Monday, June 26, 2017

Liz Bourke's Sleeping with Monsters

I'm pleased to announce the release of Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy by Liz Bourke, in both print and e-book editions, from Aqueduct Press. It's available now from Aqueduct Press.

Anyone familiar with Liz Bourke's work knows she isn't shy about sharing her opinion. In columns and reviews for science fiction and fantasy website and elsewhere, she's taken a critical eye to fantasy and SF, from books to movies, television to videogames, old to new. This volume presents a selection of the best of her articles. Bourke's subjects range from the nature of epic fantasy— is it a naturally conservative sort of literature?—to the effect of Mass Effect's decision to allow players to play as a female hero, and from discussions of little-known writers to some of the most popular works in the field. A provocative, immensely readable collection of essays about the science fiction and fantasy field, from the perspective of a feminist and a historian, Sleeping With Monsters is an entertaining addition to any reader's shelves.

"A majority of the pieces in this collection come from Sleeps With Monsters, and ultimately, its purpose is more similar to Sleeps With Monsters than not: to be a little loud and angry. To celebrate the work of women in the science fiction and fantasy (SFF) field. To offer a snapshot, a limited glimpse, of what I think is best, most fun, most interesting."—from the author's Foreword

"[Bourke] consistently raises questions about the sort of content in books that for a long time was invisible to many reviewers or considered not worth examining. Uncovering the complex morass of sexism, racism, classism, ableism, religious bigotry, and homo- and transphobia that often underlies many of our received assumptions about narrative is right in her wheelhouse. ...[She] talks to us as if we're in conversation. What a pleasure it is to read pithy reviews of often-overlooked work I already admire, as well as to discover books I need to read."—from the Introduction by Kate Elliott

This strong collection is culled from Bourke's similarly titled blog as well as other online sources, and features eight original selections. Bourke's critiques of fantasy and science fiction—most running fewer than 1,000 words—demonstrate both her critical acumen and her appreciation of the genre. Nearly all of the works she discusses are by present-day female writers, and though she purports to bring "an explicitly feminist perspective" to her reviews, she mostly applies the classic critical yardsticks of plot, character development, and authorial voice. Bourke has read widely, especially among multi-book sagas, and her familiarity with so many modern writers' oeuvres gives gravity to her appraisals of the limitations of a literary canon for science fiction and fantasy. She observes that depictions of queer womanhood in contemporary fantasy and science fiction are often disappointingly "titillating or tragic." Her critical standards are high—she doesn't flinch at pointing out weaknesses in favorite books by popular writers—but not inflexible, as is implicit in her observation that "an interesting failure can prove far more entertaining than a novel that's technically successful but has no heart." This collection is sure to provoke debate among genre fans, and also to drive them to the books under Bourke's scrutiny.  —Publishers Weekly, June 2017

Friday, June 16, 2017

Karen Heuler's In Search of Lost Time

I'm pleased to announce the release of In Search of Lost Time, a novella by Karen Heuler published as a volume in Aqueduct's Conversation Pieces series in both small trade paperback and e-book editions. (You may recall that Karen's story "The Apartments," published in an earlier volume of the Conversation Pieces series, Other Places, is a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Awards.) You can purchase both of these volumes from Aqueduct Press now.

After beginning chemo for a rare cancer, Hildy discovers an extraordinary talent—the ability to see and take other people’s time. She also discovers there’s an underground market for quality time. After all, who has enough time? The dying, especially, want to get more of it, but giving it to them means taking it from someone else. How moral is she? How will she juggle the black marketers’ strong-arm tactics and her own quandaries about stealing something so precious and vital that it can never be replaced?

Nisi Shawl writes, in her review for The Seattle Review of Books, "Author Karen Heuler's heroine Hildy discovers that chemo infusions targeting malignant lesions on her "tempora"— an imaginary area of the brain — allow her to see, manipulate, and ultimately steal other people's time. Her superpowers neither free nor cure Hildy, though. Instead, she struggles to integrate them into a humane and principled philosophy while fending off the self-interested alliances of warring would-be time-mongers. She girds herself for battle in red-heeled boots, silk head scarves, and penciled-on eyebrows, but kindness and self-reflection prove to be her most kickass weapons."   (Read the whole review)

In Rich Horton's review for Locus, he writes: "It's a curious story, leaving the reader with more questions than answers about what’s really going on, to say nothing of the morality of the process (not that it isn’t questioned). Hildy herself is an interesting character, recovering not just from cancer but from the death of her married lover, and the people she encounters are likewise a bit off-center. I was intrigued throughout..."

