Seminar: ‘Mental Disability, International Human Rights and the Capabilities Approach’, London

Date: Wednesday 2nd April 2014

Time: 16.00-18.00

Place: Strand Campus, Moot Court, Dickson Poon School of Law, London, SW1.18

Organisers: The Dickson Poon School of Law and the Institute of Psychiatry, as part of the Psychiatry/Law Seminar Series

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is being increasingly emphasised by the WHO and other international organisations. This seminar will consider some of the fundamental issues raised by the Convention, particularly in the context of global mental health.

‘The Capabilities Approach and Health’, by Dr Sridhar Venkatapuram, Lecturer in Global Health and Philosophy, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine.

Response by Professor Ricardo Araya, Professor of Global Mental Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Centre for Global Mental Health.

Chair, Professor Genevra Richardson, Professor of Law, Dickson Poon School of Law.

 Please sign up via this link so that we have some idea of numbers.

CFP: ‘Disability and Blood: Blood and Crips’, JLCDS

Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies – Call for Papers

Special Issue: “Disability and Blood: Blood and the Crips”

Guest Editors: Michael Davidson (UCSD) and Sören Fröhlich (UCSD)


Since the HIV/AIDS blood feuds of the 1990s, scholarship into social and cultural definitions of blood has provided much-needed insights into statistical (Tukufu Zuberi), economical (Catherine Waldby and Robert Mitchell), and medical constructions of what blood was, is and how it can function (Keith Wailoo). This special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS) aims to close a gap in considerations of disability and blood. What does blood mean in cultural constructions of disability? How are disability and the body’s fluid tissue related in literary and cultural productions? Blood seems omnipresent in cultural representations, ranging from mass-murderers and pure-blooded wizards, vampires, and the undead, to ritual uncleanness, illegitimate Presidential offspring, and pre-natal diagnostics. Be it in the blood work chart and diagnostics, in statistics of pathology, or in other definitions of individuals through blood, ‘abnormalities’ in the blood constitute disability just as disability qualifies blood itself. Yet blood always transgresses boundaries and destabilizes categories; it simultaneously defines and defies constructions of disabled and disability. We invite submissions from scholars who consider how blood functions in the construction of disability. Is it stable or fluid, definable or contagious, visible or hidden? How does blood make the crip, and how does the crip change the blood? How is either or are both abjected from the ‘normal’ to create what Lennard J. Davis calls a “diverse sameness?”


Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

  • The female body as disabled, menarche, menstruation, birth,
  • Race as disability, disability as race, the “one-drop rule,”
  • Scientific racism, racial historiography and disability,
  • Eugenics in cultural productions,
  • Gendered disability, gendered blood,
  • Medical discourses,
  • Blood in treatments, procedures, and as medical commodity,
  • Contagion and infection, conversely, immunization and vaccination,
  • Purity and pollution as disabling discourses,
  • Disability and blood in religious discourses,
  • Containment and rupture as definitions of disability,
  • Pathology and normalization of blood,
  • Migration, exile, asylum and definitions of blood,
  • Indigeneity, inheritance, lineage and disabilities,
  • Representations of bleeding and blood.


Please email a one-page proposal by 1st June 2014. Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by 1st August 2014. (Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on February 1, 2015). Please direct any questions to Sören Fröhlich.


For further information about JLCDS please contact:

Dr. David Bolt


Telephone: 0151 291 3346

Gender and Disability: Asking Difficult Questions, University of Sheffield

Dear All,

You are warmly invited to submit proposals for the forthcoming Gender and Disability event at the University of Sheffield. The Call for Ideas has been extended by one week and submissions will now be accepted up until midnight on Monday 3rd March 2014. Please pass this message on to anyone who may be interested. We look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.

GENDER AND DISABILITY: Asking Difficult Questions

Saturday 10th May 2014, Humanities Research Institute (HRI), University of Sheffield

We’re calling for activists, artists, academics and practitioners to get involved in a day of discussions on the theme of gender and dis/ability. We welcome ideas for the sharing of skills and stories, art, films, performances, poetry, workshops, round-table discussions, papers and presentations.

The event aims to create a space for conversations and debate between communities who share an interest in gender and disability.

