CFP: Special Issue of Journal for Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, ‘Literature for Young People’

Special issue: Literature for Young People

Guest editors: Chloë Hughes and Elizabeth A. Wheeler

This special issue of the JLCDS aims to bring together an international and multidisciplinary base of readers and writers who explore disability in literature published for young people.

While disability and deafness have often featured in literature for young people, their most usual role has been as a “narrative prosthesis” supporting the storyline.  Disability and Deaf literature for young readers has boomed in the twenty-first century, including bestsellers like The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-TimeThe Fault in Our StarsWonderWonderstruckAbsolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, and Out of My Mind, as well as a growing collection of texts written in or with Blissymbolics, Braille, Sign Language, or in tactile, textile, interactive, and digital formats. This special issue reconsiders the history and current urgency of disability and deafness in literature for young readers in light of this twenty-first century publishing boom.

Children are often on the front lines of the struggle over the meanings of disability. For young people both with and without disabilities, the works they encounter provide long-lasting frames of reference for understanding bodymind diversity. It is especially important that scholars well versed in disability and Deaf justice, theory, and lived experience critique this canon.

We seek articles on a wide variety of genres, including fantasy, dystopias, science fiction, graphic memoirs and novels, biography, digital forms like blogs and vlogs, “misfit romance,” “sick lit,” and superhero stories. Disabilities that only exist in fictional worlds are fair game. The guest editors are interested in submissions that cross-examine race, class, gender, and sexuality as well as disability and deafness and represent a wide cross-section of international literatures and ethnic groups.

We welcome proposals from disability and Deaf studies scholars (especially those who may not have previously written about literature for young people), but also encourage submissions from scholars of other disciplines who might lend their perspectives on using literature for young people with representations of disability to explore bodymind diversity with children and adolescents. We are also interested in intergenerational dialogues, interviews with authors and illustrators who have included protagonists with disabilities or published books for young people in accessible formats, as well as reviews of recently published young adult literature that features protagonists with disabilities. We particularly encourage submissions from scholars with the same disability as the protagonist.

Examples of content foci for this special issue of the JLCDS include, but are not limited to:

  • Disabled and Deaf characters challenging normalcy
  • Fantastic Freaks and Critical Crips in countercultural texts for young people
  • Aesthetic/artistic representations of disability in picturebooks
  • Literature for young people by Disabled or Deaf authors and illustrators
  • Beyond “narrative prosthesis”
  • Children’s and Young Adult Literature in accessible formats
  • The role /aesthetics of disability accommodations in texts for young people
  • Visibility or invisibility of Disability Rights in literature for young people
  • Intersectionality: race, gender, class, sexual orientation, gender identity
  • Representations of chronic illness and mental health
  • Biographical writing for young people—what is / is not included?
  • Critiques of didactic texts for young people on disability
  • Interviews of authors/ illustrators
  • Reviews of recently published children’s and young adult literature with representations of disability


15th April 2016: submission of a 500 word proposal for articles or 150 word proposal for reviews and a one-page curriculum vitae to guest editors at and

15th May 2016: prospective authors notified of proposal status.

1st November 2016: final versions of selected papers due to editors.

1st February 2016: finalists selected. Decisions and revisions on submissions sent to authors.

1st May 2017: final, revised papers due from finalists.


Dr. David Bolt

Editor in Chief, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies



CFP: Special Issue of Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, ‘International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness’

RiDE: the Journal of Applied Theatre & Performance

Special themed issue: International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness

Co-edited by Carrie Sandahl (University of Illinois at Chicago), Yvonne Schmidt (Zurich University of the Arts), and Mark Swetz

Advisory editor: Petra Kuppers (University of Michigan)

This themed issue of RiDE, entitled ‘International Perspectives on Performance, Disability, and Deafness’ calls for contributions that reflect on how performance, applied theatre, and drama education are responding to local or foreign conceptions, evaluations, and definitions of disability and deafness.  It will explore the traditions, conventions, and demonstrations of how diverse physical, sensorial, developmental and psychological abilities manifest in all areas of applied theatre, drama education, and performance.