 A Conversation with Karen Heuler about In Search of Lost Time

Q: Why is there never enough time?

It’s a little bit like riding a good car on bad tires. You think everything’s fine until you start skidding out of control going down an icy hill. Time, in this case, is the tires. There’s nothing to grip, so there’s no way of negotiating how fast it goes. When I think about time at this point in life, I can only think in small leguments. When I was young, the road was longer. And I’m spending all my time steering. This is called an extended metaphor, and the problem with extended metaphors is that I never know when to stop. Or how. Like that car.
Q. What would life be like if we could sample other people’s memories?

I’d love to do that. There are a lot of people in the world that I find unfathomable. If I could see the bits and pieces that formed them, I could see what makes them tick. That might explain why they chose to do evil while I chose to do good.

Q. Really? How good are you?

 I give to many charities. Small amounts, yes, but I’m not rich. I live-trap mice and release them. I used to release them too close to home, and they’d actually beat me back to the kitchen. There was one night when I caught the same mouse four times. Then I was told that it was best to take them at least two miles away. I do that now. And I give them a little packed lunch to take with them.
Q. Is this book a comedy or a tragedy?

That really depends on the reviews. I will cheerfully acknowledge whatever they want me to acknowledge.

Q. Will this be made into an action-adventure movie?

There are a lot of women in it. There are no explosions. There would be limited opportunity for CGI. So, no.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

WisCon 41: a sketchy report, with randomly placed photos

Aqueduct's editors and business manager

So Aqueduct went to WisCon again this year. Kath drove one car loaded with books, Tom and I another, and Arrate flew in, across the Atlantic, and we re-uned joyfully in Madison. Kath and Arrate arrived in time for the reception and reading at Room of One’s Own on Thursday evening, but Tom and I, having caught a few bad breaks, arrived later than planned, making it to Room only as things were winding down. 
Aqueduct in the Dealers Room

I spent the con as I usually do—talking with friends and acquaintances, attending panels and readings, making periodic appearances at Aqueduct’s table. I also participated in a panel and gave a reading. But one of the first things I did after the Dealers Room officially opened was to make a beeline for Dreamhaven’s table, where I hoped to find the first volume of Samuel R Delany’s journals, recently released in a handsome hard-bound edition by Wesleyan University Press. And yes, they had it! It’s a book of considerable heft, which is both good and bad. Good for obvious reasons, bad because it means I can’t read it in the bathtub. (Of course, if I had a tray to span the width of the tub, as I once did, and a book holder to go with it…)
Mary Anne Mohanraj, reading

On Friday afternoon I attended two panels. The first, Embracing Socialism, was offered by Mary Anne Mohanraj, Ian K. Hagemann, and Julia Schroeder (M). Julia said she only started thinking of herself as socialist during the 2008 election when Obama was frequently labeled a socialist by the right. (Which raises an interesting point about the work labels can sometimes do, don’t you think?) Ian identified himself as a longtime activist. His “socialism,” he said, was a result of years of watching Star Trek. Mary Anne noted that though she’d been an activist for years, she had not considered herself a socialist. But when she ran for the library board (which she did in the wake the 2016 general election), she was required to define her position on a range of issues, and soon she realized that economic issues are central to public library policies and politics.

