Robert McRuer

George Washington University



In the essay Robert McRuer develops ideas published in his seminal book Crip Theory (2006). After exploring at length the queer etymology and history of the term crip, McRuer provides striking new examples of crip political, cultural, and aesthetic strategies, as well as evidence of the vitality of crip as a tool in academic research. In addition to affirming disabled people’s sexuality and crip culture, the essay also expand the notion of disability, invoking Alice Cafer, to include forms of embodiment or states of mind beyond the able-minded or able-bodied/disabled dichotomies. In contrast to the more assimilationist and reformist disability theory, crip rejects the medical paradigm that reduces disability to a pathology that needs to be diagnosed and treated, and that encourages individuals to exert themselves in order to overcome or compensate for their disability (in Eli Clare’s words – to become supercrips). Instead, crip seeks emancipatory potential in culturally creative and politically radical paradigms of disability.


Keywords: crip; cripple; etymology; definition; strategies; justice