This publication builds upon the themed issue: ‘On Disability: Creative Tensions in Applied Theatre’ (Volume 14, Issue 1 2009) and explores the evolution and geographically distinct notions of disability, deafness and performance in the years since that edition. We are particularly interested in featuring perspectives, examples, and voices from regions, cultures, and people who have not previously been featured or addressed in RiDE or English language discourse, practice, and scholarship.

We look forward to expanding our understanding and awareness of the context of performance and disability across nations and cultures.  We are open to any definition of disability or performance. Mindful that much of the applied theatre and educational publications on performance and disability focuses on a Western, or more specifically Anglo-American, perspective, this themed issue is designed to introduce new voices, observations, ideas, and examples into consideration.

We welcome contributions from practice, history or theory in any field or discipline.  Proposals are encouraged from international or geographically diverse performance practitioners and scholars who operate in applied and educational settings, broadly defined. The goal of this themed issue is to feature international perspectives and examples of disability and performance and to share scholarly work, reflections, and observations from around the world.

Context Setting
Performance, theatre, and dance involving disabled performers interacts with several factors: The politics of traditions, aesthetic norms or constraints, structural conditions in a performing arts system, and the societal, legal, political, and cultural status of disability. These conditions determine the ability of disabled or deaf performers to participate in performing arts practice. At the same time, disability performance reveals invisible rules inside the theater and the society.

These various interdependences between societal rules and the manifestations of disability in performing arts or applied theater practices are in the focus of the emerging research area, which combines Disability and Performance Studies. Carrie Sandahl and Philip Auslander argue in the first edited collection that connects Disability Studies and Performance Studies, Bodies in Commotion: Disability & Performance (2005), that the representation of disability on stage or as a subject of performance is intrinsically connected to the perceptions of disability in everyday life and vice versa. According to Sandahl, Western performer training excludes persons with disabilities (Sandahl 2005), and the perception of their work. Recently, the assumption that art should play a forerunner role by stating a utopia of society is challenged: Why not turn the tables?  i.e. if persons with disabilities are a self-evident part of society, how can art *not* transform rigid aesthetic conventions?

Whereas disability as a “narrative prosthesis” is always based on ableist norms and constraints (Mitchell 2002: 20), persons’ shared experiences and living conditions are also a common ground for what is called disability culture (Kuppers 2003). Tobin Siebers explores in his book Disability Aesthetics the function of disability in the context of modern art and in aesthetic judgement (2010). Only a few theorizations focus on the contextualization of disability performance within a framework of alternate cultural and ethnographical contexts (for example Hadley, Johnston, Kochhar-Lindgren, Ugarte). At the same time, the field is developing very rapidly, and emerging scholars from different part of the world are discovering research areas in their own countries. Thus, the aim of this volume is to make this emerging scholarship visible and to internationalize the existing discourses on performance and disability.

Contributions to this themed issue may be represented in a wide variety of formats, to capture and reflect the extent and range of perspectives. A variety of written journal articles are encouraged from short 1,000 word provocations to longer 5 – 7,000 word papers. We would also welcome dialogues, interviews, and practitioner reflections. Furthermore, contributors may wish to consider hybrid media responses that consist of a combination of writing and audiovisual materials, including audio or visual and filmic vignettes and commentaries on rehearsal processes, class based projects, community interventions and events, etc., which can be accessed online; if media is submitted, it should be made accessible for a variety of perceptive strategies and so include audio description and/or captioning.