Ian said that when talking about socialism, we need to remember what socialism actually is. Highways are socialized. (If they weren’t, everyone using them would constantly be having to paying tolls.) Parks are socialized. (Which made me think of how scarce public parks were when I lived in New Orleans, compared with the life-enhancing abundance of them in Seattle.) Police are socialized—“though badly.” (Which made me think of the constant scandal that is the Chicago Police Department—and then of how the notion that the police are there to “protect and serve” entire communities was new to me when I first encountered it in my high school civics class, since no one in my family ever called on the police for help because in their view, the only actually helpful things police ever did was to direct traffic during power outages and civil emergencies, or after a heavily attended event let out.) But we don’t have socialized health and human services (which is why most people living in the US are one serious illness away from bankruptcy). The Public school system is socialized—the “reason,” perhaps, that current Secretary of Education appears to be doing her utmost to destroy it. We need, Ian said, to articulate what is good about the socialized services we do have and then see where the argument breaks down for socialized health and social services.
An Aqueduct reading

Mary Anne noted that some cities have lovely libraries while others do not. Implementation of public library services is extremely variable—as with public schools and state colleges. She cited Roland Barthes on why the right is so much better at attractively mis-naming policies etc than is the left. And then she said “I think we have to talk about Bernie Sanders. He moved the Overton Window. (And Occupy Wall Street prepared us for Sanders, paving the way for ‘changing the conversation.’)” She suggested that this was the most valuable aspect of Sanders’ campaign. Ian then observed that the in the US the 1950s were “a cauldron for social and political change” because of the high income and capital gains taxes then in effect. People in the 1950s generally accepted the notion that costs and benefits of essential services are shared and collective, not individual. 
Nancy Jane Moore, reading

At which point, Julia asked the panelists to define neoliberalism. Ian said that he defined it as evil (eliciting gleeful responses from the audience). Audience members then offered some help, culminating in Dan Dexter’s assertion that neoliberalism rests on the total acceptance of capitalism’s ruling every sphere of life with mitigation of its worst effects “where possible,” such that some people can have clean water, decent health care, education, etc., while many, obviously cannot. An audience member recommended Gangs in America, which is about corporations. Another recommended the documentary The Healing of America by T.R. Reid. Another audience member, discussing Reid’s work, said that it considered three forms of socialized healthcare currently in existence—the single-payer model; the affordable healthcare model; and the taking-profitability-out-of-healthcare model. I’ll skip over most of the rest of the discussion, except for four comments particularly struck me: (1) from an audience member: Bernie put a face on democratic socialism—we need to define socialism as democratic socialism rather than totalitarian socialism; (2) Ian: Most people don’t know people who are hungry unless they’re one of them; to win the socialist argument, people need to understand statistics, since they have no other way to see what the facts and problems actually are; and (3) from an audience member: The left doesn’t do an abridged version of leftist values and politics; we need to develop abridged versions, reframed for popular consumption; and finally: someone noted that it should be pointed out, when discussing the merits of capitalism vs socialism, that capitalism has been proven to be a dismal, potentially catastrophic failure for serving human needs in the twenty-first century.
Lesley Hall, reading

Immediately after “Embracing Socialism,” I attended 10,000 Feminisms, 10,000 Feminist SFs. This panel was moderated by Julia Day, with Jackie Gross (aka LadyJax) and Lauren Lacey as panelists. This panel was of particular interest me as a publisher of feminist sf. From the beginning, I’ve been aware of the looseness of the term and the broad spectrum of works that can be so classified—and that was at a time (2004) when a lot of people believed feminist sf was over, years before we began to see certain sectors of the mainstream claiming feminism for their own purposes. Rather than discussing this aspect of the subject, though, the panelists focused on recommending a rich array of different kinds of feminist sf works. Julia began by asking the panelists to talk about both the best and the worst titles of feminist sf they’d encountered. Lauren’s reply focused on a work she particularly disliked, viz Sheri Tepper’s Beauty. Feminist sf needs to ask, she said, what stories do we keep? Which do we remake? What do we throw out? Beauty reinscribes the power roles as traditionally told without attemption to reinvigorate the fairy tale. Jackie Gross recalled Daughters of the Coral Dawn as a poorly written work by an author, Katherine V. Forrest, who wrote a work she loved: “Dreams and Swords.” I was delighted that Jackie spoke often about the importance of the small press for feminist sf in the 70s and 80s, mentioning Naiad Press, Daughters, Crossing Press’s anthologies (to which I myself contributed a couple of stories), Firebrand Books—and since I was seated in the audience, under no pressure at all to remember, I mentally added several more to the list; and Jackie also spoke often, throughout the panel, about the importance, pre-internet, of feminist bookstores in making small-press feminist sf accessible (summoning up memories of my visits to feminist bookstores in cities I was merely passing through, each time snatching up books that would otherwise simply be known to me later by reputation, so hard would they soon be to find).

