Jess Whatcott, Liat Ben-Moshe (Winter 201) Abolishing the Broom Closets in Omelas: Feminist Disability Analysis of Crisis and Precarity. Feminist Formations, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp. 1-25
Ursula K. Le Guin’s 1973 short story “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas” depicts a utopian city where the happiness of most of the citizens depends on the misery of a child who lives in a broom closet. We activate the story in the midst of a global pandemic which is laying bare the pre-existing conditions of precarity under gendered settler racial capitalism. We interpret Le Guin’s story through an intersec¬tional feminist disability lens, emphasizing the necessity of attending to disability and the carceral institutionalization of disabled people as key to understanding how precarity is distributed. We make the case that “Omelas” represents places of disabil¬ity confinement, specifically the institutionalization of disabled people in psychiatric and congregate facilities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Ben-Moshe, L (Dec 2021) Challenge to What Is: The Effect and Aftermath of Exposing Intolerable Conditions of Confinement. Foucault Studies 31, 70-74
Part of a symposium for the release of Intolerable, the GIP archives in English translation (Edited by Kevin Thompson and Perry Zurn). The Prisons Information Group (GIP) was a radical French prison resistance network (1970's), in which Michel Foucault was involved. This short piece focuses on some tactical questions regarding the effect and aftermath of the GIP investigation on the intolerability of incarceration (in France and the US).
Rodriguez, S. M., Liat Ben-Moshe, and H. Rakes (2020) Carceral protectionism and the perpetually (in)vulnerable. Criminology & Criminal Justice (online First)
The criminalization of difference, particularly in relation to race, disability and queerness, renders certain people as perpetually subject to state violence due to their perceived unruliness. This article relies on two case studies, in Toledo, Ohio and Brooklyn, New York to question the construction and co-optation of vulnerability by state agents and focus on interrelated instances of state violence done under the guise of protectionism of and from unruly subjects. We then discuss the response to these instances of violence- from the state in the form of carceral ableism and sanism, and from local activists trying to navigate the shifting contours of protectionist violence by enacting queer transformative justice.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2018) Dis-Epistemologies of Abolition. Critical Criminology, 26(3), 341-355.
I argue that carceral abolition (as it appears in prison abolition and deinstitutionalization) is a form of knowledge, an ethical position. My first claim is that this knowledge is rooted in maroonage and I show the consequences of not engaging with abolition from intersectional frameworks. My second claim is that we can understand abolition as a dis-epistemology that rejects ways of knowing tied to certainty, optimism and certain notions of futurity and temporality.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2018). "Dis-orientation, dis-epistemology and abolition." Feminist Philosophy Quarterly 4, (2).
What is the relation between knowledge and orientation? How does being disoriented lead one to new knowledge or/and to being humbled (tenderized) about not knowing? How can not knowing aid in liberatory struggles, in alleviating oppression or even in being in community with like-minded people in an ethical manner? These are some of the questions that Ami Harbin’s work “Disorientation and Moral Life” brought up for me and which I would like to explore below, using prison abolition as one brief example.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2017) Why prisons are not the new asylums. Punishment and Society 19 (3), pp. 272 - 289.
This paper offers an antidote to the axiom that jails and prisons are becoming " the new asylums " in the U.S. The claims that post deinstitutionalization people with psychiatric disabilities were 'abandoned to their fate' and re-incarcerated in jails and prisons via being homeless will be critically examined. While doing so I will also discuss the processes of disablement inherent in prisons and in being housing insecure.
Ben-Moshe, L. (October 2018) Weaponizing Disability. Periscope: Social Text Online (part of the forum “Jasbir Puar: From Terrorist Assemblages to The Right to Maim”).
