MHRNS Symposium, ‘Mental Health and Dependency’, 18th May 2013

The second MHRNS Symposium, themed on “Mental Health” and “Dependency” will take place on Saturday 18th May, 4 University Gardens, Glasgow.

Guest speakers are:

Dr Lucy Burke (Manchester Metropolitan University), “Care and Dependency: Keywords in Disability Culture or Why Language Matters”

Dr Jonathan Andrews (Newcastle University), “Asylum patient cultures: contextualising patient contributors to Edinburgh Asylum’s Morningside Mirror

The full programme for this day-long event is available here: MHRNSsymposium2programme.

This is a free event, and all are welcome, but please register by e-mailing This will help us to keep track of numbers.

History of Health & Medicine Seminars, King’s College London

King’s College London has inaugurated a new seminar series focusing on interdisciplinary investigations of the history of health and medicine. The first series focuses on “The Body”.

Speakers in this first series comprise:

1 May Hilary Marland (Warwick): ‘Lay Down Rules and Stick to Them’: Managing Adolescent Girls’ Bodies in Britain c.1900

8 May Edgar Jones and Jane Brooks (KCL): War and the Body

22 May Victoria Kelley (Central Saint Martins) and Carol Pellowe (KCL): Cleaning the Body

29 May Julie Anderson: The Disabled Body

5 June: Carin Berkowitz (Chemical Heritage Foundation) and David Hay (KCL): Educating the Body – Eye, hand, and imagination in (bio)medical education

For further information about talks, speakers and the series as a whole, click here.

CFP: Altered Consciousness, 1918-1980

Altered Consciousness, 1918-1980
16-17 November 2013
Queen Mary, University of London, E1 4NS

Closing date for submissions: 14 June 2013

Keynote speaker: Jeffrey Kripal (Rice University)

This meeting will explore the theme of altered consciousness in relation to popular culture, psychology, philosophy, religion, medicine and literature during the period 1918-1980.

Many literary and popular authors and performers during the mid twentieth century represented altered states of consciousness in their work, responding to and participating in research relating to such topics as interplanetary contact, ESP, clairvoyance, telepathy, mind-altering drugs, psychic therapies, spiritualisms, shamanism, erotics, conversion, revivals, somnambulism, precognition, distraction, group mind, multiple personality, hypnotism, lucid dreaming, Vedanta, hysteria and automatism.

What was the continuing legacy of nineteenth-century approaches to mind and spirit? How did work at the fringes of psychiatry and psychology intersect with mind sciences that consolidated their authority during the mid-twentieth century? What are the key interactions between European, North American and non-Western sources? How did investigations cross the borders between arts, sciences, religion, education and the military?

Priority will be given to submissions that show potential for sparking discussion across disciplinary boundaries, and are accessible to a non-specialist audience.

We are especially keen to hear from women contributors, and those whose work extends beyond British and North American contexts.

Please email a talk summary of approx 300 words and author bio of approx 50 words by 14 June 2013.

Speakers accepted onto the programme will have 20 minutes to speak.

This event is generously supported by: the British Society for the History of Science, and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Centre for the History of the Emotions, and the School of English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London.

Oxford DERN Disability Symposium, 7th May 2013

7th May, Okinaga Room, Wadham College | 9:45 – 3:30pm

The 2013 Oxford Disability Equality Research Network Symposium brings together United Kingdom and international theorists and researchers to highlight current work on disability in society in the areas of theory, disability law, assistive technology, and medical research.

Oxford DERN is a collaboration between the Oxford Disability Service, The Disabled Students Campaign of the Oxford Student Union, and a variety of Oxford University’s academic departments.

