CFP: The 21st Century Body Reloaded (Symposium)

7th-8th November 2013, London

Exciting developments in the life sciences and their application in biotechnology are helping to provide pioneering cures and therapies for inherited and degenerative diseases. Consider genomics and genetic based therapies, neuroscience and neuropharmacology, ICT implants and prosthetics, nanomedicine and the required socio-cultural accommodations to ageing and you will see how the way in which we perceive ourselves and those around us is slowly being recast.  As our knowledge and its application continues to grow and expand, the range, scope and magnitude of what we are able to achieve seems to be limitless.

Building on the success of last year’s event and the many positive and encouraging comments from participants, this year’s interdisciplinary symposium is convened in order to further build capacity as well as consolidate existing scholarship on perspectives on the human body and identity in the face of new advances in emerging technologies.

Technology forecasters point to advances in nanoscience and nanotechnology as an ‘enabling technology’ which opens up further opportunities when combined with other technologies.  This “convergence” of new emerging technologies therefore becomes a matter of great debate. This is seen, for example, when advances in nanoscience converge with developments in biotechnology, which also utilise developments in information technology to capture and simulate human abilities using artificial intelligence systems and, more controversially, cognitive science.  As the animal-human distinction becomes increasingly blurred, it is plain to see the increasing growth of human power over nature in all of its forms including traditional and contemporary understanding about human nature itself. More than just speculative science fiction, talk of brain implants and neural imaging, cyborg enhancement and virtual reality simulation is suddenly becoming a pressing reality.

At this time we are faced with a key question: what does it mean to be human in the 21st Century? A series of identity crises emerge. Against the backdrop of developments in ICT, and especially in virtual contexts we are keen to ensure that our identities are protected and can be authenticated appropriately, without fear of them being reconstructed by others. Likewise, concern is expressed over the question of privacy and surveillance when we encounter new forms of identifying technologies such as biometrics which could challenge our freedom and dignity. As genetic and neuroscience technologies evolve, they provoke and unsettle some of our traditional perceptions of who and what we are.

It is envisaged that this symposium will contribute to the conversation on this theme and by drawing from insights and ideas from across the disciplines, the aim will be to chart challenges to, and changes in perceptions of identity and the human body in the 21st century.

Some key questions this symposium will aim to address include the following:

  • Is human identity being transformed, redefined or superseded through new developments in medicine and technology?
  • Do these new emerging technologies present as radical and revolutionary changes to how we see ourselves (as is sometimes claimed)? Or, are they in fact no different to their predecessors?
  • How are we to evaluate or assess the moral significance of these new technologies to our identity as humans?
  • What does it mean to have identity and to be identifiable in the 21st Century?
  • Are new technologies helping to redefine what we recognise as the human body? Are they in some ways helping to make the human body redundant? If so, in what ways?
  • What are the social, ethical and policy implications of these changes, both locally and globally, as we increasingly encounter the rapid expansion of biotechnologies worldwide?
  • Is altering the shape and appearance of the body contributing to our loss of contact with the body? How does this affect traditional ideas about the mind/body distinction?

Suggested topics: 

  • Ageing and immortality;
  • Artificial intelligence; the Turing test; machine understanding;
  • Artificial life; computational biology;
  • Biometrics;
  • Cognitive science;
  • Converging technologies (nano-bio-info-cogno);
  • Ethical and social implications of advances in emerging technologies;
  • Genetics;
  • Human enhancement;
  • Implant technology;
  • Medical anthropology;
  • Neuroscience.

We invite submission of abstracts in the first instance, with a word limit of around 500-750 words (maximum), and not including references. The abstract should clearly outline main arguments and conclusions of the paper.  On the basis of these abstracts, the academic organising committee will compose a short list of speakers to be invited to submit full-length papers for presentation at the symposium, which will be held in London in November 2013. All abstracts must be submitted through EasyChair (in a Word attachment; without inclusion of personal details to allow for blind reviewing).

A selection of successful papers from last year’s symposium were published in a special issue of The New Bioethics: A multidisciplinary journal on biotechnology and the body.This year a selection of papers which are included in the symposium will also be invited to submit copies for consideration to a special publication on the same theme.

More details are available here.

Lecture: Distant Voices, Still Lives: Revealing the Experience of Illness through the Narratives of Others Past and Present

Wed 3rd April 5.30pm – 6.30pm
Jordanburn lecture theatre, Kennedy Tower, Royal Edinburgh Hospital
Free but ticketed. Booking essential.

