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Kateřina Kolářová received her PhD in Anglo-American Literary Studies and an MA in History and English and American Studies and History from Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague.
My work is grounded in feminist cultural studies, and is located at the intersections of sexuality and gender, critical disability and race/ethnic studies. Building off of the post-colonial and indigenous critiques of conceptual colonialism of ‘assuming the other’, my research at the moment focuses around following questions: (1) Cultural formations of zones of abandonment and intersectional analyses; (2) Transnational feminisms and transnational pedagogies; (3) Global economies of disability and bio-social precarity.
Positioning myself as a feminist, queer and crip scholar, I also believe strongly in the necessity to bridge university spaces with other spheres of critical work towards social justice and divesting racialised privilege. As part of this commitment, I have been since 2008 co-organising a transnational queer film class in collaboration with Prof. Robert McRuer (George Washington University) and the queer film festival Mezipatra. I served as co-curator for the disability arts and culture exhibition Disabled by Normality hosted by Gallery for Contemporary Art DOX (Prague, May 23—September 16, 2013), and collaborated on an international art project collaborations for instance AIDS/HIV as (another) Form of Governmentality [AIDS/HIV als (andere) Form der Guvernamentalität, curated by Miltiadis Gerothanassis and Ivan Jurica, IG-Bildenkunst, Vienna, December 11 - February 22, 2013) and with Display – Association for research and collective practice on Multilogues on the Now: On Health (curated by Zuzana Jakalová in 2017) and Multilogues on the Now: On Health, work and emotions (curated by Zuzana Jakalová and Hana Janečková in 2018).
Presently, I am finishing two book-length projects:
Post-socialist Rehabilitations: Disability, Race, Gender and Sexuality and the Limits of National Belonging
The book interrogates affective economies of trans/national belonging and abandonment that reformulated the post-socialist citizenship vis-à-vis discourses of disability, race, gender and sexuality. Building off of a varied archive comprising cultural representations, popular media, public discourses as well as counter- discourses of feminist, queer, disabled, racialised communities, the book asks: how were the processes of social change, the ‘democratisation’ of society (subsequent to the regime change in 1989) predicated upon creating zones of abandonment and social death sanctioned both by state and liberal publics? The book politicizes the layered temporalities and relations among gender, sex, race, disability and nationality through the concept of capitalist rehabilitation discussing the integration of the (Czech) post-socialist national subject into global capitalism.
Biological Citizenship and Chronic Embodiments, the politics of HIV and AIDS in the Postsocialist Czech Republic
This project builds off of my explorations of neoliberal governance of (non-normative/disabled/crip) sexualities through examining HIV and AIDS as sites of individual and collective identity formation, where ‘imagined communities’ become realised as ‘imagined (biological, viral and sexual/ised) vulnerabilities’. I am also exploring the methodological and political valences crip theory could draw from the multilayered notion of insignificance (HIV and AIDS have never achieved a level of an epidemic in the Czech republic) and relative periphery (to the global HIV/AIDS crisis) to push the knowledge formations around HIV and AIDS. In particular, I am interested in the category of chronicity, its uses in the (local and transnational) biomedical knowledge and strategies crafted by HIV positive people (dis)identifying with/from the hegemonic knowledges of HIV/AIDS in articulations of ‘positive identity’. To contextualise discourses of chronicity against the backdrop of transnational/global political economy of health with its racialised and gendered implications, I also explore the ways in which narratives of ‘chronic positive life’, or ‘pozitude’ relate to white supremacy and create zones of exclusion.
‘Crip Notes on the Idea of Development’, co-authored with Katharina Wiedlack, Somatechnics 6.2. (2016): 125-141.
[currently listed as one of the ‘most read’ on the Somatechnics website, http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/abs/10.3366/soma.2016.0187]
The essay presents the global/transnational disability studies critiques of the concept of development. It offers a crip approach to urgent issues in development studies including, but not limited to, race, class, labour, capitalism, migration, gentrification, neo-liberalism and globality. It considers how development projects impact upon the bodies, lives, communities and cultures of those implicated by ideas, policies and practices of development. Questions about time, geo-politics and subjectivity are central to this discussion of crip theory of develipment.
“Death by Choice, Life by Privilege: Biopolitical Circuits of Vitality and Debility in the Times of Empire.” Foucault and Government of Disability. Ed. Shelley Tremain. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (second and enlarged edition), 2015. 396-424
The text discusses the contemporary proliferation of cultural narratives of incapacitation (debility, dementia) as a sign of an acute cultural anxiety provoked by biological precarity. The text revisits the debates around end-of-life decision-making and ‘assisted dying’ (Sterbehilfe) that circulate together with images of biological precarity. The text then in turn contextualizes these debates within the broader geo-political context of Empire (Hardt and Negri 2000) to reveal how discourses of disability, incapacity, dementia motivate cultural narratives that offer affective release through fantasies of solutions and resolutions of these biological failings of the Global North. This chapter constitutes an inquiry into the ways in which biological precarity—as currently construed in relation to disability and debility in the global North— motivates and revitalizes ideologies of Empire and whiteness.
