Robert McRuer

Robert McRuer

Robert McRuer

Professor of English


Email: Robert McRuer
Office Phone: (202) 994-6180

Professor of English

Robert McRuer’s work focuses on queer and crip cultural studies and critical theory. His most recent book, Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance, was released in January 2018.  Crip Times considers locations of disability within contemporary political economies and the roles that disabled movements and representations play in countering hegemonic forms of globalization. His first book, The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities, centered on contemporary lgbt writers, particularly lgbt writers of color, and his second book, Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability, attended to cultural sites where critical queerness and disability contest heteronormativity and compulsory able-bodiedness.


Crip Times: Disability, Globalization, and Resistance. Crip: New Directions in Disability Studies Series. New York: New York University Press, 2018.

Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability. Cultural Front Series. New York: New York University Press, 2006. Finalist for a 2007 Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Studies. Winner of the 2007 Alan Bray Memorial Book Award (presented by the GL/Q Caucus of the Modern Language Association).

The Queer Renaissance: Contemporary American Literature and the Reinvention of Lesbian and Gay Identities. New York: New York University Press, 1997.


Edited Collections:

“Cripping Cinema and Media Studies.” Guest Editor. In Focus, Journal of Cinema and Media Studies. Volume 58, Number 4 (Summer 2019): 134-169.

Cripistemologies. Guest Editor with Merri Lisa Johnson. Special Double Issue (published as two consecutive issues) of Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies. Volume 8, Numbers 2-3. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2014.

Sex and Disability. Co-Editor with Anna Mollow. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012.

Desiring Disability: Queer Theory Meets Disability Studies. Guest Editor with Abby L. Wilkerson. Special Double Issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies. Volume 9, Numbers 1-2. Durham: Duke University Press, 2003. Winner of the 2003 Best Special Issue Award from the Council of Editors of Learned Journals (CELJ).


Articles in Refereed Journals:

“Introduction: Cripping Cinema and Media Studies.” Journal of Cinema and Media Studies 58.4 (Summer 2019): 134-139.

“Curb Cuts: Crip Displacements and El Edificio de Enfrente.” Special issue on Cripping Development. Ed. Kateřina Kolářová and M. Katharina Wiedlack. Somatechnics 6.2 (2016): 198-215.

“Fattening Austerity.” Written with Anna Mollow. Special issue on Fat Agency. Ed. Nina Mackert and Jürgen Martschukat. Body Politics: Zeitschrift fűr Körpergeschichte 5 (2015): 25-49.

“Introduction: Cripistemologies and the Masturbating Girl.” Written with Merri Lisa Johnson. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 8.3 (2014): 251-261.

“Cripistemologies: Introduction.” Written with Merri Lisa Johnson. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 8.2 (2014): 127-147.

“Cripping Queer Politics, or the Dangers of Neoliberalism.” Special Issue on A New Queer Agenda. Ed. Joseph N. DeFilippis, Lisa Duggan, Kenyon Farrow, and Richard Kim. The Scholar and Feminist Online 10.1-2 (Spring 2012). <>.

“Afterword: Bioethics, Sexuality, and Gender Identity.” Special Issue on Bioethics, Sexuality, and Gender Identity. Ed. Lance Wahlert and Autumn Fiester. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Forum for Ethical and Legal Debate 9.3 (2012): 357-358.

“Afterword: The End of Contested Corporealities.” Special Issue on Contested Corporealities. Ed. Sarah Brophy and Janice Hladki. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 34.3-4 (2012): 208-211. Reprinted in Pedagogy, Image Practices, and Contested Corporealities. Ed. Sarah Brophy and Janice Hladki. New York: Routledge, 2015. 134-137.

“Disabling Sex: Notes for a Crip Theory of Sexuality.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 17.1 (2010): 107-117.

“Comment from the Field: Reflections on Disability in Haiti.” Special Issue on Disabling Postcolonialism. Ed. Stuart Murray and Clare Barker. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 4.3 (2010): 327-332.

“Disability Nationalism in Crip Times.” Special Issue on Ablenationalism and the Geopolitics of Disability. Ed. Sharon L. Snyder and David T. Mitchell. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 4.2 (2010): 163-178.

“Taking it to the Bank: Independence and Inclusion on the World Market.” Special Issue on Disability and the Dialectic of Dependency. Ed. Michael Davidson and David Bolt. Journal of Literary Disability 1.2 (2007): 5-14.

