Call for Book Proposals: Palgrave Macmillan ‘Literary Disability Studies’ Series

Literary Disability Studies

Palgrave Macmillan Book Series

Edited by:

  • David Bolt, Liverpool Hope University, UK
  • Elizabeth J. Donaldson, New York Institute of Technology, USA
  • Julia Miele Rodas, Bronx Community College, City University of New York, USA

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Literary Disability Studies is the first book series dedicated to the exploration of literature and literary topics from a disability studies perspective. Focused on literary content and informed by disability theory, disability research, disability activism, and disability experience, the Palgrave Macmillan series provides a home for a growing body of advanced scholarship exploring the ways in which the literary imagination intersects with historical and contemporary attitudes toward disability. This cutting edge interdisciplinary work will include both monographs and edited collections (as well as focused research that does not fall within traditional monograph length).

The works already under contract include:

  • Hannah Thompson, Visions of Blindness in French Fiction, 1789-2013.
  • Michael Bradshaw, Disabling Romanticism.
  • Patricia Friedrich, The Literary and Linguistic Construction of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

The series is supported by an editorial board of internationally-recognised literary scholars specialising in disability studies:

  • Michael Bérubé, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature, Pennsylvania State University.
  • G. Thomas Couser, Professor of English Emeritus, Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
  • Michael Davidson, University of California Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Diego.
  • Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Professor of Women’s Studies and English, Emory University, Atlanta.
  • Cynthia Lewiecki-Wilson, Professor of English Emerita, Miami University, Ohio.
  • Tobin Siebers, V. L. Parrington Collegiate Professor, Professor of English and Art and Design, University of Michigan.

For information about submitting a Literary Disability Studies book proposal, please contact David Bolt (, Elizabeth J. Donaldson (, and/or Julia Miele Rodas (


3 PhD Studentships in Health Inequalities, University of Durham

The University of Durham is offering three fully-funded PhD Studentship in Health Inequalities, available from October 2014. All three are attached to the “Health Inequalities in an Age of Austerity Project”. 

The deadline for applications is 2nd April 2014

About the project:

Applications are invited for three fully-funded three-year doctoral studentships as part of a large 5 year research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The project aims to provide a contemporary and innovative, theoretically informed, comprehensive, interdisciplinary, mixed methods intensive case study of the aetiology and experience of health inequalities in Stockton on Tees, North East England.

Please see the project website for further details:

Studentship 1: Women, Health and Austerity

We are looking for candidates in the areas of health and wider socio economic inequalities. The candidate will explore the lived experiences of austerity through in-depth longitudinal qualitative interviews with a sub-sample of approximately 25 women whose formal income is identified as being largely or solely derived from welfare benefits. Their experiences of austerity in terms of health and wellbeing, service use and access, income and benefit receipt, housing, unemployment, caring responsibilities, as well as coping mechanisms, will all be explored.

Applicants should be outstanding graduates (with a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree; Masters desirable) in the social sciences, namely social geography, sociology, social policy, social anthropology, social psychology or public health with a particular interest/experience in qualitative methodology, fieldwork and analysis.

The project will be supervised by Professor Clare Bambra, Professor Linda McKie (School of Applied Social Sciences) and Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite. This PhD project will link into the main Leverhulme Health Inequalities project as well as complementing the work of several other PhDs and researchers working on social and health geography at Durham University. The student must be able to work independently, including the production of their own and co-authored papers, but will also be expected to contribute to the wider project.

Full details can be found here:

Studentship 2: History, Health and Austerity

We are looking for candidates who are interested in pursuing doctoral research in the historical aspects of austerity and health. It will therefore involve detailed library, archival and desk-based social historical research to build up a ‘biography of place’ and to examine parallels between health, austerity and recession now and in the past. The impact of 20thcentury economic, industrial, cultural, social policies and medical and health history of the area will all be examined. We would expect the research to be supplemented by face to face qualitative interviews with local stakeholders such as community leaders, local health care, local authority and welfare professionals to gauge an overview of the more recent policy history of the area.

Applicants should be outstanding graduates (with a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree; Masters desirable) in social/medical history or a relevant social science (with demonstrable historical content), namely human geography, sociology, political science, social policy, social anthropology, social psychology, or public health or social anthropology, with a particular interest in historical analysis and/or qualitative research/policy analysis. The project will be supervised by Prof Clare Bambra, Dr Andrzej Olechnowicz, and Dr Gordon MacLeod. The student must be able to work independently, but will also be expected to contribute to the wider project including co-authoring PhD and project papers.