It is anticipated that responses to the theme will be varied, and may consider some of the following questions:

  • How do evolving conceptions of disability or deafness locate themselves in established performance practice?
  • How is performance expanding, interrupting, or affecting local notions of disability or deafness?
  • To what extent is disability or deaf culture challenged or reconsidered by local performing arts practices?
  • How do specific geographical or cultural factors impact the intersection of performance and disability or deafness?
  • What culturally specific opportunities and tensions arise when disabled artists and audiences encroach upon conventional or traditional drama and performance?
  • How are differently abled bodies and perspectives influencing conventional performance training and education?
  • How (and what) are the prospects for performing artists who identity as disabled or deaf, particularly in a time when performance work with people with disabilities may be considered in some locations as “fashionable”?
  • How does the meeting of performance and disability or deafness demonstrate itself in the work of applied theatre educators and learners?
  • What are the histories, current states, and anticipated futures of performance and disability in your community, regional, or national context?

Proposals may also draw upon the perspectives of disability culture and disability aesthetics as well as intersectionality in context to different regions, cultures, and people.

All proposals, questions and suggestions to:

Key Dates:

Proposals: 1st February 2016
First drafts: 1st July 2016
Hybrid media responses: August and September 2016
Final copy: 1st May 2017
Publication: August 2017

RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance is a refereed journal aimed at those who are interested in applying performance practices to cultural engagement, educational innovation and social change. It provides an international forum for research into drama and theatre conducted in community, educational, developmental and therapeutic contexts. The journal offers a dissemination of completed research and research in progress, and through its Points and Practices section it encourages debate between researchers both on its published articles and on other matters. Contributions are drawn from a range of people involved in drama and theatre from around the world. It aims to bring the fruits of the best researchers to an international readership and to further debates in the rich and diverse field of educational drama and applied theatre.

Peer Review Policy:
All research articles in this journal undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and anonymized refereeing by at least two anonymous referees. All reviewers are internationally recognized in their field, and the editorial board of Research in Drama Education aims to support scholars from many different parts of the world.

CFP: Edited Collection, Disability and the Environment in 20th-Century American Literature

I am seeking manuscripts to complete an edited collection, Toward an Ecosomatic Paradigm: Disability and the Environment in American Literature, which is focused on the intersection between disability studies and literary ecology. The collection is currently under contract with Lexington Press, and I am looking to add a chapter or two that explores the collection’s theme with a particular focus on twentieth-century American literature.

As a whole, the collection investigates the role that literary ecology plays in upholding what might be called the “ecosomatic paradigm.” As a theoretical framework, the ecosomatic paradigm underscores the dynamic and inter-relational process wherein human mind-bodies interface with the places, both built and wild, they inhabit. That is, the ecosomatic paradigm proceeds from the assumption that nature and culture interact in an ongoing, dialectical relationship that has implications for both the human subject and the natural world. Because eco-literature—the stories we tell to give shape to the world and our place in it—has the potential to shape the contours of our interaction with and state-of-being in the natural world, it is profoundly implicated in the fostering or negating of the ecosomatic paradigm. By drawing on points of confluence between disability studies and ecological criticism, the essays in this collection challenge normative (even ableist) constructions of the body-environment dyad by complicating and expanding our understanding of this relationship.

With this framework as a backdrop,I am looking for complete manuscripts that investigate the interplay between disability and the environment in 20th-Century American Literature. Topics might include, but are not limited to, any of the following:

  • The overlap between disability and the environment in the canon of 20th-century American literature.
  • Representations of disability in environmental literature of the 20th Century.
  • The intersection between disability and environmental justice in 20th-century multiethnic literatures of the US.
  • The relationship between embodiment and emplacement in 20th-century American literature.
  • Disability and regional identity or disability and place studies in 20th-century American literature

This book is already under contract and is near complete, so the turnaround time to publication will be relatively quick. Please send a complete manuscript, a brief biographical note outlining your credentials (250 words), and a copy of you CV to Matthew Cella at by 1st December 2015. A decision about publication will be made shortly after the deadline. Finished manuscripts should be in the 4000-8000 word range. Please send any queries to the email listed above.