“We Were Never Identified: Feminism, Queer Theory, and a Disabled World.” Special Issue on Disability and History. Ed. David Serlin. Radical History Review 94 (2006): 148-154. Reprinted in Rethinking Normalcy: A Disability Studies Reader. Ed. Tanya Titchkosky and Rod Michalko. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press, 2009. 312-317.

“Crip Eye for the Normate Guy: Queer Theory and the Disciplining of Disability Studies.” Special Cluster on “Disability Studies and the University.” PMLA: Publications of the Modern Language Association of America 120.2 (2005): 586-592.

“Disability and the NAMES Project.” The Public Historian 27.2 (2005): 53-61.

“Composing Bodies; or, De-Composition: Queer Theory, Disability Studies, and Alternative Corporealities.” Special Cluster on “Queer Composition(s): Queer Theory in the Writing Classroom.” Ed. Jonathan Alexander and Michelle Gibson. JAC: A Quarterly Journal for the Interdisciplinary Study of Rhetoric, Culture, Literacy, and Politics 24.1 (2004): 47-78. Selections reprinted in Disability and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson and Brenda Jo Brueggemann. Boston: Bedford, 2008. 243-250.

“As Good As It Gets: Queer Theory and Critical Disability.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 9.1-2 (2003): 79-105.

“Introduction: Desiring Disability.” Written with Abby L. Wilkerson. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 9.1-2 (2003): 1-23.

“Critical Investments: AIDS, Christopher Reeve, and Queer/Disability Studies.” Journal of Medical Humanities 23.3-4 (2002): 221-237. Reprinted in Thinking the Limits of the Body. Ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen and Gail Weiss. Albany: SUNY Press, 2003. 145-163.

“Reading and Writing ‘Immunity’: Children and the Anti-Body.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 23.3 (1998): 134-142. Reprinted in Over the Rainbow: Queer Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Ed. Kenneth Kidd and Michelle Ann Abate. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011. 183-200.

“Boys’ Own Stories and New Spellings of My Name: Coming Out and Other Myths of Queer Positionality.” Genders 20: Eroticism and Containment—Notes from the Flood Plain. Ed. Carol Siegel and Ann Kibbey. New York and London: New York University Press, 1994. 260-84. Reprinted in Queer Cultures. Ed. Deborah Carlin and Jennifer DiGrazia. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall, 2004. 526-559.


Articles in Anthologies:

“The World-Making Potential of Contemporary Crip/Queer Cultural Production.” The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability. Ed. Stuart Murray and Clare Barker. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. 139-154.

“Any Day Now: Queerness, Disability, and the Trouble with Homonormativity.” Disability Media Studies. Ed. Elizabeth Ellcessor and Bill Kirkpatrick. New York: New York University Press, 2017. 272-291.

“No Future for Crips: Disorderly Conduct in the New World Order; or, Disability Studies on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.” Culture-Theory-Disability: Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Ed. Anne Waldschmidt, Hanjo Berressem, and Moritz Ingwersen. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript-Verlag, 2017. 63-77.

“Epilogue: #YoSoy.” Libre Acceso: Latin American Literature and Film through Disability Studies. Ed. Susan Antebi and Beth E. Jörgensen. Albany: SUNY Press, 2016. 259-264.

“Epilogue: Disability, Inc.” Disability Incarcerated: Imprisonment and Disability in the United States and Canada. Ed. Liat Ben-Moshe, Chris Chapman, and Allison C. Carey. Foreword by Angela Y. Davis. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2014. 273-279.

“Pink.” Prismatic Ecology: Ecotheory Beyond Green. Ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014. 63-82.

“Leading with Your Head: On the Borders of Disability, Sexuality, and the Nation.” Written with Nicole Markotič. Sex and Disability. Ed. Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. 165-182.

“Introduction: Sex and Disability.” Written with Anna Mollow. Sex and Disability. Ed. Robert McRuer and Anna Mollow. Durham: Duke University Press, 2012. 1-34.

“Enfreakment; or, Aliens of Extraordinary Disability.” Megarhetorics of Globalized Development. Ed. Rebecca Dingo and J. Blake Scott. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012. 233-252.

“Submissive and Non-Compliant: The Shock of Gary Fisher.” Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions. Ed. Christopher M. Bell. Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2011. 95-111.

“Keine Zukunft für Krüppel oder Disability Studies am Rande des Nervenzusammenbruchs.” Körperregime und Geschlect. Ed. Maria Katharina Wiedlack and Katrin Lasthofer. Innsbruck: StudienVerlag, 2011. 137-153. Translated by Maria Katharina Wiedlack (this essay was only published in English, in revised form, in 2017).

