. 33 (2013)
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