CFP: ‘The Body and Pseudoscience in the Long Nineteenth Century’, Newcastle

Newcastle University

Saturday 18th June 2016

‘Sciences we now retrospectively regard as heterodox or marginal cannot be considered unambiguously to have held that status at a time when no clear orthodoxy existed that could confer that status upon them’ (Alison Winter, 1997). The nineteenth century witnessed the drive to consolidate discrete scientific disciplines, many of which were concerned with the body. Attempts were made to clarify the boundaries between the ‘scientific’ and the ‘pseudoscientific’, between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’. This conference asks what became lost in separating the orthodox from the heterodox. What happened to the systems of knowledge and practice relating to the body that were marginalised as ‘pseudoscience’? Was knowledge and insight into the human condition lost in the process? Or is it immortalised within the literature of ‘pseudoscience’?

This interdisciplinary conference considers how different discourses of the body were imagined and articulated across a range of visual and verbal texts (including journalism, fiction, popular science writing, illustration) in order to evaluate how ‘pseudoscience’ contributed both to understandings of the body and what it is to be human and to the formation of those disciplines now deemed orthodox.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Acting on the body – the body as a site of experimentation and scientific contestation
  • Pseudoscience and the gendered body
  • The entranced body as the conduit for knowledge of the self
  • The ‘scientifically’ prescribed body – an attempt to rationalise the irrational?
  • ‘Pseudoscience’ and the speculative nature of ‘science’
  • Scientific disciplines – a move towards self-authentication and professionalization or a loss of universal truth?
  • Pseudoscience and abnormality
  • The discourse of gender in the séance room
  • Visual interpretations of the ‘pseudoscientific’
  • Victorian periodicals / popular science journals and ‘pseudoscience’ of the body
  • Reading the body – fiction immortalising the pseudoscientific
  • The attraction of the ‘pseudoscientific’ for C19 poets and novelists
  • Visual interpretations of the ‘pseudoscientific’

Please email a 250 to 300 word abstract, together with a brief biography, by 31st January 2016.

C. L. Oakley Lecture: Thomas Dixon, ‘Healing Tears: Crying for Your Health in Modern British Culture’, Leeds

The C.L. Oakley Lecture in Medicine and the Arts:

Thomas Dixon (QMUL) – Tuesday 27th October, 5.30-7pm

Maurice Keyworth Lecture Theatre (G.02), Leeds University Business School

This lecture will trace the cultural history of medical ideas about tears and weeping in Britain since the early modern period. From the Shakespearean age to the present, medical theories about tears and emotions have shaped, and been shaped by, prevailing attitudes in the wider culture. So, whether we juxtapose the bloody tragedy Titus Andronicus with Timothy Bright’s 1586 Treatise on Melancholy, George III’s medical reports with sentimental novels like the Man of Feeling, audience responses to the 1945 movie Brief Encounter with mid-twentieth century Freudian ideas, or Arhur Janov’s primal therapy with the pop music of the 1970s and ‘80s, the cross-fertilisation of medical theory and the arts is repeatedly evident. The lecture will emphasise the power of both time and place to make the emotional weather, showing that not only nations but also individual regions, such as Yorkshire, can have their own distinctive climate, when it comes to tears and feelings.

Dr Thomas Dixon is a historian of science, medicine, philosophy, and religion. His most recent research has explored the history and meanings of emotional tears in British culture, leading to the publication last month of his book Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (Oxford University Press, 2015). He is the director of the Centre for the History of the Emotions at Queen Mary University of London, where he and his colleagues have recently been awarded a new grant by the Wellcome Trust for a major collaborative research project entitled ‘Living With Feeling: Emotional Health in History, Philosophy, and Experience’.

A reception will follow. For more information, please contact Stuart Murray ( or Greg Radick (


Disability History Conference, London Metropolitan Archives, 27th November

Disability and Impairment: a Technological Fix?

