In Sick Theories, we take up this word “sick” and the ways in which it is different from and/or similar to “ill” or “disabled.” As a word, illness operates to make the realities of sickness more palatable for the neoliberal, capitalist world that depends upon the oppression of the sick body and labels it as unproductive. Sickness demarcates the messiness, ugliness, and inexplicable nature of disease, bringing us back to the original meaning of disease as dis-ease. What does it mean to be sick, as opposed to being ill? What directions might critical disability studies, mad studies, sexual diversity studies, and queer theory take us as we reconsider what it means to be sick? With Sick Theories, we bring together scholars, writers, artists, activists, and educators to untangle the relationships between sickness and sexuality. In this transdisciplinary meeting of folks from varied backgrounds, we emphasize the importance of having people who identify as sick, mad, disabled be the ones leading these conversations.
Sick Theories wishes to acknowledge our gratitude to the original keepers of the land that this conference is taking place on: the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and the Mississaugas of the Credit River. Tkaronto resides on the traditional land of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement reached between the Anishinaabe, Mississaugas, and Haudenosaunee that bound them to share the territory and protect the land. We want to recognize the ways in which the ongoing colonization of this land violates this agreement, and that it is our job, as guests on this land, to continually right the wrongs of settler colonialism.
Sick Theories is grateful to our funders for this project: