CFP: ‘Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies’, Liverpool Hope

Location: Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University

Date: 3rd – 4th July 2019

Deadline for abstracts: 1st February 2019

Keynote Speakers:

  • Prof Tanya Titchkosky, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Dr Laurence Clark, Independent, UK

Interdisciplinarity is increasingly recognised as pivotal in the academy, as reflected in the work of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies (CCDS), whose major collaborations include the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, the book series Literary Disability Studies, and the multi-volume project A Cultural History of Disability. Although far from straightforward in practice, the premise of the CCDS is that interdisciplinarity leads to curricular reform that itself leads to changes in social attitudes. Growing appreciation of disability studies across the fields and disciplines ultimately contributes to the erosion of ableism and disablism in culture and society, from which there grows both space and opportunity for non-normative achievements and aspirations.

The organisers of the 5th biennial CCDS conference welcome proposals from academics, students, and other interested parties for papers that explore the benefits of interdisciplinarity between Disability Studies and subjects such as Aesthetics, Art, Business Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Education Studies, Film Studies, Genre Studies, History, Holocaust Studies, International Studies, Literary Studies, Literacy Studies, Management Studies, Media Studies, Medical Humanities, Museum Studies, Philosophy, Professional Studies, Special Educational Needs, Technology, and Women’s Studies. This list is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

Paper proposals of 150-200 words should be sent to on or before 1st February 2019.

Paper presentations are allocated 20 minute slots and themed panels of 3 papers are encouraged.

The organisers are indebted to previous keynote speakers Julie Allan, Len Barton, Peter Beresford, Fiona Kumari Campbell, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Dan Goodley, Robert McRuer, David T. Mitchell, Stuart Murray, Katherine Runswick-Cole, and Sharon L. Snyder, whose presentations have led this project and in some cases are now freely available on the CCDS YouTube channel.

CFP: ‘Working together: collaboration beyond the academy in research in dementia and culture’, London

Location:Institute of Modern Languages Research, Senate House, London
Date: Friday 23rd November 2018
Deadline for abstracts: 30th September 2018
Working together: collaboration beyond the academy in research in dementia and culture. A Dementia and Cultural Narrative Network event.

Organisers: Dr Sarah Falcus (University of Huddersfield) and Dr Raquel Medina (Aston University)

Those working in the broad area of dementia and cultural narrative are very likely to cross disciplinary boundaries and engage with the research challenges and opportunities such boundary crossing involves. For Humanities scholars, this may mean moving beyond the academy to work with healthcare professionals, dementia support organisations, families and carers, and people with dementia. From large international collaborative projects to small-scale local partnerships, academics and non-academics are working together in the area of dementia and cultural narrative to advance research that has real-world impact. This one-day event aims to showcase and discuss this research, with the aim of sharing best practice.

We welcome academics, healthcare professionals, service users and others to contribute to this event.

Keynote speaker: Dr Andrea Capstick, Senior Lecturer in Dementia Studies, University of Bradford

We do welcome traditional 15-minute papers, but we are particularly interested in proposals for alternative formats such as workshops, round tables and activity-based sessions. Length for these can be negotiated. We also welcome posters. Do contact the event organisers if you would like to discuss an alternative format.

Areas that may be addressed include, but are not limited to:
  • Putting people with dementia at the heart of research;
  • Working with families and carers;
  • Methodological unfamiliarity: challenges and opportunities;
  • Innovative ideas emerging from collaborative projects;
  • Empirical research and the humanities;
  • Negotiating institutional barriers and opportunities;
  • Working across countries and cultures;
  • Questions of ethics.
Please feel free to propose other topics.
Please send 300-word abstracts along with a biographical note to by 30th September 2018.

Dementia and Culture Narrative Network:

CFP: ‘Interrogating the Past and Shaping the Future of Mental Health Rhetoric Research’, RHM

CFP: Rhetoric of Health and Medicine, 2020 Special Issue

“Interrogating the Past and Shaping the Future of Mental Health Rhetoric Research”

Deadline for abstracts: 1st December 2018

In the inaugural issue of the Rhetoric of Health & Medicine (RHM) J. Fred Reynolds (2018) offered a “A Short History of Mental Health Rhetoric Research (MHRR)” in which he compellingly documented the “significant body of work applying the tools and terms of rhetoric to the world of mental health” that emerged in the 1980s and continues today, if in fits and starts (p. 1). Reynolds’ history raises important questions on how the issues and challenges unique to MHRR create space for the field to set a specific agenda for its development—to make explicit the major epistemological assumptions, the key questions, and the various vantage points that will undergird the future of this important area of inquiry.

