Last weekend was academically hoppin' in Atlanta, GA. The National Women's Studies Association and the American Studies Association both help their annual conference over Veteran's Day Weekend in Atlanta. In an act of scholarly stamina, I presented two completely different pieces of work at both conferences on the same day.
I began the day at NWSA on a panel chaired by my friend and colleague Edmond Y. Chang titled "What Good Is Science Fiction? Reimagining Race, Gender, Queerness, and Disability in Feminist Utopias." Along with Angie Rovak, we presented to a very small crowd at 8 am. I shared some of my work against carnivalesque utopias, exploring Katherine Dunn's critique of the carnival as utopia in Geek Love and arguing for matriarchal feminist informal economies of care. Ed presented some work on linguistic estrangement in black feminist sci fi, and Angie provided a great medical humanities intervention regarding ancestral lineage, DNA, and the biomedical body in black science fiction.
Later in the afternoon, I went to a different downtown Atlanta hotel for the ASA conference, where I presented some new work on staging chronic illness at a panel sponsored by the Critical Disability Studies Caucus. Last spring at Cornish, I taught what I believe to be the college's first-ever disability studies course, focused on disability in theatre. I taught a few traditional disability plays (Children of a Lesser God, for instance), as well as some contemporary crip theatre like DEAFWest's production of Spring Awakening. But I wish I had taught Lisa Kron's Well, which I presented on at this conference. It is such a complex reworking of the traditional structures of theatre that, I argue, bends time to meet disabled bodies and minds, therefore putting the audience inside what we might call crip spacetime. It was truly an honor to be invited by Aly Pavastas to be part of the conversation on "Cripistemologies of Continuous Crisis" with Margaret Price, Ally Day, and Jess Whatcott, all of whom contributed some truly fascinating work.