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The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability

Jasbir K. Puar
Rutgers University

Wednesday, November 8
4:10 pm
Lane Hall, Room 2239

Jasbir K. Puar is Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University and the author of The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (November 2017, Duke University Press), and Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times (2007, Duke University Press).

In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations.

Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability’s interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.

Presented by IRWG’s Colonialism, Race, Sexualities Initiative Event (CRSI).

Cosponsors: Women’s Studies, Department of English, Arab and Muslim American Studies, Doing Queer Studies Now, Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies, American Culture, and the UM Initiative on Disability Studies.

Find out more here.