In "The Right to Maim", Puar provides a scathing and politically essential critique of celebration of gay, trans (even as the new shiny disavowed gay), and disabled identities and rights under neoliberal progress narratives. She shows how such projects are part of specific biopolitical regulation regimes tied to settler-colonial nation-building goals. Can we account (analytically, theoretically, or ethically) for what is transpiring in this photo through current formulations of queer and disability studies? The pride framework (love yourself, flaunt it) within LGBT/queer and disability movements and studies is both powerful and a reversal of power differentials. But there is no denying that it is not a framework rooted in intersectionality (theoretically or embodied) as Puar suggests here. Who does not and, in fact, cannot participate in disability rights and pride? Who essentially “rains on” the pride parade?
Ben-Moshe, L. (2018) The State of (intersectional analysis of) State Violence. Women Studies Quarterly, 46(3), 306-311.
Review of Andrea J. Ritchie's Invisible No More: Police Violence against Black Women and Women of Color, Boston: Beacon Press, 2017 and Jasbir K. Puar's The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017.
“As I write this review in April 2018, the U.S. just dropped bombs over Syria, Israel used lethal force in countering protests in Gaza resulting in the death of thirty Palestinians and hundreds wounded, and a young black man was shot at by a white man in Michigan while knocking on the door asking for directions. This is just the last twenty-four hours. How do feminists of color understand these global and local forms of violence? Andrea J. Ritchie's Invisible No More and Jasbir K. Puar's The Right to Maim offer us nuanced analytical frames, correctives to organizing as usual while also critiquing lacunas in movements and fields of study that refuse to see state violence as emanating from multiple axes and forms of oppression.”
My review of “Searching for a Rose Garden: Challenging Psychiatry, Fostering Mad Studies” By Jasna Russo and Angela Sweeney, PCCS Books, 2016, in Mad in America.
Deinstitutionalization: A case study in carceral abolition. SCAPEGOAT: Architecture | Landscape | Political Economy. Vol 7 (Fall/Winter) 2014, 13-27
Ben-Moshe, L. (2013). Disabling Incarceration: Connecting Disability to Divergent Confinements in the USA. Critical Sociology 37 (7), 385-403.
This article suggests the merits of conceptualizing incarceration as including institutionalization in a wide variety of enclosed settings, including prisons, jails, institutions for the intellectually disabled, treatment centers, and psychiatric hospitals.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2011). The Contested meaning of “Community” in Discourses of Deinstitutionalization and Community Living in the Field of Developmental Disability. Research in Social Science and Disability Vol. 6, Special issue on Disability and Community, 241-264.
One of the first research projects I undertook was the genealogy of the ‘wheelchair access symbol’- where did it come from, what is its global functionality and its critiques.
In 2007 Justin Powell and I published our joint article about it: Sign of our times? Revisi(tin)g the International Symbol of Access. Disability & Society Vol. 22, Issue 5: 489- 506.
Ben-Moshe, L. (Spring 2006). Infusing Disability in the Curriculum: The Case of Saramago’s Blindness. Disability Studies Quarterly, 26 (2).
“Disability often has negative connotations when used metaphorically, while the lived experience of disability can be quite different. In order to demonstrate this contradiction, I discuss some pedagogical aspects of teaching the novel, Blindness, by Jose Saramago. First, I exhibit possible interpretations of the parable that are useful for teaching. Then, I demonstrate the ways blindness is constructed as Otherness and its possible implications for instruction. Finally, I offer several strategies by which Blindness, and other literary portrayals, can be used in the classroom in a critical manner, one that values human variation and diversity.”
Commentary on the article: Ware, Linda (2006) The Again Familiar Trope: A Response to Infusing Disability in the Curriculum: The Case of Saramago's Blindness, Disability Studies Quarterly, 26 (2).
Gallagher, Deborah J. (2006) On Using Blindness as Metaphor and Difficult Questions: A Response to Ben-Moshe, Disability Studies Quarterly, 26 (2).
Building Pedagogical Curb Cuts, 2005
This book is the result of a collaborative and interdisciplinary effort to examine how the university can better include the perspectives of scholars and students who have disabilities in the classroom. Through the combined efforts of the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee (BCCC) and the Graduate School, both of Syracuse University.