The panelists also discussed feminist narratives that are neither utopian nor dystopian, and Jackie observed that the entry point for each reader is crucial. She suggested that the dystopias we have now tend to use the dystopian form as a background to clichéd narratives rather than as an examination of the structures and conditions themselves. She also commented on the difference between reading The Handmaid’s Tale at the time it first appeared (1983) and now. In a recent re-reading, she said, she asked what happened had to the people of color who aren’t there. Jackie also talked about finding feminist sf in unexpected places, for instances in a Steve Barnes work in which a guy on the run encounters Motherland. When an audience member asked about new feminist sf, the panel launched into a series of book (and publisher) recs. My last note on the panel is a remark that Jackie spoke a great deal about the need to go outside the mainstream press to find the feminist narratives we need. Everyone who reads this blog will not be surprised to read that to that I uttered a silent Amen.
Therese Pieczynski, reading

My panel notes from then on became a great deal sparser, until finally I stopped taking them at all. The panel “Fandom and Fascism,” featuring Alexis Lothian, Julia Schroeder, and Megan Condis (M) met in a room with too few chairs to accommodate everyone attending. Megan began by noting that when Trump started to interact with (and retweet) gamergaters, she was shocked into realizing that it is necessary to pay attention to questions about what right-wingers are getting out of associating with gamers, who have largely been non-respectable. She said she then came to see that Trump et al are using gamergaters as a means of shedding their old-fashioned images and dressing up racism, sexism etc as cool and hip. Alexis: There’s no laying a claim that gamers are an “oppressed minority” (as some have liked to see themselves)—the language of social justice is being appropriated and adapted to their purposes. “Fascism has always had a fandom,” she noted, and cited the example of Britain in the 1930s. And: The pleasures to be found in fascism [in cosplay etc) are often enjoyed by people who identify themselves as anti-fascist.  Julia: The word “Nazi” is no longer taken seriously in the media. (After which followed a discussion of some of the many ways “nazi” gets slung around, diluting its power as a designation.) Megan: The (HBO/HULU) Handmaid’s Tale is both horrifying and banal. The villains look like ordinary Americans. Julia: The humanization of the other [I think she meant of villains in narratives] is taken to the extreme—we have to make the bad guys real persons—but certain levels of evil shouldn’t be empathized with. Alexis: We need to look at who it is who gets humanized by fandom. [Which concurs with my thought, about how the usual stereotyped “others” so often figure as one-dimensional “bad guys” in the mainstream, and how it’s only when the villain is a straight white male do most narratives bother to humanize them.] An audience member, Wendy Rose, asked: “Is it a trend that oppressors are given understanding and sympathy rather than intolerance?” My notes on Alexis’s response here are not quite legible, except for this “…as if oppressions are all equivalent and work the same way.” Julia: The media take the attitude that every opinion is valuable and acceptable. You can see this in the Harry Potter and Star Wars fandoms: niceness at all costs. Ocala Wings from the audience: We have a fandom of patriotism and a fandom of Trump—the media has been publishing his every tweet. From the audience: What does it mean for fandom that its narratives/characters are so protean that fans who are alt-right see one thing while fans who are leftist see something entirely different? Alexis: She’s struck by the desire to detach Nazis and other fascist iconography from Nazism and fascism—generating meaning shifts—and the desire to separate iconography from politics and its history. “Fandom,” she suggested, “has the capacity for erotic engagement with fucked-up things.” My last note goes to an audience member’s comment: The alt-right treats power structures as interchangeable.

