“Body Undone” focuses on Christina Crosby’s forthcoming memoir of living with disability, A Body, Undone: Living on After Great Pain. In 2003 Professor Crosby broke her neck in a bicycle accident. She writes, “Spinal cord injury has cast me into a surreal neurological wasteland that I traverse day and night. This account is an effort to describe the terrain. I want you to know, and I, myself, want better to understand, a daily venture of living that requires considerable fortitude on my part and a great dependency on others, without whose help my life would be quite literally unlivable.” She grapples directly with the physical deficits of quadriplegia suddenly encountered at age 50 and refuses to look away from the rawness of grief over the loss of her active, athletic life. The book is an exploration of embodiment that reaches back to the author’s childhood as a tomboy in small-town in Pennsylvania, her brother’s life with (and death from) multiple sclerosis, and the feminist and gay liberation movements of the 1970s that were for her thrilling life-affirmations. In the end, queer commitments create life-sustaining possibility, and open to an unknown future, lived in an undone body.
The evening begins with a reading by the author, followed by a discussion with disability studies scholars Gayle Salamon and Leigh Gilmore, writers and memoirists Lisa Cohen, Maggie Nelson and Gayle Pemberton, and queer theorist Laura Grappo. The discussion will consider the significance of Crosby’s narrative and its resistance to the terms of either a victim narrative or a narrative of triumph. Rather, Crosby lives on in a body undone, a life unfinished.
The event is free and open to the public. Venue is wheelchair accessible, sign language interpretation will be provided. Please note that seating for this event is limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis–please plan to arrive early!