Critical Disability: Precarities and Imaginaries, A Conversation

Presented by We Are The Voices

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Recorded May 6, 2021 

Dr. Jina B. Kim is an Assistant Professor of English and the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College. She teaches and writes about critical disability studies, feminist- and queer-of-color critique, and contemporary ethnic American literature. She is currently at work on a book manuscript titled Dreaming of Infrastructure: Crip-of-Color Imaginaries after the US Welfare State, which examines women and queer-of-color literary production in the afterlife of 1996 U.S. welfare reform. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Signs, Social Text, MELUS, American Quarterly, Disability Studies Quarterly, The South Atlantic Quarterly, and The Asian American Literary Review.

Sami Schalk is an associate professor of Gender & Women's Studies at University of  Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on disability, race, and gender in  contemporary American literature and culture. Schalk's first book, Bodyminds  Reimagined: (Dis)ability, Race, & Gender in Black Women's Speculative Fiction (Duke  UP 2018), explores how black women writers use non-realist genres to reimagine the  possibilities and limits of bodyminds, challenging our understanding of the meanings of  disability, race, and gender. Schalk's next project focuses on disability politics in black  activism in the post-Civil Rights era. She identifies as a fat, black, queer, femme,  disabled cis-gendered woman. She can be found on Twitter as @drsamischalk and on  her website,

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha (she/they) is a queer disabled autistic nonbinary femme writer, educator and disability/transformative justice worker.  They are the author or co-editor of nine books, including Tonguebreaker, Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice and  Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home; with Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, she co-edited The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. They are the 2020 recipient of the Lambda Foundation’s Jeanne Cørdova Prize in Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction, recognizing “a lifetime of work documenting the complexity of queer experience” and a 2020 Ford Foundation Disability Futures Fellow. 

Jasbir K. Puar is Professor and Graduate Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University, where she has been a faculty member since 2000. Her most recent book is The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (2017) published with Duke University Press in the series ANIMA: Critical Race Studies Otherwise that she co-edits with Mel Chen.  Puar is the author of award-winning Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007), which has been translated into Spanish and French and re-issued in an expanded version for its 10th anniversary (December 2017).

We Are The Voices is a Mellon Foundation Higher Learning funded project linking Mills College students and faculty with poets and scholars working in Oakland and beyond.

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