Some ideas for topics/themes:

(Dis)ableism, discrimination, exclusion and (in)accessibility ‘Abnormal’, ‘Normal’ and Normalcy Activism and protest (disability, feminist, LGBTQI, ‘race’, queer) Austerity/welfare cuts Body image, fetishisation, and the medicalization of bodies and minds Desire, Sexuality, intimacy and relationships Freakery, the abject and the politics of disgust Health and Illness Identities and identity politics Life-course and ageing Mental health and mad pride Post-humanism Queer and crip histories Sex, sex educators and sex workers

Send us your ideas (around 200 words or half a page of bullet points) by 3rd March 2014 to

This will be a free event. Food will be available to buy at the venue. We want to make this event as accessible as possible, to inform us of any particular access requirements please email by 19th April 2014.

For further information please contact To book a place please go to:

Hosted by the Gender Research Network (affiliated to the Centre for Gender Research), University of Sheffield,  and the Disability Research Forum, Sheffield Hallam University

CFP: ‘French and Francophone World Disability Studies’, JLCDS

Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 

Call for Papers: French and Francophone World Disability Studies
Guest editors: Tammy Berberi and Christian Flaugh

With this special issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, editors wish to explore both long-standing and contemporary contributions to disability studies in the humanities from French-language world regions.  In essays spanning the French Enlightenment and colonial expansion to the present, this issue seeks to reevaluate the impact of French and Francophone world thought on disability studies and the influence that questions of bodily abilities have had on intellectual and philosophical transformations.  It aspires to restore foundational disability studies texts to the cultural and theoretical contexts that gave rise to them as well as to explore new potential revealed by this remapping.  This issue will provide a means for articulating the field of French and Francophone world disability studies as it situates it in a global geography and humanity of disability studies.  It will also examine the transnational and trans-regional intersections between disability studies broadly conceived, continental French studies, and Francophone world studies.

Essays on any aspect of French and Francophone world disability studies will be considered, but might usefully explore:

  • what it means to “be,” to live, or to write from a disabled perspective
  • the role of disability in shaping its intellectual histories
  • the ways these histories and cultural traditions have informed each other
  • disability activism past and present 
  • notions of disability—or disability studies—and how these have brought about shifts in the modes and motivations of representation in aesthetics, literature, cinema, performance, or the arts
  • the impact of disability in canonical texts written in French
  • disabling patterns and practices of exploitation and how these intersect with disability
  • emerging scholarship written in French
  • new subjectivities and shifts in ethical paradigms brought about by disability activism and disability studies


JLCDS is an English-language journal. While initial abstracts are welcome in either French or English, full submissions accepted for publication must be submitted in English.

Key dates:
1st June 2014: prospective authors submit brief proposals (1-2 pp.)  and a one-page curriculum vitae to guest editors
1st October 2014: prospective authors notified of proposal status
1st April 2015: final versions of selected essays due to editors
1st June 2015: Decisions and revisions on submissions sent to finalists
1st August 2015: Final essays due

Questions may be directed to guest editors: and

‘Narrating Disability Inside and Outside the Clinic: Or, Beyond Empathy’, G. Thomas Couser, Seminar

Prof. G. Thomas Couser, “Narrating Disability Inside and Outside the Clinic: Or, Beyond Empathy”

Date: Wednesday 12th March 2014

Time: 2.15pm – 3.45pm

Place: Eden 109, Liverpool Hope University


The persistent devaluing of the lives of disabled persons, as periodically manifested in news accounts of abuse and neglect, underscores the value of disability life writing. Outside the clinic, disability memoirs have become surprisingly popular; indeed, at least in the USA, their proliferation has helped to spur the memoir boom. But the voices of disabled people especially need to be heard and reckoned with in medical schools, to complement and counterbalance the medical paradigm. It is not enough for medical personnel to empathize, or attempt to identify, with disabled patients, however; in order to fully serve the needs of their patients, they need to make cognitive—rather than affective—adjustments. Functioning as what Prof. Couser calls “quality-of-life writing,” disability narrative can play a major role in the reorientation of medical professionals.

G. Thomas Couser retired in 2011 from Hofstra University, where he was a professor of English and founding director of the Disability Studies Program. His books include Recovering Bodies: Illness, Disability, and Life Writing (1997), Vulnerable Subjects: Ethics and Life Writing (2004), Signifying Bodies: Disability in Contemporary Life Writing (2009), and Memoir: An Introduction (2012).

This seminar is part of the new CCDS series, The Voice of Disability. Other dates include:

  • 21st May, The Reality and Rhetoric of Pupil Voice: Exploring the Educational Journeys of Young People Labelled with Behavioural, Emotional, and Social Difficulties, Marie Caslin.
  • 25th June, Young DaDa: Evaluating Participation in the Arts, Claire Penketh.

