Notes on:  Boda, P., , Nusbaum, E, & Kulkami S. (2022). From 'what is' toward 'what if' through intersectionality: problematising ableist erasures and coloniality in racially just research. International Journal of Research and Method in Education. 45 (4): 356--69. doi 10.1080.17437277X.2022.2054981

[At first glance, this seemed to confirm all  that Pluckrose and Lindsay (2021)said about the genre of disability criticism. Even after having cited Crenshaw pointing out that intersectionality is not a matter of overlapping identity, but a matter of social positions that coincide to deliver a double or treble disadvantage, they still go ahead to attempt to link the concepts of disability to the concept of Black identity, in the sense that both are the result of colonialism and Whiteness in the cultural sense, both are categories of Otherness.

The analysis begins reasonably enough by noticing that in lots of the analyses of discrimination and deprivation, disabled people are omitted. This is serious enough to warrant a charge of 'erasure' and its concomitant — that there is some norm of able-bodiedness  even when discussing POC. But to follow the entirely sceptical account of Pluckrose and Lindsay (2021), the analysis then becomes diverted into a restatement of the tenets of critical race theory:  P and L actually render these as the tenets of post-modernist  Social Justice Theory, which CRT evolved into.

Disability is treated entirely as a social construct. It is perfectly true that disabled people are subject to social judgements some of them prejudiced and discriminatory, but another thing to claim that disability is exclusively a social, or specifically, a political matter, to the extent that racial distinctions are. It is also obvious that scientific and medical practices which have been used to define and treat disabled people are suffused with social and political judgements about normal bodies, and, for that matter, who deserves to be treated and who does not. That does not mean however that  this has arisen from 'colonialism', that there is no point in turning to scientific and medical practices to treat physical or mental disability, especially if the only alternative is a reliance on community, indigenous or spiritual forms of treatment. Those are also suffused with social and political judgements about normal bodies and who deserves to be treated and who does not, although they are probably far less clear. There are also far less likely to become corrigible, and to be characterised instead by a series of 'ad hoc' hypotheses to explain failure in the form of additional explanations that may not even be consistent

 Back to the article itself... I have no problem with this first bit]

Stanley (2012) contends that race/racism is not a monolithic social construct applied homogenously within and among specific races/ethnicities. He argues that to embody an antiracist methodological approach to research, researchers must think about the conditions that have constructed racist exclusions and the material realities that subjects some to vulnerabilities in greater preponderance and impact than others. In turn, he unpacked the condition of racism by describing it as a process leading to purposefully designed policies in three primary steps:

(1) 'real or imagined human difference is selected to mark one group in relation to another' to signify a racialised and of people (s)
(2) these racialisations, marked distinctively by the contexts in which they emerge, lead to exclusion among 'symbolic, sociocultural, and institutional circumstances,; and
(3) when excluded in representational, structural and political ways (i.e. Crenshaw 1993), these identities are subject to very real negative consequences (Stanley 2012, pages 320 – 321)

They go on to also cite Crenshaw (2016) that intersectionality is '"less about overlapping identities, and not primarily about identity"' but is instead about the '"structures that make some identities the consequence of and vehicle for vulnerability"'. Both researchers stress context that leads to exclusion.

But then they take this to mean the coloniality of power, drawing upon Mignolo, but this is surely a very general definition of power,. Colonial power is indeed linked to 'Eurocentric methodologies and epistemologies' as a 'normative centre'. [It is this connection between the exercise of power and a specifically colonial exercise of power that must surely be contentious. Is all power colonial power? If not the central link between race and disability falls. The same goes for the argument below]

Mono-categorial research is colonial in the context of racism and Whiteness. The disabled are 'multiply marginalised'  (359). Disbaility has been erased-- so it must be as a result of colonialism too: 'much of the study of ableism has still operated from a colonial lens of behaviourist assimilation' (359). This follows a discussion of TribalCrit and the 'liminality of indigenous voices among racially just methodologies and epistemologies' (359) and educational research, and that helps them connect [very gernerally]  with special education research -- disability has also been erased even from 'systemic racism enquiries' although it can 'impact researchers'understandings of racial/ethnic oppression' (360) [That is what needs to be demonstrated, surely]

Then it gets into general rhetoric about adopting 'many-centred' activism, new patterns of knowing, an advocacy of '"past-present-futures that we may not be able to imagine but hope for"' (citing Pillow) (360).Disability has been 'consistently overlooked' but it is 'crucial for understanding injustice as a form of difference subject to similar social positioning and systemic oppression as race' [but not applying only to Black people?].

