Disability Studies Quarterly
This paper considers Indra Sinha's Animal's People (2007), a fictional re-telling of the Union Carbide Bhopal disaster, as a productive site of mutual engagement between postcolonial studies and disability studies, two fields rarely in dialogue. Dominant models of disability, I argue, do not translate to formerly colonial sites and/or sites that bear the burden of global capitalism. The uneven processes of globalization—which produce disabling environments—necessitate that we revise established conceptions of disability, which are derived largely from US/UK contexts. I explore a socio-spatial model that emphasizes the necessity of specific locational axes in figurations of disability. This enables more flexible understandings of embodiment, which may shift and be shifted by the particularities of space. A victim of the disaster, Animal—the novel's protagonist—navigates Bhopal's streets on all fours. His unique spatial imaginary, contingent on his particular form of embodiment, produces a local and embodied knowledge that foregrounds points of convergence between anti-colonial, anti-capitalist, and disability politics.
postcolonialism, globalization, Bhopal, India, Union Carbide, neoliberalism, transnational, contemporary English literature, industrial disaster, environmental studies
2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)
Kim, Jina B., "People of the Apokalis’: Spatial Disability and the Bhopal Disaster" (2014). English Language and Literature: Faculty Publications, Smith College, Northampton, MA.