Crip Theory

Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability

301 pages

14 illustrations

June, 2006

ISBN: 9780814757130

$27

Paper

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Authors

Robert McRuer is Associate Professor of English at George Washington University. He is the author of The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities (also available from NYU Press) and co-editor, with Abby L. Wilkerson, of Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies, a special issue of GLQ.

All books by Robert McRuer

Michael Bérubé is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities at Penn State University. In 2012, he served as the President of the Modern Language Association. He is the author of several books, including Employment of English:Theory, Jobs, and the Future of Literary Studies (NYU Press, 1997), The Left at War (NYU Press, 2009), What’s Liberal About the Liberal Arts?: Classroom Politics and “ Bias” in Higher Education (2006), and Life as We Know It: A Father, A Family, and an Exceptional Child (1996).

All books by Michael Bérubé

Crip Theory attends to the contemporary cultures of disability and queerness that are coming out all over. Both disability studies and queer theory are centrally concerned with how bodies, pleasures, and identities are represented as “normal” or as abject, but Crip Theory is the first book to analyze thoroughly the ways in which these interdisciplinary fields inform each other.

Drawing on feminist theory, African American and Latino/a cultural theories, composition studies, film and television studies, and theories of globalization and counter-globalization, Robert McRuer articulates the central concerns of crip theory and considers how such a critical perspective might impact cultural and historical inquiry in the humanities. Crip Theory puts forward readings of the Sharon Kowalski story, the performance art of Bob Flanagan, and the journals of Gary Fisher, as well as critiques of the domesticated queerness and disability marketed by the Millennium March, or Bravo TV’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. McRuer examines how dominant and marginal bodily and sexual identities are composed, and considers the vibrant ways that disability and queerness unsettle and re-write those identities in order to insist that another world is possible.

Reviews

  • “Engaging, expansive, and generous.”

    Sex Roles

  • “This well-annotated text invites the uninitiated reader to become involved, to reimagine previously held perceptions of what may be considered ‘otherness,’ to welcome disabilities, to access collectively other worlds and future possibilities.”

    Journal of American Studies

  • “The members of the Committee were especially impressed by McRuer’s original intervention in the area of queer studies, one that not only sheds light on the important new area of disability studies, but brings it into conversation with a variety of disciplinary perspectives, from composition studies to performance art. McRuer’s book combines the public and the private work of queer studies in surprisingly new ways.”

    —Ed Madden, Gay and Lesbian Caucus for the MLA

  • “McRuer charts new intersections for disability studies, queer studies, and American studies. His work is [at its] most vertiginous and rich . . . as he moves swiftly from cinema to street gangs to coming out Crip.”

    American Quarterly

  • “A wonderful combination of humor, theory, intellectual, and personal insights . . . A valuable and well-written study.”

    Disability Studies Quarterly

  • “A compelling case that queer and disabled identities, politics, and cultural logics are inexorably intertwined, and that queer and disability theory need one another…. Makes clear that no cultural analysis is complete without attention to the politics of bodily ability and alternative corporealities.”

    —Elizabeth Freeman, author of The Wedding Complex

  • “Important and significant for its attempt to find the common ground between disability studies and queer studies. This deftly written and very readable book will appeal to a wide range of readers who are increasingly fascinated by the biocultural interplay between the body, sexuality, gender, and social identity.”

    —Lennard Davis, author of Bending Over Backwards