Kiini Ibura Salaam, reading, with Andrea Hairston

Those were the panels I attended on Friday. I attended several more on Saturday and Sunday, but took few notes. The “Sort of” panel, moderated by Susan Ramirez with Lee Blauerstein, W.L. Bolm, Nicole Fadellin, Kiini Ibura Salaam, and Nisi Shawl offered much to think about; Kiini’s “Identity is a created box with boundaries that people kill to preserve” and Nisi’s “Becoming/being “sort of” comes from the outside” demanded to be quoted in my notes. “Borders, Boundaries, and Liminal Spaces” with Julia Starkey moderating, featuring Julia Rios, Isabel Schecter, and Anna-Marie McLemore [subbing for Amal El-Mohtar], and the Speculative Fiction in Translation panel with Rachel Cordasco, Sue Burke, and our own Arrate, at which Rachel provided an amazing list of work in translation published in the last year—and which sent me to Small Beer Press’s table to purchase a new Angelica Gorodischer title in translation. During the “Border, Boundaries, and Liminal Spaces” panel, Julia Starkey clued us in on Amal’s experience traveling from Toronto to the US to be a GoH at this very WisCon—of being detained on Canadian soil by the US Border Patrol, a degrading experience, that she said Amal had noted would have been a great deal worse had her skin been as dark, say, as her brother’s. Oh, I almost forgot! On Saturday evening, I attended a jam-packed panel that attracted too many attendees to fit into the room—titled “The Myth of the Career,” discussing the doom of the gig economy, featuring Richard Dutcher, B.C. Holmes, Victor Raymond, Jessie Sarber, and moderator Rachel Kronick. This panel evoked heavy, intense audience participation and could easily have gone on for hours. It could have been subtitled “Neoliberalism bites.” 
An Aqueduct reading
Eleanor Arnason, reading

And finally, the readings: Aqueduct’s two official readings, as another offered by more Aqueductistas. On Saturday afternoon  Kiini Ibura Salaam, Andrea Hairston, Pan Morigan, and Sheree Renee Thomas gave beautiful, powerful readings.

Andrea Hairston, reading
Andrea Hairston, Pan Morigan, & Sheree Renee Thomas
And on Sunday, two Aqueduct readings took place back-to-back, with Cynthia Ward, Beth Plutchak, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and myself featured in the first session and Eleanor Arnason, Lesley Hall, Nancy Jane Moore, and Therese Pieczynski in the second. A good time, I promise you, was had by all. 
Beth Plutchak
Cynthia Ward, reading

I could report much, much more, but this post already feels far too long. Please do also check out Aqueductista Claire Light’s  At the World’s Preeminent Feminist Speculative Fiction Convention. Because, yes, everyone’s WisCon is different. 

L. Timmel Duchamp, talking



Monday, June 5, 2017

Black Disability Activism at the Whitney

At 6:43 p.m. on June 2, 2017, as part of the Whitney Biennial, artist-activist Leroy Moore gave a presentation on “Black/Brown International Disability Art and Hip-Hop.” Aqueductistas Ann Keefer and Josh Lukin were present, having ridden a bus up from Philadelphia to show support for the speaker and his agenda. Although the event was listed as being full, there were over twenty empty seats; but the diverse group of people who could make it was enthusiastic and appreciative. Upon entering the black box theater on the third floor of the Whitney, visitors found a pile of handouts on each chair, including Moore’s interview with rapper TapWaterz, his San Francisco Chronicle article about Black Disabled History, a list of Twenty-One Black Disabled Trivia Questions, Moore’s definition of AfroKrip, an account of Krip-Hop Nation’s politics, and a bilingual transcript of the youtube video, “Jake explain what Hip Hop is like in Spain for people with disabilities.”

Sasha Wortzel, the Whitney’s director of access and community programs, made a nice access announcement that included a “You may get up and move around during the presentation” and quickly turned the mic over to Carolyn Lazard. Carolyn wrote the intro in the form of a love letter to Leroy. She first met her copanelists Tina and Park at a panel on Access Intimacy two years ago at the New Museum. From Leroy she learned that she didn’t have to hold her blackness in one hand and her disability in the other.

