Productive Chaos: Disability, Advising, and the Writing Process
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Because many faculty and graduate students pursue disability studies projects in an institutional vacuum (often being the only disability studies person in a department or institution), it’s exciting when faculty and graduate students come together to work on disability studies projects. Such has been the experience of the two authors of this piece: a graduate student who recently completed her Master’s thesis on hyperactive/ADHD rhetorics (Griffin) and her thesis advisor, whose research area is disability studies, rhetoric, and writing (Amy). As we’ve worked together, we’ve excitedly shared research that enriches both our writing projects, and we’ve exchanged teaching ideas to make our classrooms more inclusive. We’ve had the chance to work interdependently, including on this piece, where one of us got the project going and the other supplied the creative spontaneity we needed to finish it. Further, in our case, we’ve had the chance to openly identify as disabled and use crip humor to navigate our work together. Alongside these benefits, there are what we sincerely and euphemistically call generative tensions, which occur when access needs and desires conflict, when power dynamics re-assert themselves, and when attempts at change and adaptation fail.