a barbie in a wheelchair looking at a Dr. Horrible comic

Hybrid course at Trent University, Winter 2022

ENGL 4601H Critical Approaches to Literature: Crip Theory

How does literature contribute to disability justice? What does it mean to “crip” lit?

Literary scholars have reclaimed the term “crip” to explore overlaps between queer and disability cultures in neoliberal contexts. This course explores disability approaches to literature in a contemporary context, though students can think historically using the methods learned. We will consider how frequently disability appears in the literary and broader cultural record alongside how rarely it is adequately considered. We will think about what disability has come to symbolize culturally, why, and how that affects everyday life. We will consider key moments within disability studies in the humanities to evaluate and build on key critical terms that continue to emerge, especially the term “crip.” Disability is always intersectional, so we will ask how literature contributes to understanding possible connections, solidarities, and tensions with other positionalities and movements.