Making and Breaking in a Disabled World

Dr. Kelly Fritsch & Dr. Anne McGuire

(Sponsored by Trace Research and Development Center)

2021 Disability Summit
April 14, 2021 – 2:30 PM-3:00 PM


2020 has widely exposed the destructive brokenness of colonial structures of health and governance and further revealed how such structures are routinely broken by design. Likewise, 2020 has seen a productive crumbling of colonial monuments and imaginaries. As Dionne Brand observes, “all narratives for the moment have been blown open—the statues are falling—all the metrics are off, if only briefly” (2020). Drawing on crip theories of brokenness and disability justice activism, we examine relations of rupture and repair in times of crisis. Eli Clare observes, “the ideology of cure would have us believe that whole and broken are opposites and that the latter has no value” (2017, 159). Clare’s collapse of whole/broken frames repair not as a return to what once was but instead as a movement towards something altogether different. Positioning repair as transformative requires us to attend not only to what/who has been marked as broken but to the surrounding environs and relationships. Engaging with the generative possibilities of crip knowledge/practices of care, repair, and maintenance, we consider how these might enable us to grapple with the broken social conditions under which we unevenly live and move towards more accessible futures in which disabled people thrive.

Presentation (.PPT)


Kelly Fritsch (she/her)

Twitter: @kellyfritsch1

Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University, unceded Algonquin territory. As a feminist disability studies scholar and crip theorist, her work explores the generative frictions of disability and social justice. She is co-author of We Move Together (2021, AK Press), a children’s book engaging community-based practices of desiring disability. She is also co-editor of Disability (In)Justice: Examining Criminalization in Canada (2021, UBC Press) and Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (2016, AK Press). She has also recently co-edited special journal issues of Somatechnics, Feminist Formations, and Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience. Between 2015–2018, she served as Associate Editor of Research for Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal.

Anne McGuire (she/her)

Twitter: @anneemcguire

Anne McGuire is an Associate Professor with the program for Critical Studies in Equity and Solidarity at the University of Toronto. Her areas of teaching and research draw on anti-racist and decolonial theories in disability studies, queer/crip theory, child studies, and feminist science and technology studies to study the structural and material conditions of human vitality and precarity. McGuire is the author of War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence (University of Michigan Press), which was awarded the 2015 Tobin Siebers Prize for Disability Studies in the Humanities, and co-author of We Move Together (AK Press, 2021), a children’s book on disability, access, and community.