Crip Technoscience

— Aimi Hamraie and Kelly Fritsch —

Crip technoscience is a new field of research emerging from the intersections of feminist technoscience studies and critical disability studies. This field challenges the presumption that valuable scientific knowing and technological change proceed from neutral, non-disabled bodyminds (Hamraie, 2015, Kafer, 2013, Murphy, 2012).

While STS scholars have engaged with technoscience as a dynamic “onto-epistemological” relation (Barad, 2007), few have considered the role that disability plays in histories of technoscientific “knowing-making” (Hamraie, 2017). Historical and sociological scholarship on technoscience often reveals tropes of disability as deviance, lack, or excess that must be avoided or eliminated. Feminist STS often takes for granted the uncomplicated “cyborg” status of the disabled body, cast as a smooth human-machine interaction. Crip technoscience is a practice of “desiring disability differently,” a way of knowing and being with disability that seeks neither an overcoming of disability nor lapses into a celebration of individual difference in and of itself (Fritsch, 2015).

At 4S 2017, we offered a manifesto for crip technoscience, defining it as a project premised upon interdependence, desiring disability, critical design, and user-expertise. Participants on the panel agreed that this area is a new way of thinking about disability and technology that our current models have not yet explored. For example, scholars frequently reach for the figure of the cyborg as a model for discussing body-technology relations, but few do this using the frameworks laid out by disability studies scholars such as Alison Kafer (2013), who argues that disabled people are cyborgs not because of our bodies, but because of our commitment to interdependence. We also noticed papers across the conference with similar theoretical interventions, for example Moya Bailey’s paper on black feminist disability studies and its interventions into STS.”

The crip technoscience manifesto is part of a larger project that will be explored in a special issue of Catalyst: feminism, theory, technoscience. For more information, please visit http://catalystjournal.org/ojs/index.php/catalyst/index

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