“Fuck the Disabled: The Prequel.” Shakesqueer: A Queer Companion to the Complete Works of Shakespeare. Ed. Madhavi Menon. Durham: Duke University Press, 2011. 294-301.

“Neoliberal Risks: Million Dollar Baby, Murderball, and Anti-National Sexual Positions.” The Problem Body: Projecting Disability on Film. Ed. Sally Chivers and Nicole Markotič. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010. 159-177.

“Afterword: The Future of Critical Intersex.” Critical Intersex. Ed. Morgan Homes. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, 2009. 245-250.

“Shameful Sites: Locating Queerness and Disability.” Gay Shame. Ed. David M. Halperin and Valerie Traub. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009. 179-187.

“Queer America.” The Cambridge Companion to Modern American Culture. Ed. Christopher Bigsby. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. 215-234.

“Compulsory Able-Bodiedness and Queer/Disabled Existence.” Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. Ed. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and Sharon L. Snyder. New York: MLA Publications, 2002. 88-99. This article has been widely reprinted, including in The Disability Studies Reader, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th editions (Routledge, 2006, 2010, 2013, and 2016); The Routledge Queer Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012); and Critical Theory: A Reader for Literary and Cultural Studies (Oxford UP, 2012).

“Gay Gatherings: Reimagining the Counterculture.” Imagine Nation: The American Counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s. Ed. Peter Braunstein and Michael William Doyle. New York: Routledge, 2002. 215-240.

“Composing Student Activists, Relocating Student Writing.” Written with Angela Hewett. Public Works: Student Writing as Public Text. Ed. Emily J. Isaacs and Phoebe Jackson. Portsmouth, N.H.: Boynton and Cook, 2001. 97-106.

“A Visitation of Difference: Randall Kenan and Black Queer Theory.” Critical Essays: Gay and Lesbian Writers of Color. Ed. Emmanuel Nelson. New York: The Haworth Press, 1993. 221-32. Revised and reprinted as “Queer Locations, Queer Transformations: Randall Kenan’s A  Visitation of Spirits” in South to a New Place: Region, Literature, Culture. Ed. Suzanne W. Jones and Sharon Monteith. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2002. 184-195.



“Proliferating Cripistemologies: A Virtual Roundtable” (14 participants, edited by Robert McRuer and Merri Lisa Johnson). Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 8.2 (2014): 149-169.

“Queer Studies and the Crises of Capitalism.” A GLQ Queer Studies Roundtable (12 participants). GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 18.1 (2012). 127-147.



“Lo Queer y lo Crip, como formas de re-apropiación de la dignidad disidente. Una conversación con Robert McRuer.” Composed with Melania Moscoso Pérez and Soledad Arnau Ripollés. Dilemata: Revista Internacional de Éticas Aplicadas 20 (2016): 137-144 (this interview was conducted in Spanish and has not been published in English).

“Crip/Queer Performance: A Dialogue with Margrit Shildrick and Robert McRuer.” Composed with Alyson Campbell and Stephen Farrier. Queer Dramaturgies: International Perspectives on Where Performance Leads Queer. Ed. Alyson Campbell and Stephen Farrier. London: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2016. 263-278.

“Crip Excess, Art and Politics: A Conversation with Robert McRuer.” Composed with Danielle Peers and Melisa Brittain. Special Issue on Contested Corporealities. Ed. Sarah Brophy and Janice Hladki. Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies 34.3-4 (2012): 148-155. Reprinted in Pedagogy, Image Practices, and Contested Corporealities. Ed. Sarah Brophy and Janice Hladki. New York: Routledge, 2015. 74-81.

“Against Health: Von Krüppeln, Kranken, und den Kaputten im Kapitalismus. Ein interview von Tim Stüttgen mit Crip-Theotiker Robert McRuer.” HATE: Magazin für Relevanz und Stil 9 (2012): 115-127. Translated by Tim Stüttgen (this interview has not been published in English).


Popular Press:

“American Pie Graph.” McSweeney’s 57. Twenty-first Anniversary Edition. 10 October 2019 (this special section featured writers invited to graphically represent their perspective on the United States using a pie graph).

The New Normal: Normal and Normaller.” Avidly. 18 September 2012. 

“A ‘Last Stand’ Against Cure.” Ragged Edge Magazine Online. 2 June 2006. 