As each iteration of the DSM proliferates diagnostic categories and protocols, as various constituents comment on the status of mental health around the globe, and as mental health-related words and phrases enter solidly and uncritically into healthcare practices and popular lexicons, the importance of MHRR is undeniable. While a number of fields study issues of mental health from a humanistic perspective, rhetorical research on mental health distinguishes itself through a focus on discursive and symbolic communication, especially acts of persuasion and identification. Rhetorical approaches are not limited to textual analysis, however, and also account for factors like social conditions, identity, embodiment, power relations, location, materiality, and circulation. MHRR attends to the rhetorics of neuroscience, medicine, and psychiatry in connection with their cultural warrants; places judgments of in/sanity in rhetorical-historical context; follows mental health categories and diagnoses through clinical, professional, and personal settings; considers representations of mental health in medical and professional documents as well as popular media; and connects rhetorical appeals to strategies of activism and advocacy.

In the past, rhetoricians have studied issues of mental health from a variety of (inter)disciplinary angles: technical/professional writing vantages (Reynolds, Mair, & Fischer; Berkenkotter; Holladay); critiques of the linguistic entanglements of the professionals who seek to treat mental health (McCarthy & Gerring; Berkenkotter & Ravotas); examinations of how publics encounter and make sense of mental difference (Leweicki-Wilson; Segal; Emmons; J. Johnson; Price; D. Johnson Thornton); and through studies of “patients’” discursive behaviors (Prendergast; Molloy; Uthappa). The 2020 special issue of Rhetoric of Health & Medicine will ask writers to engage this important body of research as well as scholarship in RHM more generally, but it will also ask writers to make connections between this area of emphasis and related bodies of scholarship (such as disability studies) and to productively critique, challenge and extend this work.

As MHRR moves forward, this special issue of Rhetoric of Health & Medicine seeks to present RHM’s growing readership with some thoughtful perspectives to consider, for example:

Contemporary Nomenclature

  • What are the exigencies and consequences of labeling a set of behaviors Illnesses? Disorders? Disabilities?
  • What are the dominant models for conceptualizing and treating mental health conditions, and what appeals are used to support them rhetorically? What individuals, organizations, or communities resist the dominant models and/or suggest alternative ways of addressing mental health conditions?
  • Should rhetoricians work to end unhelpful labels or to aid in the amelioration of mental illness symptoms?
  • How do neurorhetorics relate to mental health rhetoric research? Are these things synonymous? Complementary? Adversarial?
  • How do discourses surrounding mental health patients’ compliance/ adherence/ concordance with treatment plans and protocols impact quality of care?

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)

  • How might rhetoricians illuminate the changes that occurred in diagnostic categories and criteria between the DSM IV-TR and the DSM V? Between other versions? Between the DSM and the ICD?
  • How might a MHRR scholar bring important insight to ancillary DSM texts and diagnostic tools, such as case books, guidebooks, and protocols?
  • What might MHRR challenge the ubiquity and power of the DSM? What alternatives for diagnostic precision might MHRR and technical communicators offer?

Clinical Practice

  • What can MHRR learn from case histories, patient records and other artifacts from clinical practice?
  • What might we learn from patient “noncompliance?”
  • How might MHRR contribute directly to bodies of knowledge (in psychology, social work, psychiatry, etc.) that inform clinical practice?
  • What exigencies drive pharmacological interventions?
  • What insights might MHRR lend to critical discussions of clinical conversations

Institutional spaces and places

  • What insights might rhetorical lenses add to the deinstitutionalization movement and to the wider publics that continue to support or critique it?
  • How might MHRR intervene in or comment usefully on the penal system’s encounters with mental difference?
  • What is the relationship between the “mental hospital” as a monolith and a real, brick-and-mortar site?

Intersectional Perspectives on Mental Health

  • How can intersectional approaches to academic research add critical depth to studies in MHRR?
  • In what ways do experiences of race, disability, gender, sexuality, class, and other marginalized identities affect the rhetoric of mental health?
  • How do such experiences and identities affect the delivery of mental health and psychiatric treatment?

Disability and MHRR

  • How might theories and scholarship from disability studies inflect MHRR, including studies of normativity, disabled embodiment, disability policy, social stigma, and disability justice?
  • What are the intersections between mental health rhetorics and disability rhetorics?
  • What can rhetoricians add to the neurodiversity movement? What are the limits of neuroatypicalities?
  • Where can rhetorical theory help illuminate and analyze the lived experiences of people with mental and psychiatric disabilities?

