Mobilizing Metaphor
360 pages, 6 x 9
28 b&w illustrations
Release Date:15 May 2017
Release Date:15 Oct 2016
Release Date:01 Nov 2016
Release Date:01 Nov 2016

Mobilizing Metaphor

Art, Culture, and Disability Activism in Canada

UBC Press

Mobilizing Metaphor illustrates how artistic and radical efforts are reshaping disability activism in Canada and, in the process, challenging dominant perceptions of disability.

Recent changes to Canadian disability policy have seen disability programs hampered by funding cuts and other austerity measures. But this oppression has also given new life to an already vibrant Canadian tradition of disability activism. Until now, research has focused on the legal and policy spheres and overlooked disability activism that expresses itself alongside and outside conventional policy reform, often through a variety of art forms.

Here, contributions by disability artists, activists, and academics show how disability art is distinctive as both art and social action. Richly illustrated with photographs and other images, and including an insightful concluding chapter by renowned disability scholar Tanya Titchkoksy, this array of artistic, cultural, and radical approaches to disability politics demonstrates that disability activism is as varied as the populations it represents. As the contributors sketch the shifting contours of disability politics in Canada and show how disability oppression is not isolated from other prejudices, they challenge us to re-examine how we enact social and political change.

The book will appeal to scholars and activists in the interdisciplinary field of disability studies and will be of interest to audiences in fine arts, communications, gender studies, policy studies, sociology, community health, and social work.

Mobilizing Metaphor is the essential disabled handbook for living with, through, against, across, and alongside metaphor. Canadian spaces, in this collection, open onto a world of possibility – a necessarily and desirably disabled world where metaphors take surprising and unexpected new forms. For anyone thinking about the cultural work generated by the vibrant languages of disability art and activism, Mobilizing Metaphor is required reading. Robert McRuer, author of Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability and co-editor of Sex and Disability
I can’t imagine a collection doing a better job of representing the liveliness, complexity, and spread of disability art, culture, and activism in Canada. Jay Timothy Dolmage, author of Disability Rhetoric
Mobilizing Metaphor is a testament to the thriving of critical disability studies in Canada, and to arts-based activisms’ coalitional potential to move toward more just futures. The collection brings together multiple perspectives on what contemporary radical acts of knowledge creation and creative protest can do in the world. Petra Kuppers, author of Disability Culture and Community Performance and Studying Disability Arts and Culture
A comprehensive look at disability activism and art in Canada and beyond ... showing the interconnected nature of creativity and politics. Lennard J. Davis, author of The End of Normal: Identity in a Biocultural Era
This book will change how people think about art, about disability, and about Canadian social movements. Sally Chivers, author of The Silvering Screen: Old Age and Disability in Cinema

Christine Kelly is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba and a former Banting postdoctoral fellow in the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. Michael Orsini is a full professor in the School of Political Studies and vice-dean of graduate studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Ottawa.

Contributors: Paula Bath, Drew Danielle Belsky, Eliza Chandler, Nadine Changfoot, Kathryn Church, Diane Driedger, Lindsay Eales, Catherine Frazee, Gabriel Blouin Genest, Melissa Graham, nancy viva davis halifax, Kevin Jackson, Véro Leduc, Alex McClelland, Pamela Moss, Kristin Nelson, Melanie Panitch, Jeffrey Preston, Carla Rice, Jen Rinaldi, jes sachse, Tanya Titchkosky, and Jessica Whitbread


Introduction: Mobilizing Metaphor / Christine Kelly and Michael Orsini

Part 1: Assemblages of Disability Research, Art, and Social Transformation

1 Fixing: The Claiming and Reclaiming of Disability History / Catherine Frazee, Kathryn Church, and Melanie Panitch

2 Imagining Otherwise: The Ephemeral Spaces of Envisioning New Meanings / Carla Rice, Eliza Chandler, and Nadine Changfoot

3 PosterVirus: Claiming Sexual Autonomy for People with HIV through Collective Action / Alexander McClelland and Jessica Whitbread

4 Deaf and Disability Arts: Insiders, Outsiders, and the Potential of Progressive Studios / Kristin Nelson

5 “It Fell on Deaf Ears”: Deafhood through the Graphic Signed Novel as a Form of Artivism / Véro Leduc

Part 2: Artistic Paths to Disability Activism

6 (Dis)quiet in the Peanut Gallery: Performing Social Justice through Integrated Dance / Lindsay Eales

7 Battle Lines Drawn: Creative Resistance to Ableism through Online Media / Jeffrey Preston

8 Deconstructing Phonocentrism: A New Genre in Deaf Arts / Paula Bath

9 Crip the Light Fantastic: Art as Liminal Emancipatory Practice in the Twenty-First Century / jes sachse

10 Claiming “the Masters” for Disability Rights: An Artist’s Journey / Diane Driedger

Part 3: Rethinking Agency in Canadian Disability Movements

11 Perching as a Strategy for Seeking Legitimacy for Broken Embodiments: Embracing Biomedical Claims for ME / Pamela Moss

12 Challenging Rhetorical Indifference with a Cripped Poetry of Witness / Jen Rinaldi and nancy viva davis halifax

13 The Body as Resistance Art/ifact: Disability Activism during the 2012 Quebec Student Movement / Gabriel Blouin Genest

14 Divided No More: The Toronto Disability Pride March and the Challenges of Inclusive Organizing / Melissa Graham and Kevin Jackson

15 Accountability, Agency, and Absence: Embodying Radical Disability Values in Artistic Production / Drew Danielle Belsky

Conclusion: The Politics of Embracing Disability Metaphor / Tanya Titchkosky


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