Leroy Moore, artist Sunaura Taylor, artist Carolyn Lazard

Upon taking the mic, Leroy remarked that he was from the area—his mother was awfully excited to hear he’d be at the Whitney—and that it was very hard to be back in the city on account of all the people he’d known who’d been covered up in concrete or gentrified out of New York or . . . he began by showing a BlackDisabled Art History 101 video, then moved into his own personal history. In the eighties, here in New York, three other black disabled boys came up to his room, and they would all write letters—yes, people wrote letters then—to black leaders asking for resources and support and solidarity, and often they got form letters in reply, saying there was nothing out there. Nowadays he doesn’t write letters; he writes emails; but he still sometimes gets the same replies.

When Leroy was a kid, he once dashed into the kitchen yelling, “Mom, I’m on tv!” And his mother came with him into the living room and said, “Leroy, that’s Porgy.” It was the first and only time he’d seen a representation of a black disabled guy in the entertainment media . . . he then read an autobiographical poem about his wild youth and showed a brief interview with Tap Waterz . . . his first work was published in the Amsterdam News, for which he is still extremely grateful; then when he moved west, in the San Francisco Bay Review.  He worked with DAMO—Disability Advocates of Minority Organizations—and then cofounded the National Black Disability Coalition with the great New Jersey civil rights activist Jane Dunhamn.

Next he showed and discussed videos from various Krip-Hop Nation artists, including
Josh Lukin, Sunaura Taylor
Rinnessy, cofounder Keith Jones and DJ Quad, and began to present his definition of Krip-Hop. Krip-Hop Nation has existed for ten years without funding: “We don’t want to be tied up by grant designs and the nonprofit state.” Now Krip-Hop has put out four cd’s, including their 2012 cd on police brutality against people with disabilities; and Leroy has collaborated with Emmitt Thrower on the Where Is Hope? documentary about police brutality against disabled people—hire them to come and speak at your institution. He’s hoping to sponsor an all-women, trans-inclusive Krip-Hop cd with Lisa Ganser in charge, and a cd of South African Krip-Hop. And he recently produced the tenth anniversary Krip-Hop cd, which includes the famous rapper DMC.

There was a bunch of laughter in the audience as the transcription technology of youtube misrendered “Krip-Hop” in like sixteen different ways, and Leroy said, “Sorry about that: youtube has its own language” and segued into the tactics marginalized people have of flipping language: “ . . . people think of ‘Crip’ as a gang, but we flipped it as a positive thing.” Look at the role disability played in the origins of the dozens, a ritual that became the basis of hip-hop. Look at Blind Willie Johnson, accused of inciting a riot by moaning outside the courthouse. Look at Josh White and all the blind musicians he worked with and learned from as a child. All of these stories that music scholars have left out . . . and it’s hard with ableist artists today such as Lady Gaga and Rick Ross and Kendrick Lamar with the blind woman in “Blood” and the Washington Post saying that the president has a mental illness—how do we fight this? Krip-Hop! Krip-Hop uses hip-hop and flips it to the positive. Listen to a song about Blind Willie Johnson, “Moan to Me.” And with international Krip-Hop artists such as Simon Mandela from South Africa, King Montana, Jake from Spain, Billy Saga from Brazil . . . Krip-Hop Uganda, which raised funds to buy AtimEunice and her sister a wheelchair, after which she said, well, this is very nice, but I need to go to school too, so they started another round of crowdfunding—Krip-Hop is more than music.

Park McArthur
After an intermission, there was an introduction of Carolyn Lazard, Park McArthur, and Constantina Zavitsanos that recounted the many venues in which their work—work informed by disability and care—has appeared. They played Leroy Moore and Rob DaNoize Temple’s “Moan to Me” again, to honor Leroy’s accomplishments. Park said she’d been talking about Leroy as archivist/time-traveler, simultaneously reviving the past and navigating the world into the future. Tina said she’d been thinking about slippage: “There’s a lot of slip in that song. Layers and facts and things are traveling in multiple directions.” Leroy noted that the history of black disabled people has been repressed. Hip-hop is the baby of the blues, the fruit of the blues tree: he’s trying to take stories of early blues artists to today.