Mental Health in Public(s)

  • What models of public rhetoric and public health might be usefully employed to investigate the rhetoric of mental health?
  • How does medical rhetoric about mental health figure into debates on public policy related to education, social welfare, employment, and the criminal justice system?
  • Where can MHRR make connections between discourses of mental health and its representations in popular media such as fiction, television, film, and social media?
  • How can MHRR illuminate the processes through which people are interpellated into self-diagnoses in non-clinical forums and media?

These themes are meant to be generative rather than exhaustive. Please do propose essays and hybrid pieces that extend, challenge or otherwise engage with this call in unexpected ways. The editors and guest editors look forward to reading proposals for traditional academic articles, but are also eager to hear your ideas for other RHM genres—persuasion briefs, dialogues, commentaries, and review essays.  If you are new to this topic or work in a field outside rhetoric, we encourage you to consider reading Fred Reynolds’ 2018 article on MHRR mentioned above and reviewing some of the research listed in the bibliography below.

This special issue will be co-edited by Cathryn Molloy & Drew Holladay in consultation with the RHM co-editors. Special issue proposals will be reviewed and ranked by the journal’s editorial board, and manuscripts will undergo the same rigorous peer review process as regular submissions.

Cathryn & Drew are very willing to answer email queries: and

Please email 500-1000 word proposals (excluding citations) to by 10th December 2018.

Completed manuscripts for accepted proposals will be due 25th March 2018.

CFP: ‘Representations of Deafness in Literature and Culture’, JLCDS

Call for Papers, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Special issue: Representations of deafness in literature and culture

Guest editors: Christopher Krentz and Rebecca Sanchez

Abstract deadline: 15th July 2019

What does deafness mean in societies commonly centered on speech and hearing?  Throughout human history, deaf people have been a small but significant presence on the social margins.  How have deaf people been depicted, and how have they depicted themselves?  How have sign languages figured in the equation?  What happens when deafness is used as a trope in a literary work even if no physically deaf people are present?  What is the relationship between representations and deaf people’s material status in a society?  If, as Tobin Siebers argues, “different bodies require and create new modes of representation,” then what forms and processes of representation emerge in deaf contexts?  For this special issue of JLCDS we seek articles that explore the ways deafness and deaf people have been represented in literature, film, or other media and how these presentations might expand our understandings of representation itself.

Contributors might investigate what these stories reveal (or don’t) about deaf experience and what they index about questions of communication, normality, and minority cultures. Since the 1990s, scholars such as Lennard J. Davis, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Dirksen Bauman, Jennifer Esmail, Jennifer Nelson, Kristen Harmon, Edna Sayers, and John Lee Clark have shown what a fruitful area of inquiry this can be.  How might we extend or revise their findings?

Other possible topics:

  • Representations that have been largely hidden/overlooked but have great value. What and whose stories are not being represented and what does it mean to read for these absences?
  • Medieval, Renaissance, or other historical representations, and how the representation relates to its historical moment and to today.
  • International deaf identities.
  • Deaf of color stories, deaf gender stories, deaf trans stories, deaf immigrant stories, deaf queer stories, deaf disability stories, deaf stories of class: To what extent is deafness represented/presented/storied (or not) as intersectional?
  • Considerations of what changes when deaf people write for themselves or portray deaf characters in films or on the stage.
  • The ethics and politics around hiring #deaftalent.
  • The tradition of hearing actors portraying deaf characters.
  • The significance of language in representation. What does it mean to be (always? only?) represented in a language (and/or linguistic modality) that is not one’s own?
  • The relationship between representation and (intended) audience.
  • Considerations of which stories about deafness are covered by contemporary mainstream media outlets and what effects this has on the lives of deaf people.
  • The relationship between genre and meaning.  How is poetry different from prose?  Fiction from nonfiction?  What is the relationship between genre and representation?
  • Which stories about deafness have been retold multiple times? What investments does that suggest?
  • The accessibility of contemporary media featuring stories of/by/about deaf people to deaf and other disabled audiences.


15th July 2019: submission of a 500-word proposal for articles or a 150-word proposal for reviews and a one-page curriculum vitae to the guest editors at and

August 2019: prospective authors notified of proposal status.

February 2020: Full versions of selected papers due to editors.

May 2020: Finalists selected.  Decisions and revisions on submissions sent to authors.

August 2020: Final, revised papers due.