Collision and Collusion: Artists, Academics, and Activists in Dialogue with the University of California and Critical Disability Studies

Kudlick, Catherine; Schweik, Susan
Disability Studies Quarterly

This essay recounts two interconnected collaborative disability studies projects. Because of every person's complex relationship to their own embodiment and that of others, disability beckons us to a realm beyond abstraction, even as the field becomes ever more theoretical. We describe how disability shaped what we did and how we did it; description is a key term here. Conversations such as the ones we had in 2010 and 2012 pave the way for new ideas by offering concrete examples of disability as a generative force. Through risk taking and creative practice, the best academics and artists challenge the status quo, maybe serving as translators for people not in the habit of giving disability or disabled people much thought. The more people come to associate disability with positive ideas, the more we can imagine changing those hardwired negative, pitying forces that dominate approaches to policy, practices, and encounters in daily life.