What I want to ask disabled academics is: 'Whereas it's clear that everyone
who gets involved with disability studies is touched by the
institutionalised oppression of disability studies, would you say it's
harder for those who have impairments and work in the disability studies
field? If so, can you say why?'
Many thanks for the time!
My musings for the day:
In some ways I think it's easier in that we don't get questioned in the way
that an AB who does this would-- the same phenom. for race studies/queer
studies/gender studies whatever where it's all a matter of someone's
positioning (and academics love questions of positions).
Where I see chasms and where I sometimes get lost is when it comes to the
issue of representation. I know enough to know that I don't represent eons
of disabled people and the diversity of the community, a fact that's
pointed out to me again and agin from al over-- "The privilidged" work in
academe which has a certain amount of economic and social mobility ( such
as it is), the "real disabled people" are on welfare, Of course you could
do it, you have supportive family and the brains (and when it comes to the
creative writing, the talent) not like some. Here people wax into "not
disabled enough" phrasing, irksome, but you get the idea.
Be that as it may, where the chasm lies for me is that in my day-to-day
worklife, I understand that I do "represent" (whether I mean to or not)
disability. The university perpetutates this too-- somebody's having a
heyday with the disversity quotas and minority related funding because they
get to check off two of those boxes with me. And certainly within my own
department my visibility-- of both impairment and skin-- well, all anybody
needs to say is "Asian guy in a chair" and everyone knows. And always in
my teaching where I get asked alot of questions about disability and
impairment regardless of the actual content I am teaching, and where some
students admit that I'm the first they've met (what they mean often is I'm
the first who'll talk about it, but some literally do mean the first. So
the chasm between the smaller fishpound of academic and the diversity of
the disability community at-large becomes awfully blury. I think though
that it was worse when I was teaching high school where I'd get requests to
speak to Sp.Ed. classes and people would want to to trot out as the
"inspirational" poster child who's "Made it". Here at least people are
used to questions and boundry blurring. My point is that people do make
assumption about who or what I represent based not just on what I claim to
do "disability studies" , but on the actual impaiment itself.
And at least when it comes to publishing, from a creative standpoint, I
often wonder if more of my poetey isn't out there because
publishers/editors just don't "get it" because I don't tell the
stereotypical stories that AB editors, puiblishers know-- "it makes me
uncomfotable J, It's good, but we just don't know what to *do* with it."
But if a book ever coming out of this, that's the world I have to play in.
Ok, enough musing....
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