Work Will Not Save Us: An Asian American Crip Manifesto


  • Mel Y. Chen University of California, Berkeley
  • Mimi Khúc independent scholar
  • Jina B. Kim Smith College



Crip, disability, anti-work, productivity, model minority, academy, Asian American


Drawing together disability justice, Asian American studies, and feminist/ queer-of-color labor analysis, this collaboratively authored essay forwards an anti-work manifesto shaped by our lived experiences as sick, disabled and queer Asian American scholars laboring in the academic-industrial complex. This essay offers a two-part intervention: first, it aims to expand nascent conversations on disability politics and its relationship to racial capitalism, and second, it puts forth a critique of the Asian American emphasis on achievement as an instrument of belonging and potential inoculation against racialized violence. It also unfolds in two parts: first, a section on why we refuse work, and second, a section on how to perform this refusal.


As we come to this essay from our respective positionalities in contingent, tenure-stream, and tenured academic loci, as well as from our shared investments in feminist and queer frameworks, the first section mobilizes feminist and queer disability analysis to interrogate the fraught investments in work shared across Asian American and Disability Studies, addressing the complexities of gendered, contingent, care, and service work within the academic landscape (and particularly as we have experienced them). The second section offers a survival guide for navigating the labor demands placed on racialized, queer, and/ or disabled scholars, channeling Asian American rage to move beyond saying “no” and toward saying “fuck off.”




How to Cite

Chen, M. Y., Khúc, M., & Kim, J. B. (2023). Work Will Not Save Us: An Asian American Crip Manifesto. Disability Studies Quarterly, 43(1).



Section I: Reorientations