A talk which reveals the experience of illness through the narratives of others past and present. Dr Claire McKechnie, Medical Humanities Research, University of Edinburgh, will explore narratives of grief from the past 150 years.

She will focus on three individuals, Emily Gosse 1806-1857, Joy Davidman 1915-1960 and Susan Sontag 1933-2004. Claire will reveal the story of Dr Jesse Weldon Fell and his treatment of Emily Gosse in the mid 1850s through the narratives of Emily’s husband and son.

She will then turn her attention to the famous grief narrative of C. S. Lewis about his wife Joy Davidman’s decline and death. Finally she will discuss the significance of the story of Susan Sontag’s final illness, as narrated by her son David Reiff, Swimming in a Sea of Death.

The talk is part of ‘Ever Present Past’ project at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital developed and coordinated by Artlink. The project explores the history of the Hospital through a series of talks, events and workshops and artist placements throughout 2013 – the Hospital’s bi-centenary year.

To Book go to,  email  or phone 0131 229 3555.

CFP (edited collection): Canadian Disability Activism Beyond the Charter: Locating Artistic and Cultural Interventions

What is the current status and future of disability activism in Canada?

In the early 1980s, Canadian disability activists fought for inclusion of physical and mental disability as defendable categories under section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This momentous success shaped the agenda of disability activism in subsequent years and contributed to many policy and legal victories. Yet, the political and non-profit landscapes have changed dramatically since this time. Disability organizations across the country continue to struggle to secure sustainable funding, define new roles and maintain resources for advocacy work in an increasingly precarious political environment. Further, there are other modes of disability activism, often rooted in cultural or artistic intervention that seek to destabilize dominant meanings of disability. These modes tend to be underreported in academic accounts of Canadian disability movements that privilege legal and policy approaches.

Canadian Disability Activism Beyond the Charter seeks contributions from individuals, representatives of community organizations and academics that demonstrate the ways in which cultural and artistic interventions are reshaping the contours of disability advocacy and activism in Canada. Our intent is to highlight tactics and issues that emerged outside and after the Charter moment, with particular emphasis on the contributions of artists, radical activists and youths. We seek to complicate the notion of a singular disability movement in Canada as the proposed edited collection will feature accounts of diverse and potentially conflicting modes of activism.

We are seeking submissions that feature:

  • A variety of issues, including activism that may not always be interpreted as a traditional “disability issue”
  • Representation from varied and multiple identities, e.g, sexualities, genders, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds
  • Perspectives from different provincial environments
  • Representation from varied impairment groups- D/deaf, autistic, people with physical disabilities, mad/survivor activists, and allied perspectives
  • Contributions to broad based movements such as the Quebec student movement and the Occupy movements, among others
  • Accounts of artistic, cultural and radical tactics.

We plan to apply for funding to host a workshop in Ottawa in Spring 2014. At this workshop, invited contributors will be sponsored to attend in person in order to present draft chapters of their work. This will help us prepare for a submission of the manuscript for review by the University of British Columbia Press in Fall 2014.

Guidelines for submission:

Please submit a 300-word abstract of your proposed contribution and a 100-word biography by May 15, 2013 to co-editors Christine Kelly ( or Michael Orsini (


Christine (Chrissy) Kelly is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa where her research examines Personal Support Worker education in Ontario from a disability perspective. Christine has published in a variety of journals on disability, gender, attendant services, youth and Canadian disability movements. She conducted research on Canadian disability movements and was centrally involved in planning the 2011 Youth Activist Form, “Doing Disability Differently” at Carleton University.

Michael Orsini is Associate Professor in the School of Political Studies and currently Director of the Institute of Women’s Studies at the University of Ottawa. A specialist in health policy and politics and the study of social movements, he recently co-edited (with Joyce Davidson), Worlds of Autism: Across the Spectrum of Neurological Difference, forthcoming Fall 2013 from the University of Minnesota Press.

Senior Faculty in Communication Disorders, Psychology, and Public Health

Georgia State University (GSU) is seeking three senior faculty members to address health disparities occurring at the intersection of developmental disabilities and racial and ethnic minority status. These positions are part of GSU’s Second Century Initiative (2CI) (, a major program to expand the University’s priority research areas. These new faculty will add depth and breadth to current GSU interdisciplinary efforts related to the reduction and elimination of disparities in access, quality, and outcomes experienced by individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities from racial and ethnic minorities.

