Christina Cedillo and Melanie Yergeau
Narrative methodologies have complicated histories in the academy. Often, such approaches are viewed unkindly, as solipsism at best, rhetorical self-absorption at worst. Yet, despite such characterizations, Disability Studies persists as a highly narrativistic field, one that seeks to foreground individual narratives within larger socio-political and often rights-based discourses. As Malea Powell (2012) suggests, “Stories produce habitable spaces” (p. 391). Given that most “mainstream” spaces remain inaccessible to disabled people — on physical, cognitive, and sensory levels — the potentialities of story represent a compelling home for coalition-building, for community, for disability culture(s). So too do these stories point us toward more capacious understandings of bodyminds, where disability, as Erin Manning shows us, extends beyond the skin.
This particular workshop considers how and where disability storying matters: to life, to the environment, to wayfinding, to relation more broadly. How might a disability rhetoric vex, crip, reconfigure, and denounce the very idea of rhetoric? What might decolonial methods lend to our understanding and creation of crip stories? How might cripping rhetoric expand our conceptualization of self, center, story, and surround? How might storytelling be practiced as a form of theorizing, and where might story-as-theory help us to uncover historically silenced voices? How do disability stories crip standard notions of modes and media?
During our time together, we will discuss a small set of shared readings as a means of working through the above questions. Participants will have opportunity to workshop works-in-progress and will be invited to consider crip stories/crip rhetorics in relation to teaching. Our goal is to create an accessible, interdisciplinary space that encourages discussion among scholars of varying ranks (and with varying levels of exposure to disability studies as a field).