Alison Kafer, Feminist Queer Crip (Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2013), pp. 258, ISBN: 9780253009340, £16.99, paperback.
Eve Lacey read English at Cambridge University and was awarded the David Almond Fellowship for research in children's literature in 2012. She is a trainee librarian, poetry editor at For Books' Sake, and research assistant for the Freud Museum.
In Feminist Queer Crip, Alison Kafer endeavours to re-politicise disability and its relations to gender and sexuality. This entails a thorough examination of the ways in which time can be or become 'crip' – a critical term for 'imagining bodies and desires otherwise' – with a focus on those bodies that won't grow, age, labour or reproduce according to normal standards of growth and productivity. Kafer also examines bodies that are visually reproduced, or omitted, to facilitate the production of a political agenda, and how the continual reproduction of the able-bodied norm may be challenged or undone. She writes with an acute awareness of intersectionality and her understanding of reproductive politics repeatedly challenges ableist notions of care, future, and productivity. She first identifies problems with the medical model of disability, which constructs a timeline that can only lead to cure or failure, and with the social model, which risks ignoring the lived realities of pain until 'cure becomes the future no self-respecting disability activist or scholar wants' (p. 7). Kafer then arrives at a political and relational stance, one which prioritises coalition over diagnosis and which recognises that disability 'does not occur in isolation' (p. 8). Her relational model takes into account partnerships with carers and attendants and assisting animals, and a focus on political allegiance allows room for Robert McRuer's theory of a 'non-disabled claim to crip': an expansive identity politics which extends beyond diagnostics and towards the deconstructive principle that everyone is, has or will be disabled, and so has a stake in dismantling the ablebodied ideal. The bounds of these relations move from the social to the temporal – Feminist Queer Crip suggests that disability occurs in time, or out of it, and is often marked by a rupture in the rhythm of ableist lifetimes.