GSU is a research university located in downtown Atlanta with a diverse and growing student body. The university houses several interdisciplinary initiatives and centers in related areas, including the Center for Research in Atypical Development and Learning, the Center of Excellence for Health Disparities Research, the Language Research Center, the Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (GaLEND) Program; university-level initiatives in Language & Literacy, Brains & Behavior, and the Partnership for Urban Health Research; and inter-institutional collaborations including the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, the GSU/Georgia Tech Center for Advanced Brain Imaging, and the Atlanta Census Data Research Center.

The new faculty positions begin in August 2013 will include Associate or Full Professors in:

Communication Disorders, with expertise in early language development and effects of early intervention in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities (e.g., intellectual disabilities, autism). This individual will join the Communication Disorders Program of the multi-disciplinary Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education in the College of Education ( Candidates must have an earned doctorate in Communication Disorders, Speech and Hearing Science, or a related discipline. Position description can be found at

Psychology, with a program of research addressing individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, disparities, and risk and protective factors related to resilience, support, and response to evidence-based interventions. This individual will join the Department of Psychology ( in the College of Arts and Sciences. The department has doctoral programs in clinical (APA accredited), developmental, community, cognitive sciences, and neuropsychology and behavioral neuroscience. Departmental faculty play integral roles in many of GSU’s interdisciplinary research initiatives and centers. Candidates must have an earned doctorate in clinical (APA-approved) or developmental psychology, or a substantially related field. Position description can be found at

Public Health, with expertise in health disparities related to neurodevelopmental disabilities across the lifespan, with a focus on youth in transition to adulthood. This individual will join the Center for Leadership in Disability, Center for Healthy Development, in the Institute of Public Health (IPH). IPH priorities include urban health research, epidemiology, applied public health, health policy, health disparities, disability, and community applications ( Candidates must have an earned doctorate in Public Health, Social Science, Epidemiology, or Medicine. Position description can be found at


CFP: Special Issue on Religion, Disability and the Environment (Autumn 2014)

Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology
Guest Editors:  Julia Watts Belser & Sharon V Betcher

We invite papers for a special issue of Worldviews: Global Religions, Culture, and Ecology on “Religion, Disability and the Environment” to be published Fall 2014.  This issue will examine the ethical, religious and/or spiritual implications of “cripped” or disabled embodiment upon ecotheology, while simultaneously considering how the environmental crisis shapes our conceptions of disability.

By considering ecological discourse from the locus of critical disability studies, we seek to ask how disability can be for ecological thought something more than a scare tactic for rectifying ecosystemic ingress.   Working at this nexus invites questions: How does the specter of disability haunt environmental activism?  How might disability be reimagined as a vital, provocative element of sustainable culture or eco-spirituality?  What thought does postapocalyptic literature, wherein the crip becomes the pivotal figuration, now make possible?  How can disability studies draw our attention to the despised or rejected body, highlighting the ethical and theological injustice of sacrifice zones?  What would it mean to think of earth itself as crip as we transition through the Anthropocene?

Yet disability is an increasingly prevalent experience of the Anthropocene era owing to the eruption of what Rob Nixon has termed the “slow violence” of off-loaded ecological risks.  The geopolitics of ecoinjustice as well as the uncontrollable circulation of ecological contaminants and/or of ecological “accidents” predetermine susceptibility to life-time disability.  As new epidemics and catastrophes blur distinctions between culture and nature, we must begin to think of disability as human on human injustice, especially where disability intersects with race, gender, and class injustice to compound environmentally marginalized and minoritized communities.  How do these dimensions of social injustice resulting in disablement change our understanding of disability?  Where do these dimensions of social precaritization and the positive appreciation of crip difference intersect?

Critical disability studies recognizes the positive, creative dimensions of disability, an awareness that disability can school us—in the words of Rosemarie Garland-Thompson—“to abide the unexpected, to live with dissonance, to rein in the impulse to control.” (1)   These insights are strikingly parallel to ecological ethicists’ call to relinquish our quest for the domination of nature and teachings regarding the spiritual virtues.  What impact might this interface between ecology and disability have on religious, ethical and/or spiritual discourses?  How do spiritual virtues help us think differently at this intersection of ecology and disability?

Please submit your paper of no more than 6000 words by November 1, 2013.  We ask authors to email paper submissions simultaneously to Sharon Betcher at and Julia Watts Belser at  If you are interested in submitting a paper, we encourage you to be in touch with us in advance of the deadline.

