Literature and Cognitive Difference: SAMLA Convention 2013 (CFP)

8th-10th November 2013, Altanta, Georgia

Mark Osteen, Society for Critical Exchange

Literature and Cognitive Difference

Accompanying the popular recent attention to autism and neurological disorders has been the publication of numerous novels and nonfiction works by and about persons with such disabilities. The list includes Oliver Sacks’s scientific tales, Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jayne Anne Phillips’s Lark and Termite, Richard Powers’s The Echo Maker, Paul and Judy Karasik’s The Ride Together, and others. The emergence of the neurodiversity movement has provided new perspectives and paradigms for scholars in the field.

For this panel I seek essays on fictional and non-fictional texts by or about persons with autism, traumatic brain injury, amnesia, intellectual impairment, and other neurological differences. How do these texts represent memory, identity and consciousness? What innovative formal devices do their authors employ to render the disabled person’s point of view? How do texts narrated from outside the disabled person’s point of view generate empathy or understanding? I am especially interested in papers on contemporary works, but will consider essays on earlier texts such as The Sound and the Fury and the like, if they address cognitive disability, preferably from a Disability Studies standpoint. Send a 250-word abstract and brief CV to Mark Osteen, by May 15, 2013.

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