[Then a bit on Mignolo]. Scheurich is also mentioned. The key again is the colonialist notion of power, via an episteme '"both science and intellectual configurations about systemic knowledge"', while '"doxa is a kind of knowledge that the very conceptualisation of episteme needs as its exterior"' [ Mudimbe apparently, cited by Mignolo]. It is the connection between the two that seems important and shows how we can delink from the colonialist year of power through 'Border gnoseology' [must look this up — Mignolo 2012]  which is a critical reflection on knowledge production from the interior borders, bringing apparent opposites into relation, implying a disobedience to coloniality.

Apparently they're going to use this sledgehammer to challenge whiteness in their field in order to avoid narratives of self and other using monocategories, citing Collins, and adopting an intersectional approach instead. Race is not a monolith, not a binary. It is when embedded in academic hegemony, however — 'single axis enquiries for ease of clarity or in favouritism [sic] to formalised publish or perish doctrine' (361). [Not really racism at all then but academic bureaucracy is their enemy?]. Mignolo says this values Western colonial subordination and its divide and conquer strategies, but epistemic disobedience means we must problematise all these mono categorical enquiries. In particular we should crosspollinate 'race and other markers of difference' (362) and in particular make disability visible

Instead, disability and educational research has proceeded separately from studies of race. There have been parallels. The colonial mentality has employed epistemic power to silence 'multiple marginality'. In the past, disabled individuals have been managed using behaviourist and interventionist logics attempting to erase racialised disability [examples?]. The focus has been on individuals with disabilities rather than on disability itself 'as a frame of identity, expertise and knowledge' which can produce deficits. Scholars and experts have been privileged.

'Whiteness has been interwoven with coloniality and disability' (363) [This might be so -- the White ideal as the able-bodied male etc, but prejudice against disability is still not determined by Whiteness alone] and this has led to 'very real violent material realities based on exclusion of disability… Disciplinary centres and deficit labelling'.

There has been 'the ontological erasure of disability', but stressing this risks isolating disability away from race and the general listing of categories of difference against each other. Instead, methods that are 'disability just' need to exist in tandem and in intersecting ways [weasel] with racially just and anticolonial epistemologies, using an intersectional approach. Disability studies could even serve as a platform to think through the whole program of oppression and discrimination centred on the body [not a bad idea] , and to focus away from a centred epistemology to horizons — what Pillow calls 'epistemic witnessing'(364), alternative possibilities, that which was previously inconceivable and invisible. It is from this perspective that we might understand exclusionary practices in school, for example.

There is such a thing as Disability Critical Race theory or DisCrit which has produced diverse methodological and epistemological research to show the ways in which ableism and racism are co-constructed. [Ref to Annamara et al]  This has largely focused on learning disabilities and emotional disabilities so far, but the approach looks more suitable for generalisation.

Overall we need far more emancipatory revisions, transformative enquiries and moral authorities to resist oppression [citing Denzin] to inform our future research… Lived realities even if less valuable in academic terms, contexts rather than mono categorical enquiry, disobedience. Naming sites of oppression and multiple marginalisation. We should research for example how teachers enact justice how they are themselves multiply marginalised, using counter stories, how cultures of exclusion are generated among teachers unions and community members with and without disabilities, how this is done 'by design through hegemony' (365) especially with indigenous populations. This needs to be a future way to disrupt whiteness, to hold space for these enquiries.

The piece ends with a series of what ifs [play John Lennon's Imagine as you read them]: value difference, support self-determination, pursue justice, follow dreams, don't be afraid of publishing or perishing, fulfil bodies and minds and spirits.