Dr. Kelly Fritsch and Dr. Anne McGuire "Spectral Risk and the Future of Disability"

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Recorded by Dr. Kelly Fritsch and Dr. Anne McGuire on November 12, 2020.

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Lecture Summary: In what ways do contemporary individualized spectrums of risk simultaneously constrain and expand possibilities for disability justice and the future of disability? Building on our previous work (2019) documenting the institutional history of the sperm bank and legacies of eugenics that examined how parents mark the fate of their donor-conceived children on a graded spectrum of genetic and psychiatric risk, we reflect on how spectral risk is informed by the haunting dread of disability. We seek to further understand the contemporary reorganization of disability along a continuum of spectral risk in order to delineate how disability haunting can enable us to better attend to the effects of the past and present in such a way that provokes a more collectively just future.

Fritsch, Kelly and Anne McGuire. 2019. “Risk and the Spectral Politics of Disability.” Body & Society. 25(4): 29-54.

Kelly Fritsch is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Carleton University. As a feminist disability studies scholar and crip theorist, her work explores the generative frictions of disability. She is co-editor of Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle (2016) and co-author of the forthcoming disability justice children’s book, We Move Together (April 2021).

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. She is the author of War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence (2016) and co-author of the disability justice children’s book, We Move Together (April 2021).

Download the full event transcript here.

Resources and Further Reading

Speakers' Publications

Fritsch, Kelly and Anne McGuire. “Risk and the Spectral Politics of Disability.” Body & Society 25, no. 4 (2019): 29-54.

Fritsch, Kelly, Anne McGuire, and Eduardo Trejos. We Move Together. Chico: AK Press, 2021.

Fritsch, Kelly, Clare O’Connor, and AK Thompson, eds. Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late-Capitalist Struggle. Oakland: AK Press, 2016.

Fritsch, Kelly, Jeffrey Monaghan, and Emily van der Meulen, eds. Disability Injustice: Confronting Criminalization in Canada. Vancouver: UBC Press, Forthcoming 2021.

McGuire, Anne. “Mental Health Problems: Managing the Mind in the Modern Age.” In Disability in the Modern Age, edited by David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder. London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2020.

McGuire, Anne. War on Autism: On the Cultural Logic of Normative Violence. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016.

See above links for more information on the speakers' publications.

Other Resources

American Psychiatric Association. 

American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-5. Fifth edition. Arlington: American Psychiatric Association, 2017.

Benjamin, Ruha. “Informed Refusal: Toward a Justice-Based Bioethics.” Science, Technology, & Human Values 41, no. 6 (2016): 967–990.

CBC Radio. “Sperm donor 9623 seemed perfect. It was a complete lie.” CBC Radio. April 18, 2016. Access here.

Dixon, Chris. Another Politics: Talking Across Today’s Transformative Movements. Oakland: University of California Press, 2014.

Hauser, Christine. “Sperm Donor’s Profile Hid Mental Illness and Crime, Lawsuits Say.” The New York Times. April 17, 2016. Access here. 

Liat Ben-Moshe. 

McRuer, Robert. Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

Peter Conrad.

Richard Titmuss.

Shannon Mattern. 

Sophie Lewis. 

Spade, Dean. Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During This Crisis (and the Next). London and New York: Verso, 2020.

"spectre, n.". OED Online. March 2021. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/186082?rskey=vaFSHt&result=1 (accessed May 12, 2021).

"spectrum, n.". OED Online. March 2021. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/186105?redirectedFrom=spectrum (accessed May 12, 2021).