Mad Studies Reading Group, Edinburgh

Date: 4-5pm, Tuesday 8th January 2019

Location: Staff Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building (CMB), University of Edinburgh, 15a George Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9LD.

Academics, activists, or the generally intrigued are welcome to join us for the first meeting of Edinburgh’s Mad Studies Reading Group. ‘Mad Studies’ aims to centre the experiences of people with lived experience of mental distress and to critique dominant theoretical models of mental health and distress in the psy-disciplines (psychiatry, psychology, and related professions). This first reading group meeting will be a chance to brainstorm ideas for a discussion group we would like to roll out in 2019. We’re hoping to create a safe(r) space to discuss theory, literature, culture, and share some of our experiences as researchers, students, and/or people with personal experience of mental distress. We hope for the group to bring in critical thinking of Madness and its intersections, including race, disability, class, sexuality, gender, and colonialism. This space is open to those with little to no knowledge of Mad Studies as well as those who are more familiar with it.

The meeting will take place from 4-5pm on Tuesday 8th January 2019 in the Staff Room, Chrystal Macmillan Building (CMB), The University of Edinburgh, 15a George Square EH8 9LD. There is lift access to the room. There are gender neutral, wheelchair accessible toilets. There is free parking in George Square for Blue Badge holders. If you require any assistance with locating the venue or accessing the room, please let us know. If you’re interested in attending, we kindly ask that you please RSVP so we have a sense of numbers for catering purpose. There will be tea and coffee making facilities, snacks and soft drinks. You can register to attend via the Eventbrite page.

If you’re not able to make the meeting but would like to stay in the loop, please send us an email and we will make a note of your email address and circulate any meeting notes and information regarding future discussion groups.

Prior to meeting, we encourage you to have a closer look at Mad Studies as a discipline, to get us thinking about some of the themes we might like to incorporate in our discussion group. You can access a PDF of the first reading by clicking on the link: “Introducing Mad Studies”, from Mad Matters (2013) by Robert Menzie, Brenda A. LeFrancois, and Geoffrey Reaume. We will focus on pages 1-10.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact Sarah at If there is anything we can do to make this or future meetings more accessible, please be in touch.

We hope to hear from you and look forward to meeting with you in January.

Best wishes,
Sarah, Kirsten and Nicole

CFP: Research Symposium on Global Genetic Fictions, Leeds

Date: 25th-26th April 2019

Deadline for abstracts: Friday 21st December 2018

Location: Weetwood Hall, University of Leeds

CFP: Research Symposium, Global Genetic Fictions, Weetwood Hall, University of Leeds, 25-26 April 2019

As genetic science develops at breakneck speed, cultural representations register in their form and content changing ideas about the self and personhood, consciousness, behaviour and motivation, heredity, and the boundaries of the human body. And yet, ‘western’ science is only one of a number of frameworks that provide explanations for these phenomena. Knowledge, assumptions and beliefs about what a gene is and what the human genome is, about inheritance, kinship, who owns the body, its parts and ‘data’, are not universal but are culturally produced, culturally interpreted, and culturally situated. For many indigenous communities, for instance, genes may be understood as ‘the ancestors within’ (Grace 1998), a perspective generating different philosophical questions from those raised by ‘western’ scientific frameworks about the make-up of the self and different ethical priorities regarding genetic research.
In this symposium we seek to bring together two recent currents in contemporary biocultural scholarship: a) critical engagement with the representation of ideas from genetic science in media and cultural texts; and b) the development of postcolonial approaches to biomedicine and the life sciences, which interrogate the cultural biases and structural inequalities inherent in these fields. We shall explore the representation of genetic discourse in literature, film, news media, popular culture and philosophy across cultures, and will pay particular attention to representations from the global South.

Confirmed speakers: Prof. Jay Clayton, Vanderbilt; Prof. Clare Hanson, Southampton; Dr Josie Gill, Bristol; Dr Shital Pravinchandra, QMUL; Dr Jerome De Groot, Manchester; Dr Jenny Bangham, Cambridge; Dr Lucy Burke, Manchester Met; Dr Lara Choksey, Exeter.