Park asked if Leroy could comment on two issues. 1) Ableism in pop culture, the appropriation of disability, in genres like mumblerap, and visual artists taking on crip aesthetics 2) Context—what’s the relationship between the criminal justice system and law enforcement and how that system produces disability? Leroy said he’s noticed that, amazingly, hip-hop artists and scholars of hip-hop don’t know how disability is one of the main components of music: it’s astonishing how artists can take disability and riff on it but artists with physical disabilities cannot make it in mainstream hip-hop. Krip-Hop has to push back against the scholars, the artists, the journalists, and say, Here it is. When we got started, there were all kinds of radio stations, but only KPFA would play us. And I love you, Michelle Alexander, but where is disability in The New Jim Crow? The prison pipeline from the schools is mostly special ed—where did that come from? I was talking to an author who did a whole book on sickle-cell anemia under the Black Panthers, and she was like, Oh, I never thought about disability.

An audience member asked, Whom should we be writing to today? Leroy talked about
Pioneering disability scholar/educator Simi Linton
different kinds of dissemination, all kinds of ways one can get the word out, including bringing Krip-Hop to the Whitney. But so much work remains to be done to reach people. “I see a lot of talk about intersectionality, and people still don’t bring up disability! IT’S NOT A GAME! Scholars and writers still need to be told.”

An audience member asked about training police to deal with people with disabilities. Leroy said he’d seen calls for police training in the Eighties, he’d seen calls for police training in the Nineties; he’d believed in training the police thirty years ago, he’d believed in training the police twenty years ago, and the police have not improved. We need to flip our focus from what the police need to what the community needs, We’ve been focusing on the police since the Eighties, and they get all the money, they get all the resources—and when you come back to the community, there’s nothing there. Sounding like Jane Dunhamn, he said that we need to flip the focus so that when a disabled person is in crisis, you don’t call the police; you call your neighbor. And that’d be a hard change. A member of the audience mentioned the killing of Ethan Saylor, remarking that Saylor had been universally loved and was a superstar in his community, and that he’d had a paraprofessional with him communicating on his behalf, but that didn’t stop the police ‘cause they weren’t interested in listening. And he, audience member, has a son with Down Syndrome who could be Ethan Saylor, And what do we do?

Of the anti-police brutality organizations, Leroy has only seen October 22 consistently addressing disability. A lot of movements don’t deal with disability justice—it’s not sexy.

David Linton talks with UPenn's Heather Love and NYU's Mara Mills
Park asked a question about the Harriet Tubman Collective, and Carolyn answered: it’s completely run online, so it brings people from many locations together. It points in both directions; and it’s truly intergenerational, encompassing elders like Leroy and young activists. It’s in conversation with Black Lives Matter. And—we know these are complex issues, but the ubiquity of disability in police brutality cases, environmental justice cases, etc. is not talked about! Park considers the question of what happens when we think of Harriet Tubman as a disabled woman. It’s a love letter to the past. It’s that archival process. Tentatively, because she doesn’t want to alienate her friends who do conventional archive work, Tina generates the word “anarchivism,” a form of archiving that’s at odds with the Official and the Academic. Leroy said, how much could we have done back in the Eighties if we’d had something like the Harriet Tubman Collective and how great it is to have it now. Back then all we could do was go to police commission hearings.

A guy who’d already asked two questions started saying something and Leroy replied,
Leroy Moore, Ann Keefer
“Can we get other voices in the room?” A woman then asked about invisible disability and its place in Krip-Hop, especially now that we’re aware of how mental disability issues play a role in police brutality, and in black feminism—and we have mainstream singers talking about their affective disorders. How do you see the role of madness and invisible disabilities evolving? Leroy agrees about the importance of these disabilities but is iffy on mainstream hip-hop’s taking on mental health, because if you look closely it’s coming from a medical model. “I want it to go deeper: I want to really challenge where it’s coming from . . . I don’t think a lot of hip-hop artists have a connection to activists on the ground who can teach them . . . I wish they had more disability justice in the mix.”

Leroy concluded by saying that we need to learn more about global disability activism. Especially now that we’re ruled by these fools, we have to examine the movements in other countries who’ve had similarly horrible rulers. Look at recent activism in Bolivia: it’s amazing, and the people doing it live on ten dollars a month!

Watch the whole event (intermission and post-lecture mingling included!) here, starting at the fourteen-minute mark.