“Grandpa lives in paradise now’: Biological Precarity and Global Economy of Debility”, Feminist Review, Special issue on Debility and Frailty. Guest Editors: Sadie Wearing, Yasmin Gunaratnam and Irene Gedalof, 111.3. (2015): 75-87
Building off of my earlier research into end-of-life decision-making and biological precarity, this paper theorizes its relationships to discourses and practices of transnational economy of care. Discussing the European (in particular German) public discourse on dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the text reads media representations of dementia against those of Baan Kamlangchay, Thailand, a care home providing care for older people with dementia from the global North. Arguing that Baan Kamlangchay represents one concrete example of emerging circuits of transnational care/reproductive labour, the text discusses the power dynamics in the relationships between the racialised and gendered care workers and (white) disabled residents. It further situates the care practices against larger historical context of transnational knowledges of disability and global economy, and theorises the interrelations between disability and wider global bio-political inequalities.
“The Inarticulate Post-Socialist Crip. On the Cruel Optimism of Neoliberal Transformations in the Czech Republic” Cripistemologies. Special Issue of The Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS), Guest Editors: Merri Lisa Johnson and Robert McRuer. 8.3(2014):263-280;
The essay was chosen for reprint in Culture - Theory - Disability: Encounters Between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies (Disability Studies: Body - Power - Difference), Moritz Ingwersen, Anne Waldschmidt, Eds. Transcript Verlag, 2017; and is being translated into German to appear in Maria Mesner, Sushila Mesquita (eds.) Eine emotionale Geschichte: Geschlecht im Zentrum der Politik der Affekte, (Zaglossus Verlag, Wien 2017).
The article discusses the ways in which disability semantics and ideological structures of compulsory health and able-bodiedness served to fuel the optimism of the first post-revolutionary years in post-socialist Czechoslovakia. It offers conceptualisations of ‘capitalist rehabilitation’—a structure of feeling, a moral discourse framing the process of ‘rehabilitation’ of a formerly socialist state and allowed its ideological ‘enfoldings’ back to the European future. It reveals the ways in which the possibility of critical disability (crip) epistemologies were foreclosed by formations of affective citizenship. To speak to this inaccessibility of critical disability epistemologies, I coin the term ‘inarticulate crip’.
Czech translation (shortened and edited) available here: http://artalk.cz/2018/06/25/neartikulovatelne-postsocialisticke-crip-vize/
Alterity—Disability—Critique: The Disability Theory Reader [Jinakost - postižení - kritika: společenské konstrukty nezpůsobilosti a hendikepu: Antologie textů z oboru disability studies], Praha: Sociological Publishing (SLON), 2013. 581 pgs.
[reviews in Gender and Research; Lidové noviny; Týdeník A2 and on several national radio shows]
This anthology brings together canonical essays that articulate the theoretical, conceptual and methodological positions of disability studies. As the first ever collection of disability theory in Czech, the book is widely cited and contributes crucially to the foundation of the field in the Czech academia. Further import of the book lies in its disciplinary diversity, breadth of presented positions and perspectives and cultural contexts and its potential for the classroom. The book is widely referenced and used in classrooms across a variety of disciplinary settings (from cultural studies, cultural anthropology to sociology) and levels of higher education.
2018–2020: Humboldt Research Fellowships for experienced researchers
(under review) with project: “Post-socialist Rehabilitations: Disability, Race, Gender and Sexuality and the Limits of National Belonging“
May-July 2018: DAAD Research Fellowship at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Zentrum für transdisziplinäre Geschlechterstudien and Universität Potsdam. Project: HIV/AIDS: Chronic Embodiments and Biological Citizenship in the Postsocialist Czech Republic.
2017–2019: (Post-)socialist modernity and social and cultural politics of disability and disablement; international research grant jointly awarded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and Czech Science Foundation (GAČR); principal applicant and researcher, leader of the Czech research team
2017–2019: “Imagining the “other”: Collective representations and the politics of social exclusion ( VS 260 468); member of the research team and a mentor to students, internal-grant awarded by Charles University
2013–2015: Biological citizenship: forms of governance and resistance tobiomedical knowledge in the Czech Republic; research grant awarded by Czech Science Foundation (GAČR 13-18411S), principal applicant and researcher, leader of research team
2013: De-colonising Disability Theory; international cooperation between Department of Gender Studies, Charles University and Gender Research Office, Universität Wien; awarded by Aktion: The Czech-Austrian fund; principal applicant
2009–2011: Cultural Representations of Disability and its Transformations; research grant awarded by Grant Agency of Czech Academy of Science (KJB 908080902); principal applicant and researcher
2009–2011: Transformation of Gender Culture in Czech Society, 1948-89; research grant awarded by Czech Science Foundation; research team member
January–December 2011: Gender as a tool of interdisciplinary Analysis; member of the research team, internal-grant awarded by School of Humanities, Charles University
January–December 2010: Disability and Bodily Difference in Interdisciplinary Perspective: internal-grant awarded by School of Humanities; member of the research team and tutor of students’ participation
July 2010–present: Affiliation with Bodies of Work, University of Illinois at Chicago
April 2015: Visiting Lecturer, Linköping University, Sweden
WS 2014: Visiting Scholar, Gender and Women’s Studies Department, University of Illinois at Chicago
May 2014: Visiting Lecturer, research stay co-sponsored by GEXcel (Center of Gender Excellence), Linköping University, Sweden
May 2013: Visiting Lecturer, Gender Research Office, Universität Wien, Austria
May 2012: Visiting Lecturer, Erasmus Mundus – Master in Special Education Needs (SEN),
WS 2011: Visiting Professor, Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Universität Wien, Austria
January 2010: Visiting Scholar, English Department, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
January-September 2009: Fellowship at Center of Excellence Cultural Foundations of Integration, Universität Konstanz