Full details can be found here:

Studentship 3: Health, Place and Austerity

We are looking for candidates who are interested in pursuing doctoral research in the areas of health and socio-economic inequalities. Candidates will be expected to use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to spatially analyse routine and existing survey data (e.g. Hospital Episodes Statistics, Census, mortality data, Marmot Indicators, Index of Multiple Deprivation Health Dimension etc). You will spatially analyse the relationship between health and the wider social (e.g. housing type, income, education), service (e.g. health care centres, community centres, fast food and alcohol outlets, green space, leisure facilities) and economic (e.g. local unemployment rate, benefit receipt, deprivation, house repossessions, business start-ups/failures, travel to work data, and local authority GDP) environments in Stockton-on-Tees. A longitudinal and historical element to the spatial mapping will enable any changes in the local context and health indicators to be detected.

Applicants should be outstanding graduates (minimum 2:1 undergraduate degree, masters desirable) of health/social geography, social sciences or public health, with a particular interest in GIS, quantitative data and statistical analysis. The project will be supervised by Prof Clare Bambra, Dr Alison Copeland and Dr Christine Dunn.

This PhD project will link into the main Leverhulme Health Inequalities project as well as complementing the work of several other PhDs and researchers working on social and health geography at Durham University. The student must be able to work independently, but will also be expected to contribute to the wider project including co-authoring PhD and project papers.

Full details can be found here:

If you have any questions about any part of the application process please contact the admissions office (

CFP: ‘Philosophy of Disability: Unflinching Approaches to Ways of Living’

Philosophy of Disability: Unflinching Approaches to Ways of Living

The most common area of intersection between philosophy and disability studies has been in the field of ethics. This anthology takes a broader approach by seeking to examine both the meanings of disability and the ways in which disability shapes and informs meaningful lives. A guiding consideration for this text is that disability ought not be conceived merely as something to manage or cope with or heroically overcome for the edification of the non-disabled. Instead, contributions should focus on how disability fundamentally challenges us to think anew about topics such as:

  • history and progress
  • power, politics, justice, and law
  • social pressure and activism
  • community and collective planning and design
  • embodiment, phenomenology, modality, and spatiality
  • positive adaptation to chronic pain, loss, and aging
  • sexuality and family
  • disability in art and public discourse
  • professional research methods and questions
  • new technologies and testing
  • intersections with other issues, such as inequality, race, and class
  • mental, physical, and social health
  • aspirational ideals and visions of the future

Submissions from all philosophical traditions are encouraged and will be subject to peer review. Full consideration will be given to abstracts (500-700 words) submitted before 15th May 2014. These will be used to formulate an anthology proposal to an academic press during summer 2014. Authors should also be aware that every effort will be made, with their help, to make the entire collection genuinely accessible. Questions and proposals should be submitted directly to

Pre-Doctoral Fellowships in Disability Policy Research

To encourage research that will deepen our understanding of the health and economic implications of disability and disability policy, the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) Disability Research Center, with funding from the Social Security Administration as part of its Disability Research Consortium, is seeking applications from doctoral students in economics for one- or two-year fellowships.

NBER encourages applications from individuals from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Each fellowship will provide a 12-month stipend of $22,476 and will cover the fellow’s tuition at his or her home institution, up to a limit of $12,000 plus health insurance, as well as limited funds for research expenses and travel.

Read more about the eligibility criteria and application process here.

CFP: ‘Broken Bodies: Representing Pain in Early Modern Visual Art’, New Orleans

Broken Bodies: Representing Pain in Early Modern Visual Art

Call for Papers Sixteenth Century Society Conference (New Orleans, 16th-19th Oct 2014)

