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May 17, 2009

Call for Papers: Disability and Life Writing

Call for Papers

Special Issue of Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

Human Conditions: Disability and Life Writing
Guest Editor, G. Thomas Couser

Papers welcome on any aspect of this broad topic.  I wish to encourage
breadth across time, across cultures, and across media: thus, “life
writing” should be understood to include non- print media (such as blogs)
and even non- written forms of representation, such as documentary film,
YouTube videos, and more.  The following questions, then, are meant to be provocative and suggestive, rather than exhaustive.

  • How have recent developments in media affected representation of disability?
  • How has the growth of self- publishing (which effectively bypasses any editorial gate- keepers) affected representation of disability?
  • Are new categories of disability being represented? How “representative” (inclusive) is the representation of disability in life writing? That is, has life writing showcased some disabilities or impairments and tended to eclipse others?
  • Are developmental disabilities adequately represented, both
    qualitatively and quantitatively, in life writing?
  • Also, how diverse is the representation of disability in life writing in terms of ethnicity, race, and national origin? How does the  representation of disability in life writing vary from nation to nation, culture to culture? That is, have some cultures been more receptive to it than others?
  • Is there significant disability life writing before Helen Keller’s?

Pre- submission inquiries welcome.

Proposals to G.T.Couser@hofstra.eduby 1 September 2009, complete
papers by 14 February 2010.

Professor G. Thomas Couser
(rhymes with browser)
Founding Director, Disability Studies
Department of English
204 Mason Hall
Hofstra University
Hempstead, NY 11549
(516) 463- 6743

(h/t Kelly Hills, Lit&Med_ASBH Listserv)


Friend of MH Blog and erstwhile guest-blogger Kelly Hills notes:

This is an interesting topic, and something that I've thought about off and on - especially seeing your connection with the disability blog carnivals.

Something that "they've" said about the internet, for about as long as I can remember, is that it "allows" people who might never meet up with one another in real life to find one another and reaffirm and support what "normal" society may consider odd choices or decisions. Obviously this was originally applied to fetishes and kinks that a lot of folks would consider socially unacceptable ("oh the internet is just validating your strangeness!"), but over the years I've seen it applied to just about everything - including vaccination fears and people who want to embrace disabilities much further than the medical community, including those who're downright offended at the idea that medicine is seeking to "cure" them (I'm thinking in particular of neuro issues here).

I wonder if the internet is making it easier for voices that might have not been heard, otherwise, to congregate and create larger groups with more power/voice, which turns around to at least get them noticed, if not lend credence to the ideas that they are promoting.



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