As I was finishing this book, I read in the newspaper about a young man with
Tourette’s syndrome who died of sepsis in Seoul. His body was found bruised,
wounded, and emaciated, showing signs of repeated abuse and violence. His
martial arts coach, to whom he had been entrusted by his family, had been
keeping him in his custody and denied the family access, because he believed
that the young man’s disability could be cured by disciplining his body and
mind. This belief led to constant corporal punishment and deadly abuse. I
continue to come across accounts of people with disabilities being murdered
by those who claimed that they could cure the disabilities. As I see it, these
murders are not just individual crimes but instead reveal the persistent at-
tempts to reject the presence of people with disabilities. This direct manifes-
tation of violence in the name of cure indicates that today there remains much
work to be done by scholars, activists, families, and people living with and
without disabilities. It is my hope that this book serves as a modest offering
to that collective endeavor to name, interrogate, and eliminate such violence.
I am deeply indebted to many disability activists in South Korea. Their calls
for change and their everyday work of surviving have grounded my thinking
and writing process. I am also indebted to those who spent hours and hours
reading my drafts, listening to me, and sharing their thoughts, helping to make
my writing clearer and my thinking deeper. I am still amazed by their gener-
osity and commitment to scholarship. All those I list and those I cannot name
here made me believe in what academic work could do in shaping and shifting
ideas and affecting changes. These acknowledgments are not going to adequately
express my gratitude and describe the time and energy offered to me by many
people along the way.
During the early stage of research for this book, David Mitchell guided
me with his great insights, humor, and support, and he helped me pursue
my research in the humanities. I fondly remember the quotes from Buffy the
Vampire Slayer that he sent to inspire my writing. His deep transdisciplinary
understanding of disability and race has guided me. He saw my linguistic dif-
Previous Page Next Page