Topics for consideration may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How creative works from around the world engage with scientific concepts of the gene, genomics, epigenetics, as well as related ideas including human variation, inheritance and ancestry;
  • How genes, the human genome, heredity, and ownership of genetic information are conceptualised across different cultural frameworks;
  • How cultural texts are both influenced by, and help to shape understandings of, genetic science;
  • How cultural texts negotiate questions of identity (including race, disability, gender, sexuality, and species) in relation to genetics;
  • Representations of genetic research, including its methodologies, dissemination, and ethics;
  • Postcolonial/decolonial/indigenous approaches to the legal, ethical, regulatory, and market frameworks of the life sciences;
  • The relationships between genre, form and genetic representations.

We welcome perspectives from disciplines including literary studies, film studies, history, law, media and cultural studies, critical and cultural theory, philosophy, postcolonial studies, critical medical humanities, disability studies, and bioethics. We are also keen to include participation from creative practitioners (writers, filmmakers, visual artists, performance artists) whose work engages with genetic science, and welcome proposals for creative sessions (film screenings, readings, performances, art exhibits).

Please submit 300-word proposals plus a short bio (100 words) to Clare Barker at We also have a limited number of spaces for non-speaking participants; if you would like to attend please submit a short description (200 words max) of how the symposium relates to your field of research, creative or professional practice. The closing date for submissions is Friday 21 December 2018.

This symposium is part of a University of Leeds research project on ‘Genetics and Biocolonialism in Contemporary Literature and Film’ and is funded by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award [grant number 106839/Z/15/Z]. Attendance is free and catering will be provided for all delegates. Accommodation and travel expenses will be covered for all invited speakers.

CFP: Edited Collection, ‘Disability and the Media: Other Bodies’

Deadline: Friday 21st December 2018

Call for chapter proposals for the edited collection Disability and the Media: Other Bodies on the themes of disability, bodies, media and representation in Asia.

Disability and the Media is edited by Diana Garrisi (JC School of Film and Television Arts, Xi’an Jiaotong Liverpool University) and Jacob Johanssen (Communication and Media Research Institute, University of Westminster). It is under contract with Routledge and due to be published 2019 in the Routledge Research in Disability and Media Studies series.

Using a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches this volume  encompasses an array of media forms including cinema, newspapers, television, advertising and social media. This book has several purposes. It critically discusses the relationship between self-representation and representations in either reinforcing or debunking myths around disability and othering. It explores the cultural, political and commercial basis for why media can negatively portray some people as intrinsically different. Finally, it suggests that the dynamic relationship between traditional and new media and the blurred lines between forms of representation and self-representation in new media can make it more difficult to continue framing ability and disability as mutually exclusive categories, and therefore cast the latter as unwanted. The book presents instances of a possible, slow cultural shift in favour of non-dichotomic views on ability and disability increasingly represented as fluid and necessary conditions characterizing the essence of each human being.

We are specifically interested in chapters that focus on Asia and its different countries in relation to the themes of the book.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:

  • Affective labour of bodies
  • Auto-ethnographic accounts of the body in / through digital media
  • Celebrity bodies and the spectacles of transformation
  • Cinema and disability
  • Contemporary coverage of disability in print/online/television/radio
  • De-colonizing and de-westernising the mediated body
  • Disability and advertising
  • Disability and race
  • Disability and the media: historical perspectives
  • (Dis)Empowerments of the disabled body
  • Journalism and practices of othering the body
  • Neoliberalism, policy and austerity politics
  • Reality television and the body
  • Representing wounds and scars
  • Researching bodies and the media: frameworks and methodologies
  • Stigma and the body
  • Posthumanist and non-representational frameworks
  • The abject body
  • The body and trauma
  • The mediated body as spectacle
  • The medicalised body in the media
  • The objectification of the disabled body in the media

We invite submissions of 200-250 words chapter proposals.

Deadline: Friday 21st December 2018.

Submissions should also include:

  • Title of chapter
  •  Author name/s, institutional details
  • Corresponding author’s email address
  • Keywords (no more than 5)
  • A short bio

Please send chapters to and 

Commissioned chapters are around 5,000 words. The fact that an abstract is accepted does not guarantee publication of the final manuscript. All chapters submitted will be judged on the basis of a double-blind reviewing process.