London Metropolitan Archives, 40, Northampton Road, London, EC1R 0HB

Friday 27th November 2015, 11:00 to 16:30 (GMT)

£10 (bring a picnic)

Booking / Information:

Part of Disability History Month and linked to the King Edward’s Fund Archive project at LMA, this conference will feature a range of speakers including community groups, heritage organisations and academics discussing the theme of technological change and the portrayal of disability then and now. If you have any accessibility requirements please let us know.


Session 1   Projects and Perspectives   11:00 -12:30

 11:00           Peter Fuzuesi: The Technological Fix in Time

11:10           Tom Hayes: A History of the Disability Discrimination Act

11:30           Leonard Cheshire Disability:  “Given the Tools There is No Limit to What Disabled People Can Achieve”

11:50           Sue Ledger: “How Come We Didn’t Know this Happened?”

12:10           All: Q & A

 12:30-13:20 Lunch

 Session 2 Imagery and Portrayals  13:20-14:40

 13:20   Langdon Down Museum: The Depiction of Learning Disability in Art Film, and Photography

13:40   Richard Riser: Examining Representation of Disabled People. Are We Making Progress in Moving Image Media?

14:00   Simon Jarret: From Hogarth to Vagabondiana: Impairment and Mobility in the Eighteenth Century

14:20   All: Q & A

 14:40-15:00 Break

 Session 3   New Research   15:00-16:30

 15:00  The National Archives: The Medical Technology Blog

15:10   Benjamin Szreter: Technology Change as Disabling: the Blind and Deaf in Victorian Britain, 1851-1901

15:20   Claire Jones: Modern Prostheses in Anglo-American Commodity cultures

15:30    Caroline Lieffers: The Industrial Honour of Our Country

15:40   Jane Seale: Were 20th Century Computers a Technological Fix for People with Learning Disabilities? Uncovering the Ignored Answers

16:00   Maria Oshodi: Flatland

16:10   All: Q & A

CFP: Autism and Comedy Symposium, University of Kent

Call for Papers: Autism and Comedy Symposium

Saturday 30th January 2016, University of Kent

Since its description by Hans Asperger in 1944, it has often been suggested that individuals on the autistic spectrum lack, or have an impaired, sense of humour. This alleged humourlessness has been challenged in recent decades within the academic literature (e.g. Lyons & Fitzgerald 2004, Samson 2013) but it is still a pervasive myth. Moreover, the work of people such as the U.S. comedy troupe Aspergers Are Us and the UK based performer Cian Binchy suggests a strong and distinctive comic voice within the autistic/aspie community. Importantly, these performers use comedy as a mode of self-representation, and thus contrast strikingly with other representations of autism in popular comedy. Both The Big Bang Theory and Derek have been criticised by some for their representation of autistic characters (Sheldon and Derek, respectively) despite the writers’ firm assertions that those characters do not have the condition. In this way, such representations are implicated in questions of authorial intention and the ethics of, to use Kaite O’Reilly’s term, ‘cripping up’. Further questions arise when looking at the use of humour in applied theatre contexts – many drama interventions for autistic children use humour, but there is little research on how much this component contributes to the positive effect of the work.

The organisers of this conference welcome papers on any of the symposium themes with possible topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Autism and humour comprehension/appreciation/production
  • The ethics of the representation of autistic people in comedy (e.g. The Big Bang Theory, Derek, Community)
  • Relaxed performances as a method of opening up comic theatre
  • Disabling humour vs. disability humour and autism
  • The use of humour in interventions for autistic children
  • Political humour and the claims of the neurodiversity movement

Please send an abstract of around 300 words, along with a short biography, to Shaun May at by Tuesday 1st November 2015.

Confirmed invited speakers include Prof. Michael Fitzgerald (TCD), Kelly Hunter (Author of Shakespeare’s Heartbeat: Drama Games for Children with Autism) and Cian Binchy (performer and writer of The Misfit Analysis) with more to be announced.