(1) Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, “The Case for Conserving Disability,” Bioethical Inquiry Vol. 9 (2012): 342.

Julia Watts Belser, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Judaism
Department of Religious Studies
Missouri State University<>

Theorising Diagnosis (One-day seminar, Norwich, 23 May 2013)

ESRC Seminar Series: The role of diagnosis in health and wellbeing:  A social science perspective on the social, economic and political costs and consequences of diagnosis.

Consortium: University of East Anglia, University of Exeter; University of York; University of Cambridge & the Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Norwich, May 23rd 2013 Theorising Diagnosis: A one-day seminar with key speakers, discussants and Science Café Style Breakout Groups at University of East Anglia, SportsPark.

What constitutes a diagnosis in the first place? What are the socio-economic and political forces that contribute to the fabrication of a diagnostic category? Is there a future for a discrete diagnosis in an ever-increasing complexity of syndromes? What are the new methodologies that we have to develop in order to understand the subtle processes and practices of diagnosing?

Using a mix of presentations from world leading theorists including Professor Annemarie Jutel and Professor Robert Aronowitz plus café style discussions, an interdisciplinary audience will debate whether a sociological understanding of diagnosis can contribute to reflexive and effective clinical practice.

Attendance is free but the seminar is filling up fast.  Participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation costs.  A limited number of small travel bursaries are available (a maximum of £75.00) for postgraduate research students and early career researchers. Please see sign up form here or email Charlotte Salter or Andrea Stocklhere.

Avoidance and/in the Academy: The International Conference on Disability, Culture and Education

11th-12th September 2013

Centre for Culture and Disability Studies
Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom

Planned Keynotes: Sharon Snyder, Brenda Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

It has been nearly two decades since Lennard Davis, in Enforcing Normalcy (1995), remarked that when he talked about culturally engaged  topics like the novel or the body he could count on a full house of spectators, but if he included the term  disability in the title of his session the numbers would drop radically (xi). Things have certainly improved since then, as is
demonstrable in Sharon Snyder, Brenda Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson’s key work on how the humanities can be enabled by disability studies (2002). Progress, however, is frequently obstructed by bigoted and dated notions about disability.  Accordingly, Stuart Murray’s “From Virginia’s Sister to Friday’s Silence” (2012) recognises the persistence of
disability in contemporary writing, but David Bolt’s chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies (2012) argues that the academy is still dragged down by critical avoidance.

Bringing together work in the humanities, as well as education, and the social sciences more generally, the purpose of this project is to aid curricular reform by exploring and demonstrating ways in which we can make more explicit the interdisciplinary significance of disability studies and disability theory. In the spirit of Snyder, Brueggemann, and Garland-Thomson’s work of a decade ago, we want to enable not just the humanities but the academy more broadly, to reveal and address avoidance at all levels.

The project will take the form of a conference, scheduled for September 2013, and a proposed book edited by David Bolt and Claire Penketh in which Routledge has already expressed an interest.  If you would like to contribute by presenting your take on the theme at the conference and thus being considered for the proposed book, please send a 200 word proposal (  Paper presentations will be allocated 20 minute slots (although themed panels of 3 papers are very welcome) and the deadline for proposals is 1 April, 2013.

For further information please visit the CCDS website (

For booking information, please visit the online shop (

CFP: Southwest Conference on Disability 2013

The 2013 Southwest Conference on Disability Call For Papers is now open! The conference, held October 8-11, 2013 during the forty-first International Balloon Fiesta, is accepting proposals on the following themes:

  • The Rehabilitation Act at 40: Promises Kept, Promises Still to Keep
  • Assistive Technology: Opening the Door for People with Disabilities
  • When the Community, Business and Government Collaborate, People with Disabilities Work!
  • Access to Health for Women with Disabilities
  • Brain Injury: A Family Affair Across the Lifespan

For more information on the conference themes or to submit a proposal, visit the conference website;

The deadline for proposals is May 28th, 2013.

The 2013 Southwest Conference on Disability is moving to the Hotel Albuquerque, in the heart of Old Town, Albuquerque’s original settlement dating from 1706. Step outside the doors of the hotel into Old Town. Buy fine silver and jewelry from Native American vendors, or take a historic walking or trolley tour of Old Town, including the nightly lantern-lit Ghost Tour.

For more information, see: or (505) 272-6231.