Pain exemplifies an intersensorial phenomenon, one that utilizes all of the senses to articulate the physiological, mental, and emotional responses to stress and injury, both physical and psychological. Like pleasure, pain is an interior sensation whose external articulation can stimulate both sympathetic and empathetic reactions. Italian Renaissance and Baroque artists attempted to simulate those sensations by bridging the fissure between the internal experience of pain and its outward expressions.  Contemporary interest in pain and its place in early modern culture has catalyzed a wide array of scholarly contributions. This panel seeks to bring together scholars exploring the phenomenon of pain in early modern culture and its representation – and repression – in visual art in a critical reassessment of the state of this topic in current scholarship. Together with Sensuous Suffering: the Early Modern Experience of Pain, a proposed multi-disciplinary roundtable discussion examining the topic of pain in the Early Modern context, this series of papers will examine the body as a multisensory medium that was used in depictions of such phenomena as martyrdom, passion, and plague. How did artists use the body to communicate the intersensorial experience of pain? What is the relationship between suffering and theologies of the body? What is the function of bodily torment in early modern visual culture?  How does the performance of pain relate to identity construction and what role did the visual arts play in this performance?

Please submit a 250 word abstract and a one-page CV to Heather Graham and Tiffany Hunt at ( by 31st March 2014.

Medical Confidentiality and Privacy: Past, Present and Future, 25th-26th April 2014

Date: 25th – 26th April 2014

Location: University of Glasgow


This  2-day event will encourage participants, from around the UK and abroad, to consider a range of perspectives on medical confidentiality and privacy. It has been designed to enhance understanding of contemporary areas of concern and debate, and of how relevant issues have evolved over time and within different socio-legal contexts. In doing so, the symposium is intended to facilitate positive dialogue, and encourage future collaboration, between experts from different professional backgrounds and academic disciplines.

A full programme will be available online shortly.

Key speakers on Day 1 include: Prof. George Annas (Boston University), Prof. Graeme Laurie (University of Edinburgh), Prof. Jean McHale (University of Birmingham),  Dr Emma Cave, (Durham University) , Dr Michael Soljak (Imperial College, London), Dr Janet Murray (Consultant in Public Health Medicine and Caldicott Guardian) and Dr Angus Ferguson (University of Glasgow)*

Key speakers on Day 2 include: Prof. Amy Fairchild (Columbia University, New York), Prof Sabine Michalowski (University of Essex), Prof. Holger Maehle (Durham University), Jane O’Brien (Head of Standards & Ethics at the GMC 1995-2013), Dr Al Dowie, (University of Glasgow) and Fionnula Flannery (Policy Manager, GMC Standards & Ethics Team).

The event is jointly organised by The University of Glasgow (Centre for the History of Medicine, Economic & Social History, Institute of Health & Wellbeing and Policy Scotland) and Durham University (Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease). It is supported by the Wellcome Trust.

This event is FREE  but registration is essential and tickets must be brought along:

Conference: ‘The Future of the Body: Phenomenology, Medicine and the (Post)human’

19th-20th June 2014

Trinity College, Dublin

This conference will bring together leading scholars working in Philosophy, Medical Humanities, Medicine, and related disciplines whose work critically engages with the status of the body. Central to this engagement is a phenomenological focus of the role lived experience plays in discussions about what it means to be human, especially as technologies and medical practices enter previously unchartered territories. Engaging theory with practice in an interdisciplinary context is a central aim of the workshop.

This conference will be hosted by the Trinity Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin’s Art and Humanities Research Institute, and is part of Trinity College Dublin’s ‘Identities in Transformation’ research initiative, in particular the ‘Somatic Identity’ thematic cluster. Furthermore, this event will be part of Trinity College Dublin’s Medical Humanities Initiative.

For more info, click here.

Medicine and Literature Research Seminar: Gavin Francis, ‘Illness and Restitution’

Thursday 27th March, 4-5.30pm

Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities

The University of Edinburgh, Hope Park Square

Edinburgh, EH8 9NW

Open to all, but places are limited, so please register to attend by emailing Mrs Anthea Taylor:

Registration is now open for a research seminar on medicine and literature with Gavin Francis. The seminar offers an opportunity for participants to reflect on the connections between medicine and literature. Participants will consider the transformation in perspective effected by two modern surgical interventions – cataract surgery and cardiac valve replacement surgery. Gavin will be discussing two of his recent essays, ‘Cataract’ and ‘Heart of the Matter’, which themselves examine the effects of cataract surgery and aortic valve replacement, through the work of John Berger (cataract) and Robin Robertson (valve replacement). Essays will be available to collect from IASH in advance of the seminar.

Gavin Francis is a writer and physician, author of Empire Antarctica (winner Scottish Book of the Year 2013) and True North, as well as a contributor to Granta, the Guardian, the Times, and the London Review of Books.

