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Open Access Publications from the University of California

“From the Periphery Towards the Center”1: Locating An Alternative Genealogy for Disability Studies in Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals


As a white feminist, I come to Audre Lorde’s work with humility and trepidation, aware of my own privileged position within the field of gender studies and cautious of the risks of appropriation. I discovered her memoirs and poetry while coming out as a teenager, and have continually returned to her work for inspiration and guidance—as a feminist queer-identified woman with a learning disability survivor of an invasive surgery daughter of a disabled parent. Lorde’s writings have not only provided a resource for my own healing and resistance, but have also inspired a lifelong commitment to antiracist activism and education, which informs my current academic work in disability studies.

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