“This book reaches beyond the scope of strategies-focused compliance with the ADA, and through initially positioning chapters that disrupt able-ist curriculum and pedagogy, the editors emphasize socially responsible curriculum and universally accessible design… The overall effect is that the reader is not immediately focused on compliance with the bare-minimum of federal policy, and is instead treated, first, to the ideas of those who think beyond compliance."
In 2017, Tanja Aho, Leon Hilton and I edited a forum in American Quarterly on Mad Futures. It was based on a panel at ASA 2015 that explored the connections between Mad Studies and Affect theory.
“In light of affect theory's ongoing importance within the far-reaching theoretical challenges to models of liberal subjectivity, settler colonial sociality, and racial capitalist knowledge production that have defined American studies scholarship in recent years, this forum offers urgent engagements with (and at times critiques of) discrete traditions and genealogies of affect theory by insisting on the necessity of critical disability and mad studies perspectives to these debates.”
Our introduction Mad Futures: Affect/Theory/Violence is available here and excerpted here.
Interventions in Disability Studies Pedagogy: Disability Studies Quarterly 35 (2), 2015. Jointly co-edited by the Disability Studies Program @ University of Toledo: Liat Ben-Moshe, Ally Day, Jim Ferris and Kim Nielsen
Includes interventions such as "Developing and Reflecting on a Black Disability Studies Pedagogy" by the National Black Disability Coalition; Angela Carter writes about the debate around trigger warnings in the classroom and suggests that understanding trauma as a pedagogical issue is the work of feminist disability studies pedagogy. In "Audio Description as a Pedagogical Tool," Georgina Kleege and Scott Wallin showcase how utilizing audio description in the classroom can be more than translational but become transformative and Jay Dolmage discusses the merits of moving to a universal design approach to learning and teaching, not specifically for the DS classroom, but for any instance by which learning or teaching takes place.
“We constructed the table of contents and this introduction with what we believe are three core structures of DS pedagogy, which we encountered repeatedly in the work we received: innovation and expansion of DS; collaboration; and modeling accessibility.”
Sandy Magaña and I edited a special issue on Race, Gender and Disability in 2014 in the Journal of Women, Gender and Families of Color 2 (2).
“But even this desire to depathologize dis/ability from notions of deficiency, which is at the core of a critical disability studies stance, gets complicated when an intersectional analysis taking into account race, gender, sexuality, class, and other constructs is being introduced. It is important to highlight this tension between the desire to untangle disability from medicalization and diagnostic categories (and reclaiming it as an identity and culture) and the ability (and sometimes desire) even to become a subject under the medical gaze. For many people of color or those who have no access to quality medical care, not being diagnosed is due less to viewing disability as a source of pride or as a fluid state and more to disparities.”
As part of the development of a nascent field of disability studies in the Middle East, Sumi Colligan and I co-edited in 2007 a Special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly 27 (4) on The State of Disability in Israel/Palestine. In this first english language compilation on the topic, scholars wrote about such topics as representations and policies concerning mental illness in Palestine during British Mandate rule; the immigration and recruitment debates and policies concerning Mizrachi Jews in the years immediately following Israel's rise to statehood in the 1940s and 1950s; anthropological fieldwork with deaf Bedouin women in the Negev desert; disability activism in Israel from 1970s to 2006 and more.
O’Leary, M. and Ben-Moshe, L. (2019) Homage to Lucas: The politics of “treatment” and “choice” in neoliberal times. In Andrea Daley, Lucy Costa and Peter Beresford (eds.) Madness, Violence and Power, 115-135. University of Toronto Press.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2017) “The institution yet to come:” Analysing incarceration through a disability lens. In Davis, L. J. (ed.) The Disability Studies Reader, Fifth Edition. 119-132. Routledge.