Birkbeck Forum for C19th Studies, ‘Reading Blindness in the 19th and early 20th Century Archive’

Reading Blindness in the Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth-Century Archive: Roundtable with Hannah Thompson (RHUL), Heather Tilley (Birkbeck), and Matthew Rubery (QMUL), Tuesday 8 October 2013.

The Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies opened this year with a special roundtable event exploring the ways in which new technologies created new communities of blind and partially-sighted readers in nineteenth and early-twentieth century France and Britain. Through short position papers, panelists explored questions of representation and inclusion, considering how extensively blind peoples’ changing experience of reading practices and materials in this period are documented in the archive. The panel also addressed the issue of accessibility, examining how the format of material relating to the history of blindness and literature might perpetuate a politics of exclusion for contemporary partially-sighted readers and researchers.

Audio of each panelist’s presentation is available at this link:…

Hannah Thompson (RHUL): ‘Blindness, Representation, and Accessibility: a French Perspective’This paper discusses what the holdings of the bibliothèque patrimoniale Valentine Hauy and the musée Valentin Hauy in Paris tell us about nineteenth-century representations of blindness and the choices made about the subject-matter of embossed literature. Whilst the embossed books produced in Paris are mostly educational, instructional or scientific in nature, the print writings about the blind collected by Hauy are more religious or sentimental. Dr Thompson will use an overview of her work with these archives to explore questions of accessibility as well as addressing the reasons behind the differences between books produced for the blind and books produced for the sighted.

Dr Hannah Thompson is Senior Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway, University of London. She is the author of the popular blog Blind Spot and is currently writing a book on representation of blindness in French literature.

Heather Tilley (Birkbeck): ‘Who is Harriet Curry? Locating the First Communities of Finger Readers in the Nineteenth Century’Inscribed in ink at the front of the Royal National Institute for Blind People’s copy of an 1837 edition of St John’s Gospel is the name ‘Harriet Curry.’ At the back, a further handwritten note details the circumstances of the presentation of this bible, embossed in Lucas type, to Harriet Curry. But who was Harriet Curry? How did she feel about the gift of this book; how easy was it for her to read Lucas’s newly invented embossed system, based on shorthand symbols; and what pleasure or instruction did she gain from it? In this short paper, I use Harriet Curry’s bible as a prompt to explore the difficulties of locating individual readers and reader responses from the archival record of the first communities of tactile readers in the nineteenth century.

Dr Heather Tilley is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow in the Department of English and Humanities, Birkbeck. She is curator of the exhibition Touching the Book: Embossed Literature for Blind People in the Nineteenth Century and has recently finished the manuscript of her book Blindness and Writing: Wordsworth to Gissing.

Matthew Rubery (QMUL): ‘Talking Books and Speechless Readers’Britain’s Talking Book Library opened on August 1, 1935. The service was established to provide gramophone recordings of printed books to blinded veterans of the First World War and other civilians with visual disabilities. Advocacy groups hailed the arrival of the talking books as the most important development for blind readers since the invention of braille. Drawing on archival material held by the Royal National Institute for Blind People and Blind Veterans UK, this presentation documents the talking book’s impact on the first generation of readers to listen to recorded books in the 1930s and 1940s.

Dr Matthew Rubery is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. Author of The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (Oxford, 2009), he is currently completing a monograph titled The Untold Story of the Talking Book, a history of recorded literature since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877.

Symposium: Robert Burns and Medicine, Glasgow

Day Symposium – Robert Burns and medicine: Exploring links between physical illness, mental disorder and creativity

29th May 2014

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow, 232-242 St Vincent Street, Glasgow G2 5RJ

The intention of the day is to establish research trajectories in two main areas: a historico-cultural view of ‘Burns and the Medical Profession’; and an analysis of the contemporary significance of the relationship between mental disorder and creativity informed by ‘Burns and Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder)’. There has never previously been a conference on ‘Burns and Medicine’. It is a very timely topic given recent advances in the fields of Medical Humanities and in Burns scholarship (the Centre for Robert Burns Studies at the University of Glasgow is home to the new Oxford University Press edition of the Works of Robert Burns, awarded £1.1 million by the Arts and Humanities Research Council in 2011).

The goal will be to stimulate debate and identify areas for future research.  The cost for the day is £20.

For further information and to register online go to