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Featured Speaker: Robert McRuer

Friday, 11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
JW Marriott, Grand Ballroom V, Third Floor 

"A Queer Kind of Recognition:
Academia, Locality, and the State"

Chair: Margaret Price, Spelman College, Decatur, GA

Robert McRuerDuring Fall 2013, CCCC members discussed the question of what it means to hold our convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, where a state amendment banning gay marriage is on the table, and where the state’s criminal code is written in a way that may prevent same-sex couples from even applying for marriage licenses.

The significance of this discussion goes beyond the specific situation of Indiana or 2014; it points to important questions for the future of CCCC. What is the best course of action when a scholarly organization attempts to respond to oppressive city or state laws? What are the implications of assuming that "gay marriage" is of principal importance in LGBTQ activism? What happens when we combine "queer" with "institutions" (both of higher learning, and of marriage), and with the state? Ultimately, how might we imagine a more open future for LGBTQ politics in CCCC, and perhaps beyond?

This session will begin with a talk by Dr. Robert McRuer, which will investigate the question of "the state" on several levels, including questions about both individual US states where CCCC might or might not convene in the futures we are imagining, and also about the larger US state, in its contradictory moment of both "recognizing" certain forms of queerness (through shifting public opinion and laws around marriage) and intensely surveilling others. In the process, McRuer attempts to locate us in a moment of both danger and reinvention—of our priorities, coalitions, and institutions.

Following Dr. McRuer’s talk, attendees will engage in an extended discussion of these issues, moderated by Dr. Margaret Price. Topics may include the intersectional politics of CCCC location selection, including issues of race, class and disability, as well as sexuality and gender; the recently passed guiding principles on "CCCC Conference Siting and Hostile Legislation"; and questions brought to the floor by members.

Robert McRuer is the author or editor of three books: Sex and Disability (Duke UP, 2012; co-edited with Anna Mollow); Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (New York UP, 2006); and The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities (New York UP, 1997). Crip Theory was awarded the Alan Bray Memorial Book Award (2007) from the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association, and was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. With Abby L. Wilkerson in 2003, he co-edited a special double issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, "Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies," which was awarded the Best Special Issue Award (2004) from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ). He is now completing a monograph tentatively titled Cripping Austerity.

Margaret Price is the author of Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life (University of Michigan P, 2011), which won the CCCC Outstanding Book Award. She is a member of the LBGTQ Task Force and Committee on Disability Issues in CCCC. Her work, further detailed at, has appeared in venues including JAC, CCC, Kairos and Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. With Stephanie Kerschbaum, she is now at work on a qualitative study of disability and disclosure in higher education.


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