Dr. Anthony Cahill
Director, Division of Disability and Health Policy and Conference Chair

Fully funded medical humanities PhD Studentship in English Studies in conjunction with Hearing the Voice

A fully funded three-year doctoral studentship commencing on 1 May 2013 or as soon as possible thereafter is available to work with Professor Patricia Waugh and Professor Corinne Saunders (Department of English Studies) and members of the Hearing the Voice project team. The studentship will provide an annual tax-free stipend at the Research Councils UK rate (£13, 590 for the academic year 2012-13, pro rata for the May 2013 start date) plus payment of full-time tuition fees at the home/EU rate.

Proposals are invited for a doctoral studentship which combines English studies and medical humanities. The studentship is associated with a three-year research project entitled ‘Hearing the Voice’, which is supported by a Strategic Award in the Medical Humanities from the Wellcome Trust. The project will investigate the phenomenon of voice-hearing (hearing a voice in the absence of any speaker). Usually interpreted as a sign of severe mental illness, voice-hearing figures in the experience of a wide range of people, including many who do not seek psychiatric help. The project aims to achieve the fullest possible account of this experience by examining it from a range of perspectives including philosophy, literature, theology, psychology, cognitive neuroscience, psychiatry and the medical humanities. The project involves researchers from all three faculties of Durham University, along with clinicians, academics and experts-by-experience from national and international partner institutions.

Applicants are invited to submit proposals exploring the relations between voice hearing and literary and cultural theory. The period of specialisation is open, though proposals should fit an interdisciplinary framework which explores the potential connections between literary studies, phenomenology, neuroscience and hermeneutics.

The successful candidate will also join the interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project team, attending fortnightly meetings and participating in academic workshops, conferences and other project events. In addition, s/he will be a member of the inter-disciplinary and cross-faculty Centre for Medical Humanities. The research training and PhD registration will be through the Department of English Studies, which is one of the top UK research departments in English and has a significant national and international profile. All eligible members of staff were submitted to the 2008 RAE, which classed 90% of the Department’s research as of international standard in terms of its originality, significance and rigour, and judged the research environment as ‘world-leading’.

For more information on how to apply, please visit the Hearing the Voice web site.

Disability and Culture: Whose Tragedy?

Location: Centre for Creative Collaboration.Date(s)21/03/2013 (11:00-17:45).

Description:Part of Royal Holloway’s Trauma, Fiction, History Series, jointly sponsored by the School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures and the Humanities and Arts Research Centre, Royal Holloway

Thursday March 21st, 2013 
Centre for Creative Collaboration (c4cc) 
16 Acton Street
London WC1X 9NG


11-11:15 Registration and Coffee

11:15-1:15pm Session One

Whose Disability? Challenging Stereotypical Representations of Epilepsy
Maria Vaccarella (King’s College London)

Sur mes lèvres, Deafness, Embodiment: Towards a Film Phenomenology of a Differently Ordered Sensorium
Jenny Chamarette (Queen Mary, University of London)

Beyond the ‘Narrative of Overcoming’: Representations of Disability in Contemporary French Culture.
Sam Haigh (University of Warwick)

‘Freaks!’ Hurler Syndrome and other disabilities in Claire Daudin’s Le Sourire
Brian Sudlow (Aston University)

1:15-2pm: Lunch

2-3:30: Session Two

Ana García-Siñeriz, Esas mujeres rubias (2010): disability, gender, and the medical establishment
Abigail Lee Six (Royal Holloway, University of London)

The pain of itching
Naomi Segal (Birkbeck College, London)

‘Raw data’: autistic aloneness and the category of insight in Elle s’appelle Sabine
Vivienne Orchard (University of Southampton)

3:30-4: Tea

4-5:30 Session Three

Telling, not seeing: blindness and travel writing
Charles Forsdick (University of Liverpool)

On not being deaf to the blind
Kate Tunstall (Worcester College, Oxford)

Disability and Sexuality: the poetry of Denis Sanguin de Saint-Pavin (1595-1670)
Nick Hammond (University of Cambridge)

5:30 Closing Remarks and Plans for Next Stages

Attendance at the study day is free and includes lunch and refreshments. Anyone interested in attending should contact the organiser, Dr Hannah Thompson to register for catering purposes: (|)

The Centre for Creative Collaboration is a neutral collaborative space near King’s Cross. We are using this space to think about the interdisciplinary and collaborative potential of the Disability and Culture project. This workshop is the first step in a project which we hope will expand into a dialogue not only between academics, but also with artistis, medical professionals, charities, activists and community groups.

Directions to c4cc can be found here:|