For further information please contact Dr David Bolt.

CFP: ‘Trespassing Medicine’, Trespassing Journal

‘Trespassing Medicine’, Trespassing Journal

Deadline: 15th March 2014


The belief in the necessity to integrate the study of the arts and humanities into medical education and practice has gained wide currency in the last decades, especially with the emergence and development of Medical Humanities. While the “humane” nature of medicine is not necessarily new and is often emphasized by medical practitioners as an important component of their profession, there is nevertheless a certain resistance to inderdisciplinary medical studies. This resistance stems from the idea that medicine should predicate its education and practice on the urgent need of health and life, which has no time and space for deep intellectual deliberations, for philosophizing or for the use of lofty theoretical concepts. In that sense, the benefits arising from the insights of the arts and humanities should only occur within certain limits, without trespassing their specialized realms. This anxiety is furthered by the increasing number of patients who claim to have diagnosed their illnesses through information found on the internet, or by those who claim to have cured themselves through alternative medicine. On the other hand, many scholars seek new ways to break the firm boundaries of medicine as well as its authority over other disciplines.

The next issue of Trespassing aims to address these debates. Potential questions to be addressed are: How do the arts and humanities help medical practice to understand the human condition? What role does narrative play in medical treatment? How are doctors and nurses represented in literature, film, and popular culture? What lies behind positive and negative stereotypes of medical professionals? What are the political implications of the hospital as an institution? What are the possible ethical difficulties created by the recent developments in medical technology? How does medicine reproduce and resolve hierarchical power relations based on race, ethnicity, gender, and appearance? What role does humor and laughter play in medical practice?


Areas of exploration/inquiry include but are not limited to:

  • Medicine, Arts and Humanities
  • Medicine and / in Literature
  • Medicine and / in Film
  • Medicine and / in Popular Culture
  • Medicine in the Age of Internet
  • Medicine and the Problem of Authority
  • Medicine and Gender
  • Medicine and Race
  • Medicine and Capital
  • Medicine, Humor, Laughter
  • Symptom, Diagnosis, Reading, Detection


Prospective contributors should submit an abstract of approximately 500 words and a brief resume by 15th March 2014 to or hivren@hotmail.comOur guest editor for this issue is Hivren Demir-Atay, PhD, University of GaziantepSelected authors will be invited to submit full papers (of maximum 9000 words) according to the style guidelines. Acceptance of the abstract does not guarantee publication since all papers will be subject to double blind peer-review. Submissions are accepted in English.

Beatrix Busse, ‘The Language of Blindness, Sightedness and the In-between in the History of English’, University of Glasgow

Third Samuels Lecture, University of Glasgow

Thursday 27 March 2014, 5.15 p.m.

Gannochy Room, Wolfson Medical Building


The Language of Blindness, Sightedness and the In-between in the History of English

Beatrix Busse, Professor of English Linguistics, University of Heidelberg


As ‘medical humanities’ has recently emerged as an interdisciplinary field of study, the humanities and arts, not only psychologists or neuroscientists, but also historians, anthropologists, sociologists, literary critics or linguists have addressed the investigation of the senses. For example, in a joint interdisciplinary project on the sense of sight and its impairments Annette Kern-Stähler (University of Berne) and I have become interested in exploring their historical representations, meanings, developments and evaluations in medieval and early modern English optical, philosophical, literary and scientific texts.

Drawing on some of our findings (Kern-Stähler and Busse forthcoming), this paper identifies a number of medieval and early modern historical linguistic representations and functions of concepts of blindness, sightedness and stages in between. Blindness is construed not as an absolute, but as a liminal condition ranging between sightedness and blindness.

As a comparative exercise, I will also ask whether this discursive construction of ‘the in-between’ can also be detected in historical linguistic representations of the sense of hearing and of deafness. The senses of sight and hearing and their impairments will be regarded not as mere ontological facts, but rather as social and cultural constructions, which need to be situated within socio-historical developments of medicalisation, vernacularisation and changing scientific paradigms.

Methodologically, this paper proposes a triangulation of quantitative and qualitative procedures, which has recently been more prominently suggested in new historical stylistics (Busse 2010, 2013) or historical pragmatics (Taavitsainen and Jucker 2013) and which combines, for example, corpus-assisted with philological approaches. Within this framework, the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary is a crucial tool to identify historical linguistic sensory and auditory constructions.