“What Is Crip Theory?” Arena Magazine (Sweden). Translated by Tommy Bengtsson. 30 November 2005. Reprinted in Fett Magazine (Norway), special issue on “Freakfeminisme [Freak Feminism].” Translated by Elisabeth Fossum. February 2007 (this piece has not been published in English).

‘Marry’ Me?Alternatives to Marriage Project. Winter 2004. 

“Wish You Were Here; or, An Accessible World Is Possible.” Znet Online 12 July 2003. 


Reference Articles:

“Compulsory Able-Bodiedness.” 50 Concepts for a Critical Phenomenology. Ed. Gail Weiss, Ann Murphy, and Gayle Salamon. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 2019. 61-67.

“Neoliberalism.” Disability in American Life: An Encyclopedia of Concepts, Policies, and Controversies. Ed. Tamar Heller, Sarah Parker Harris, Carol Gill, and Robert Gould. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2019. 493-495.

“Crip.” In Keywords for Radicals: The Contested Vocabulary of Late Capitalist Struggle. Ed. Kelly Fritsch, Clare O’Connor, and AK Thompson. Chico, CA: AK Press, 2016. 199-125. Reprinted in Kulturo, special issue on “Patologier [Pathology]” 40 (2015). Translated into Danish by Kulturo staff. 34-43. Reprinted in InterAlia: A Journal of Queer Studies, special issue on “Ugly Bodies: Queer Perspectives on Illness, Disability, and Aging” 11 (2016). Ed. Tomasz Sikora and Dominika Ferens. Translated into Polish by Dominika Ferens.

<>. Reprinted in Barbarismos queer y otras esdrújulas. Ed. R. Lucas Platero, María Rosón, and Esther Ortega. Barcelona: Edicions Bellaterra, 2017. 101-106. Translated into Spanish by the author.

“Sexuality.” In Keywords in Disability Studies. Ed. Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin. New York: New York University Press, 2015. 167-170.

“Normal.” In Keywords for American Cultural Studies. 2nd ed. Ed. Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler. New York: New York University Press, 2014. 184-187.

“Queer/Disability Studies.” In Encyclopedia of Disability. Ed. Gary L. Albrecht. Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 2006. 1327-1330.

“Randall Kenan.” In Contemporary Gay American Novelists: A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Emmanuel Nelson. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1993. 232‑36.



Review of Bruce Robbins’s The Beneficiary. “Promiscuous Relations.” Postmodern Culture 29.3 (2019). 

Review of Don Kulick and Jens Rydström’s Loneliness and Its Opposite: Sex, Disability, and the Ethics of Engagement. Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 12.3 (2018): 282-286.

Review of Alison Kafer’s Feminist, Queer, Crip. “The Then and There of Crip Futurity.” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 20.4 (2014): 532-534.Review of Margrit Shildrick’s Dangerous Discourses of Disability, Sexuality and Subjectivity. Journal of Literary and Cultural  Disability Studies 8.2 (2014): 235-239.

Review of Susannah B. Mintz’s Unruly Bodies: Life Writing by Women with Disabilities, Christopher Krentz’s Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature, and H-Dirksen L. Bauman, Jennifer L. Nelson, and Heidi M. Rose’s Signing the Body Poetic: Essays on American Sign Language Literature. American Literature 80.3 (2008): 624-626.

Review of Carrie Sandahl and Philip Auslander’s Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance. TDR: The Drama Review 52.3 (2008): 202-205.

Review of Sharon Patrick Holland’s Raising the Dead: Readings of Death and (Black) Subjectivity. MFS: Modern Fiction Studies 49.2 (2003): 357-358.

Review of William B. Turner’s A Genealogy of Queer Theory. National Women’s Studies Association Journal 14.2 (2002): 227-229.

Review of Eli Clare’s Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation. Disability and Society 17.3 (2002): 250-252.

Review of AnaLouise Keating’s Women Reading Women Writing: Self-Invention in Paula Gunn Allen, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Audre Lorde. Journal of Homosexuality 37.2 (1999): 109-113.


Forthcoming Publications:

A Cultural History of Disability. General Editor with David Bolt. Six edited volumes covering periods from Antiquity to the Twentieth Century. Forthcoming, Bloomsbury Press (2020).

“Disability Studies.” The Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory. Ed. John Frow, Mark Byron, Pelagia Goulimari, Sean Pryor, and Julie Rak. Forthcoming, Oxford University Press (2021).

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1995.