Oct. 10, 2012 - Issue #886: Typhoon Judy
Reclaiming crip and queer
Crip theory workshops and art likely to spark good discussion
Two of the most exciting, radical and important events to take place in our city this year? The upcoming panel (Dis)ability?: Queer and Feminist Perspectives, and the art show Crip Tease: An Evening of Irreverent Art.
Initiated and organized by Danielle Peers, (Dis)ability and Crip Tease will assemble academics, activists and artists to discuss and engage with crip theory, politics and art. Crip theory is a methodology of disability studies that seeks to challenge, disrupt and deconstruct notions of normality/abnormality, health/sickness and independence/dependence in relation to bodies, pleasures and identities.
Crip theory and queer theory are similar in their attempts to problematize social categorizations, hierarchies, and exclusions. Further, the terms crip and queer are both pejorative words —historically used to demean, intimidate or ostracize—that are now being reappropriated by their former targets. The term crip has been used against people who are seen as being disabled. Thus activists and scholars have reclaimed and redefined the term in order to remove its negative connotations and to channel its power toward their own ends.
Crip theory, however, is not simply the queer theory of disability studies. Crip theory questions how bodies and abilities are understood, categorized and valued differently in society, ultimately creating systems of oppression. Queer theorists and activists have been criticized for failing to account for how gender, class, race and sexuality are related to bodies and abilities. Crip theory illuminates such crucial omissions, presents important questions and offers critical tools for queer, feminist, race and class-based anti-oppression projects.
Three top scholars of disability and crip theory, Shelley Tremain, Alexis Shotwell and Robert McRuer, will be leading the (Dis)ability panel on October 18 at the University of Alberta (4th floor student lounge, Education North). According to the event organizers, the panel participants "will lead us in re-imagining relationships between disability, feminism, queerness, normativity, race, gender and social justice: in terms of the academic possibilities, the social justice opportunities, the artistic imaginaries, and the lived realities."
In celebration of the (Dis)ability event, the Crip Tease art show will feature art that speaks to the "broader sense of crip as a political and artistic relationship to bodies, stories, identities, practices and communities that do not seek to be 'normal'." Accordingly, the show's organizers have "welcomed art that explores the violence and barriers experienced by those who are considered abnormal. We also welcome art that explores the ways people resist and the ways that we might imagine 'Otherness' otherwise."
The Crip Tease event will follow the (Dis)ability panel and discussion. It will take place in the Arts Based Research Studio, Education North, University of Alberta.
Capping off the events, Qmunity—a local queer collective committed to producing safe, accessible, anti-oppressive spaces—will be hosting A Night of Irreverent Booty Shakin' dance party on October 19 at BikeWorks North. During the dance party, art from the Crip Tease show will be projected on the walls.
Ultimately, these three events will offer Edmontonians an exciting opportunity to learn about, engage with and celebrate "the political importance and sexiness of crip art and culture." The venues for the events are physically accessible and are located along public transportation routes.
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