This symposium is part of BA/Leverhulme funded project, Comedy on the Spectrum: Exploring Humour Production with Adolescents with Autism. For more information about the project visit

Call for Papers for a Special Forum on Disability & Aging, The Review of Disability Studies

Call for Papers for a special forum on Disability and Aging for the Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal.

This is a timely topic because population aging is taking place in nearly all countries across the globe and, by mid-century, older persons are projected to exceed the number of children for the first time ever (UN, 2013). Within reports published by global governing bodies, disability is routinely assumed and directly referenced as a consequence of population aging. Although powerful in their potential to direct support to targeted issues, such reports may also contribute to a “crisis rhetoric” (Kennedy, 2002, p. 226) that rests on an “inappropriate conflation” (Chivers, 2011, p. 22) between disability and aging, which begins with the assumption that all older people are disabled by virtue of their being old. Such conflation has implications for public policy and entitlement to services and supports. Furthermore, research, policy and practice have tended to treat disability as a product of unsuccessful aging, and aging as an obstacle to living well with a disability. There is a paucity of research that explores the nuances and complexities of the relationship between disability and aging (Freedman, 2014).

Papers considered may take the form of academic and creative works, as well as reflections on international disability-specific policies, practices, pedagogies and developments.

Please click here to download the remainder of the announcement including a list of suggested topics for exploration and detailed submission requirements through the RDS online submission system at

Please note that the deadline for submission of papers is 31st October 2015. If you have further questions please contact the Special Guest Editors Dr. Katie Aubrecht and Dr. Tamara Krawchenko

CFP: Philosophy of Disability (with $3000 prize)

Philosophy of Disability

Deadline for Submission: 1st February 2016

Prize: $3,000

Call for Papers
Res Philosophica invites papers on the topic of the philosophy of disability for the 2016 Res Philosophica Essay Prize and a special issue of the journal. The author of the winning paper will receive a prize of $3,000, and the paper will be published in the associated special issue of the journal on the same topic. Submissions for the prize will be automatically considered for publication in the journal’s special issue unless otherwise requested.

Submissions addressing any of the many philosophical questions about disability are welcome. Topics may involve issues in, for example, ethics, social and political philosophy, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of law, history of philosophy, or feminist philosophy. The following questions represent merely a small sample of the questions that might be addressed in papers related to the theme of this special issue:

What is the nature of disability? Are there different types or kinds of disability? Are challenges faced by persons with disabilities wholly or primarily due to social prejudice against them?

What implications does disability have for theories of wellbeing? Theories of justice? For example: Might accounting for disability require us to reject distributive theories of justice?

What can recent psychological work on disability teach us about moral responsibility? To what degree do our ethical obligations towards a person depend on his or her capacities?

How should we think about the testimony of disabled persons concerning whether they would prefer to be disabled or non-disabled? Would discounting it, for example, involve a sort of epistemic injustice?

How should disability affect how we understand agency in general, or free agency? Does disability affect capacitarian or essentialist views of human nature?

These are only a few of the many topics papers might address. Papers that address other topics in the philosophy of disability are welcome.

Accepted papers will be published with invited papers by Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Adam Cureton, Jennifer Hawkins, Eva Kittay, and Anita Silvers.

Submissions will be triple anonymously reviewed. (First, authors do not know the identity of the referees, second, referees do not know the identity of the authors, and third, editors do not know the identity of the authors.) Please format your submission so that it is suitable for anonymous review. (Instructions are available here.)

We do not normally publish papers longer than 12,000 words long (including footnotes).

We prefer submissions in pdf format, though we will Microsoft Word documents. Papers may be submitted in any standard style, but authors of accepted papers will be required to edit their papers according to the journal’s style, which follows The Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition). Style instructions are available here.

Please use the online submission form for submitting your essay, available here.