(First published in the Fourth Edition, 2013)
AJ Withers and I edited a provocative round table on disability politics in the Routledge Handbook of Radical Politics edited by Ruth Kinna and Uri Gordon. Authors: Lydia X. Z. Brown, Loree Erickson, Rachel da Silveira Gorman, TL Lewis, Lateef McLeod and Mia Mingus. Citation: Withers, AJ and Ben-Moshe, L. (2019). Radical Disability Politics: A Roundtable, with Lydia X. Z. Brown, Loree Erickson, Rachel da Silva Gorman, Talila A. Lewis, Lateef McLeod and Mia Mingus.
In Kinna, R. and Gordon, U. (eds.) Routledge Handbook of Radical Politics, 178-193. Routledge
I had the honor to co-author a chapter with Jean Stewart, which updates the findings of an article that pioneered the intersection of prisons and disability 15 years ago. We wrote it in memory of the original paper’s other author, Marta Russell. Ben-Moshe, L. and Stewart, J. (2016) Disablement, Prison and Historical Segregation- 15 years later.
In Malhotra, R. (ed.) Disability Politics in a Global Economy: Essays in Honor of Marta Russell. 87-104. Routledge.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2016). Movements at war? Disability and anti-occupation activism in Israel. In Block, P., Kasnitz, D., Pollard, N. and Nishida, A. (eds.) Occupying Disability: Identity, Community and Justice. 47- 61. Springer Publishing.
“At the time of the first major (organized and prolonged) disability protest in Israel in 1999 and then in 2000-2001, there were already many anti-occupation and peace organizations at play in Israel/Palestine. While participating in this budding disability movement, I began reflecting on my experiences of simultaneously being an anti-occupation activist and disabled activist publicly fighting for the first time for disability rights. My intention in writing this chapter is to highlight the connections of disability activism to anti-war and anti-occupation activism, which seem to be at war with one another but in fact intersect in important ways.”
Ben-Moshe, L., Gossett, C., Mitchell, N. and E.A Stanley (2015) Critical Theory, Queer Resistance, and the Ends of Capture. In Adelsberg, G. and Guenther, L. (eds.) Death and Other Penalties: Philosophy in a Time of Mass Incarceration, 267-369. Fordham University Press.
Ben-Moshe, L. (2013) The tension between abolition and reform. In Nagel, M. and Nocella, A. J. II (eds.). The End of Prisons: Reflections from the Decarceration Movement. 83-92. Rodopi Press: Value Inquiry Book Series.
Ben-Moshe, L., Nocella, A. J. II and Withers, AJ (2013) Queer-Cripping Anarchism: Intersections and Reflections on Anarchism, Queer-ness, and Dis-Ability. In Darling, C. Rogue, J., Shannon, D. and Volcano, A. (eds.) Queering Anarchism, 207-220. AK Press.
“If disability studies and activism could offer a corrective to the anarchist practice of mutual reliance it will be to the concept of DIY. Through a queer-crip lens we should perhaps focus more on DIT- do it together. The focus on independence, we would argue, is an adoption of capitalist values. Capitalism asserts an ideology of independence and emphasizes relationships and interactions for which there are economic transactions. This ideology, however, is a lie as all of us are interdependent and rely on each other not only for our food, shelter and clothing, but also for our emotional and intellectual needs. Shifting focus from DIY to DIT reasserts our collectivity and interdependence and rejects the focus on rugged individualism, a value that negates many people’s needs for care.”
Ben-Moshe, L. and Colligan, S. (2010). Regimes of normalcy in the academy: The experiences of disabled faculty. In Nocella, A., Best, S. and McLaren, P. (eds.) Academic Repression: Reflections from the Academic Industrial Complex. 374- 385. AK Press.
Ben-Moshe, L., Hill, D., Nocella, A. J. II, and Templer, B. (2009). Dis-Abling Capitalism and an Anarchism of ‘Radical Equality’ in Resistance to Ideologies of Normalcy. In Amster, R., DeLeon, A., Fernandez, L., Nocella, A., Shannon, D. (eds.) Contemporary Anarchist Studies, 113- 122. Routledge Press.