For more info or to register visit our website:


Registration / coffee

Global Disability and Medical Charity Advertising
Clare Barker, University of Leeds

10:45am Q&A

11:00am Break

The disabled body in post-Apartheid South Africa and its Literature
Tim Wyman-McCarthy, University of Oxford

Reading Firdaus Kanga: Implicit Political Alignments and Disabled Gay Parsi Men who Love Margaret Thatcher
Stephanie Yorke, University of Oxford

Can the Social Model of Disability be Applied to Dyslexia and Other SpLDs?
Dwight R. Kelly, Sarah Lawrence College, USA

12:15pm Lunch (Provided)

Assistive Technologies Shaping the Learning Experiences of University Students with Literacy Difficulties
Paul Grove, University of Oxford

Learning from Students who Identify with Asperger Syndrome
Nicola Martin, LSE

Implementing the National Autism Strategy for England (DH, March 2010); Mind the Gaps
Marie Tidball, Oxford Centre for Crimonology


The Wadham facility is accessible for wheelchair users, but advance notice of all other accessibility requirements is needed including dietary needs for lunch. Please contact for more information.

Dr Clare Barker
Lecturer in English Literature
School of English
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT

Phone: (0113) 343 4750

CFP: Avoidance in/and the Academy, 11th-12th Sept 2013

The International Conference on Disability, Culture, and Education

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 June, 2013.

For further information please visit the CCDS website (

For booking information, please visit the online shop (


Voicewalks: A Collaboration between Hearing the Voice and Stepaway Magazine (call for creative submissions, 1st August 2013)

How do we experience the voices in our minds? 
How do voices help or hinder our navigation of familiar and unfamiliar spaces, when wandering alone or when moving through a crowd? 
Where do ‘hallucinated’ voices come from and how are they linked to specific places?
How does it feel to ‘see and be seen’ when hearing voices?
How does hearing voices influence and determine movement within the city space?
What paths are traced and retraced?

In collaboration with the Hearing the Voice project at Durham University, StepAway Magazine seeks to publish a special issue dedicated to the creative exploration of inner speech and voice-hearing experiences within the context of walking in the city. The issue will present a collection of walking narratives by both voice-hearers and writers who creatively imagine hearing voices.

To accompany a commissioned piece by Iain Sinclair, we welcome submissions of poetry, prose and non-fiction from writers of any background. Ten submissions will be chosen for publication online and in print. Submissions can be as long as a 1000-word essay or story, or as short as a 17-syllable haiku poem. We will examine each submission with great care. We understand that this is a sensitive subject and we will protect your privacy should you request us not to publish your full name.

All submissions should be contained within the body of an email. No attachments please. Simultaneous submissions are not accepted.

After familiarising yourself with Hearing the Voice and previous editions of StepAway Magazine, please email your submission, a short press-ready biography (should you wish to be publically identified as the author), contact details and a statement confirming that the piece has not been published elsewhere, to the editor, Darren Carlaw.

We look forward to receiving any work you have to offer before August 1st 2013.

This special issue will be launched at a special event at the Durham Book Festival in October at which authors included in the special issue will have the option to read from their work. All are welcome to attend.

For more information, please download the Voicewalks call for submissions.

StepAway Magazine is an established online literary magazine that aims to encourage all writers to walk in the city and record what they see, hear and feel. Writers record these observations in poetry, prose and non-fiction.

Towards a Cultural History of Exhaustion: Anna Katharina Schaffner (Public Lecture, 25th April 2013)

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures Literature, History, Theory Research Group at the University of Durham presents

Towards a Cultural History of Exhaustion
Dr Anna Katharina Schaffner (Comparative Literature, University of Kent)
Thursday 25 April, 5.00-7.00 pm
A56 Elvet Riverside, Durham University

This paper explores how ‘exhaustion’ – understood both as a subjective physico-psychological experience and a broader phenomenon manifest in various modes of cultural pessimism – is theorized and represented in medical, psychological and literary discourses. Conceptions of individual exhaustion often overlap with other diagnostic categories that include weakness, nervousness, neurasthenia, melancholia, depression, ME, Chronic Fatigue Disorder and burn-out, amongst others. Many theorists of exhaustion not only claim that it is a specifically ‘modern’ phenomenon, situated somewhere between personal ailment and cultural condition, but also tend to define it as either a somatic or a psychological illness. The concept thus provides an opening into more general mind/body and psychology vs. biology debates, and allows for an exploration of the ways in which the dialectic between inside and outside, between the individual, society and the cultural and natural environment, has been construed in medical and literary works.

