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Forms of immobility both limit unqualified human agency and enable diverse channels of mobility. In this sense, mobility and immobility work together. Certain philosophical movements such as Southern theories and disability studies treat constraints, sedentariness, and boundaries as needing to be respected and accommodated in any inquiry. This article draws from these schools to theorize disruptions and constraints as resources in the circulation of languages, texts, and meanings. To index this generative role of constraints in communication, I adopt the term “crip” from theorizations in disability studies. “Crip” invokes the paradoxical reality that while being crippled poses disruptions in mobility, this rupture also generates new knowledge and possibilities into the flow of life (McRuer, 2006). This article explains how would treat ruptures, constraints, and boundaries as resourceful for meaning making. This is a corrective to certain previous theorizations that have treated translingualism as based on unrestricted flows and fluidities, influenced by dominant orientations to mobility. I illustrate from a classroom literacy interaction where the ruptures posed by the heritage languages of multilingual students motivated everyone to adopt creative strategies to expand the meaning of “meaning,” redefine literacy as negotiated, and develop ethical dispositions to collaborate in communicating across language boundaries. I argue that the incomprehensions and vulnerabilities created by language diversity actually motivate everyone to develop strategies to creatively read and write. In this manner, constraints don’t stifle the text or students, but mobilize new flows of meanings and interactions.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: disability ; decolonization ; boundaries ; vulnerability ; translingualism ; rupture
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