The Ontology of Disability in Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered


The formal device of characterization in Chang-rae Lee’s novel, The Surrendered, depicts differences between the ontology of race and the ontology of disability in ways that reveal the stakes of reading at the intersection of Asian American studies and disability studies. The Surrendered shows that in return for the privileged mantle of U.S. citizenship—which extols supersoldiers, model minority subjects, and humanitarian workers—ablenationalism demands the disavowal of impairments that are experientially rooted in supercripdom, neurodiversity, and substance addiction. The article argues that the co-articulation of race and impairment in Lee’s novel suggests how intersectional reading practices can more fully explore the disability rights issues raised by racialized characters.