This public lecture is free and all are welcome. For more information contact Dr Caitríona Ni Dhuill.

Transnational Bodies (Symposium, 6th June 2013)

Transnational Bodies
Thursday 6 June 2013, 10-17 h.
Amsterdam, Roeterstraat 11, REC-E 0.20

This symposium takes a look at recent developments in critical scholarship on the body.

The body has always occupied a secure place in the theoretical agenda of gender studies and feminist theory. It has been the site par excellence for investigating embodied experiences, power relations shaped by gender, class, race and ethnicity, national belonging, cultural imaginaries and scientific discourse. The experience of living in an increasingly globalized and cosmopolitan world as well as the recognition of shared histories of connection have generated new research on the body. New questions have emerged, shaping how we think about the body and complicating earlier insights about embodiment in contexts which are both local and global.


10-10.30 Welcome and introduction

10.30-11.15 Lorraine Nencel: Going around in circles. The conundrums of doing research about migrant women who sell sex in the age of anti-trafficking

11.30-12.15 Dubravka Zarkov: Theorizing war and violence: Complicated embodiments

12.15-13 Amade M’charek: Suspect bodies: Forensic identification and the trouble with race

14.15-15 Annemarie Mol: Body topologies. On folds, fluids, fires and other figures

15-15.45 Stefan Dudink: The King’s legs: The travel of body parts and the making of the Dutch Restoration monarchy

16-16.45 Giselinde Kuipers: ‘We will be the ambassadors for a healthy body image’. Aesthetics, ethics and civic engagement in the global beauty industry

For more information, contact Dr. Kathy Davis or Dr. Anna Aalten. Registration is open to anyone who is interested in body and transnationality in practice. Please, register by sending an email to Dr. Anna Aalten.

Literature and Cognitive Difference: SAMLA Convention 2013 (CFP)

8th-10th November 2013, Altanta, Georgia

Mark Osteen, Society for Critical Exchange

Literature and Cognitive Difference

Accompanying the popular recent attention to autism and neurological disorders has been the publication of numerous novels and nonfiction works by and about persons with such disabilities. The list includes Oliver Sacks’s scientific tales, Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jayne Anne Phillips’s Lark and Termite, Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker, Paul and Judy Karasik’s The Ride Together, and others. The emergence of the neurodiversity movement has provided new perspectives and paradigms for scholars in the field.

For this panel I seek essays on fictional and non-fictional texts by or about persons with autism, traumatic brain injury, amnesia, intellectual impairment, and other neurological differences. How do these texts represent memory, identity and consciousness? What innovative formal devices do their authors employ to render the disabled person’s point of view? How do texts narrated from outside the disabled person’s point of view generate empathy or understanding? I am especially interested in papers on contemporary works, but will consider essays on earlier texts such as The Sound and the Fury and the like, if they address cognitive disability, preferably from a Disability Studies standpoint. Send a 250-word abstract and brief CV to Mark Osteen, by May 15, 2013.

Ian Hacking: ‘Making Up People’ Reconsidered (Public Lecture)

Professor Ian Hacking: ‘”Making Up People’ Reconsidered”
MEA House Auditorium, Northumbria University
15th May 2013, 10.30 am – 12 pm



As part of a series of workshops for the Leverhulme-funded project“Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture” at the Universities of Northumbria and Newcastle, the Northern Network for Medical Humanities are pleased to welcomeProfessor Ian Hacking (Philosophy, University of Toronto) on 15th May 2013, 10:30am at the MEA House Auditorium, Northumbria University.

Professor Hacking will give a lecture entitled “‘Making Up People’ Reconsidered” exploring the ways in which new scientific classifications of diseases such as multiple personality disorder and autism may affect experiences of them and thus give rise to a new type of person and way of being. You may wish to read the following article in preparation for the event: Ian Hacking, “Kinds of People: Moving Targets.” Proceedings of the British Academy 151 (2007): 285-318.  A link to the article is available here.  Download the Making Up People Northumbria Flyer.