QTBIPOC Interventions in Fibromyalgic Presents: Critically Exploring Gendered, Racial and Neoliberal Regimes of Knowledge in Medical Understandings of Fibromyalgia
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This dissertation asks how fibromyalgia, a chronic illness that is admittedly unknown, unknowable, and undetectable by medical knowledge and technologies comes to be known as fibromyalgia by the medical system. By prioritizing critical theory and the experiences and knowledges of queer and trans Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (QTBIPOC), I explore the ways that gendered, racial and neoliberal regimes of knowledge are central to medical understandings of a chronic illness that largely impacts marginalized people. The interventions that I make ask us to rethink the relationship between race and health/illness, to be attentive to the presence of past violences in fibromyalgic presents, and to deeply question the role of the medical system in scientifically legitimizing and sustaining systems of power. I interrogate how the reverence of medical and scientific knowledge provides the medical system the epistemological power to participate in institutional gaslighting and in producing what I call good neuroliberal subjects, all justified through the association it makes between irrational bodies and irrational minds. Above all, this dissertation asks us to take QTBIPOC seriously as theorists in their own right, and to recognize their leadership in disability and healing justice as generative of theory and practice that demands us not to rehabilitate sick bodies, nor to reform the medical system, but instead to dismantle the medical system and reach for notions of healing that resist rather than uphold systems of power.