CFP: Symposium *Cripping emotions, queering notions of humanity* (24th Nov 2011, MMU)

Critical Disability Studies Symposium *Cripping emotions, queering notions of humanity*

FREE! symposium hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University

Date: 24th November 2011 ~ 10am – 3pm

Venue: Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University. Lecture room to be announced.

This symposium seeks to explore assumptions of emotions and emotional practices from perspectives of disability studies, sexuality studies, gender studies and animal studies. This call for papers seeks contributions around the following areas:

  • Understanding normative and counternormative expressions of emotions
  • Making sense of and challenging politics of emotions
  • Exploring assumpted links between love and sexual and/or reproductive practices
  • Exploring changing norms of emotional practices through time and space
  • Exploring when a specific emotional expression becomes an expression of non/humanity
  • Examining the ways in which normative assumptions of emotions and emotional practices function on the level of the everyday / mundane
  • Bringing together ideas from the human and social sciences and humanities

Keynote speakers will include Hanna Bertilsdotter Rosqvist (Guest researcher at CDS@MMU, Post-doctoral Research Associate in Sociology & Gender studies, Umeå university, Sweden)

Deadline for paper abstracts: 22nd October 2011.

Submit abstracts via email to Hanna Bertilsdotter RosqvistHanna.Bertilsdotter@soc.umu.se or Dan Goodleyd.goodley@mmu.ac.uk

DRF News, Events and Conferences

Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane 2011: A Conference Report

[thanks to DRF member Jenny Slater for this conference report]

Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane: 2nd International conference

(14th-15th September 2011) by Jenny Slater

A memory: It is the night before Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane 2010. I am in my third year of my undergraduate degree. Tomorrow, I’m going to a proper academic conference, with proper grown-up academics. “What the hell do people wear to conferences?” I ask my friend. “I dunno”, she answers, “maybe a suit or summit?” “you reckon? I don’t have anything like that!” I bumble something together, and hope nobody will notice the hole in the elbow of my ‘smart’ jumper. To my relief/surprise/delight, I didn’t have to worry as my first taste of a keynote speaker at an academic conference was someone whipping off his shirt to make a point about the diversity of bodies; nobody was looking at my holey jumper. Come forward 16 months, I’m now a PhD Student at MMU and fond memories of the 2010 conference meant my hopes for Theorizing Normalcy and the Mundane 2011 were high. It didn’t disappoint.

The conference kicked off with the DRF’s very own Rebecca Mallett warning us of the dangers of ‘buying new normals’ – a sentiment echoed later in the day by Alison Wilde in her paper, ‘Almost Normal?’. Rebecca issued us with a call to arms: we should be troubling normativity, rather than buying into new axes of normativity – a fitting start. The only downside to such a rich programme of speakers is the difficult decisions between parallel sessions. Getting my chairing and speaking duties out of the way early, however, my first choice was made for me and I attended the Child, Youth and Family session. Harriet Cooper was the first to take up Rebecca’s gauntlet, giving a fascinating paper detailing the late nineteenth century’s construction of the ‘normal child’ and using the example of Channel 4’s Born to be Different documentary series to argue the continuing prevalence of normativity in relation to childhood. James Rice followed. James’ paper detailed online message board responses to an interview with a pregnant disabled woman in Iceland and highlighted the normative assumptions that continue to surround conceptions of ‘the family’, stimulating much debate. I rounded the session up, taking inspiration from the recent exploration into commodification by Rebecca Mallett and Katherine Runswick-Cole, considering how the commodification of youth sits alongside socio-cultural constructions of disability. The last word of the session, however, went to John Rees as his call for uniting in struggle against the British Condemn Government (furthered in his brilliantly passionate paper the following day) seemed a fitting end to a thought provoking hour and a half.

Donna Reeve was next in the exciting line-up of all female keynote speakers. The numerous citations of Donna’s work in presentations throughout the conference, as well as in mid- and post-conference chat (especially by doctoral students and those newer to the world of Disability Studies) demonstrated to me the importance of Donna’s work on psycho-emotional disablism and internalized oppression (not that I needed convincing). As usual, Donna failed to disappoint. At the crux of Donna’s argument was that the perception that the impaired body is outside the realms of normativity forces it to centre stage: therefore, we need to halt any impairment/disability dualities and instead include bodies in any theorisation of disability and impairment. A personal highlight for me came in the next session when Cassie Ogden was certainly successful in including ‘bodies’ in her musings. Declaring her love for all things messy (poo was number one, sex number two, but snot and menstrual blood also valid contenders), Cassie exposed the non-leaky body as a farce, highlighting how an expectation to control and hide everyday leakiness means those who do not/cannot/ refuse to mask their leakiness are deemed in possession of a failing body. Donna’s work is important here: Cassie highlighted that normalising, ‘civilising’ processes, such as denying leakiness, bring any (impaired) bodies not meeting this pseudo-norm sharply into focus – with likely consequences of psycho-emotional disablism and internalized oppression.

Rounding off day one was another brilliant keynote, MMU’s Anat Greenstein. Using disability as a lens to build her vision (and fulfil her dream) of opening a democratic school, Anat talked about how disability and the experiences of disabled pupils have built her ideas of democratic pedagogy. Anat gave us a captivating insight into her playful methodology with pupils in a ‘special unit’ of a secondary school to teach us about ‘An Ideal World of Freaks and Unusual Women’. A fitting end to the day.

Day 2 began with fourth and final keynote, Fiona Kumari-Campbell. Fiona’s work on ableism and her call to theorise the ‘able body’ has been particularly influential to my own research (Kumari Campbell, 2009) and Fiona delivered a kick-in-the-balls to all that is ‘reasonable’ by questioning the role of reasonableness and normativity within law. Tying in nicely with the notion of ‘reasonableness’ was Katherine Runswick-Cole’s dismodernist critique of The Big Society later in the day – both alluding to the ableism inherent to the Neoliberal, ‘competent’, ‘capable’ and ‘independent’ citizen. Both papers (along with others) highlighted the timely urgency of questioning what appears as implicit and normal, and therefore acted out in everyday, mundane interactions (with oppressive and potentially fatal consequences) in an increasingly rightist and Neoliberal Britain. Furthermore, the transdiciplinary nature of the conference showed the importance of considering a medley of intersectional identities alongside disability in such debate.

The transdisciplinary feel meant ideas were brought in from wide ranging fields. Andrea Dermondy, for example, speaking from within thanatology spoke of broadening the concept of loss within Disability Studies. On this note, despite a long and packed two days, the last session I attended was possibly one of the most stimulating and enjoyable. Ryan Parrey seemed to effortlessly entwine personal anecdote with dense theory to praise the possibility of rethinking with disabilities emergence. This was followed by Jonathon Harvey arguing the importance of critically including personal narrative in analysis of disability; Liz Ellis introducing Rural Studies and tourism; and Hannah Morgan highlighting the missing disability perspective within Mobility Studies. ‘Mobility’ was the theme of a paper I was particularly sad to miss: disability activist Steve Graby’s ‘Wandering Minds: autism, psychogeography, public space and the ICD’. Having since read Steve’s paper, I now see why it was receiving so much praise: highlighting the pathologisation of behaviour carried out by disabled people that is otherwise considered ‘normal’ in non-disabled people, Steve asks us to consider the psychogeography of disability in order to “seek new and unexplored directions in disability research”. Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane 2011 certainly opened my eyes to numerous new and unexplored directions that will go on to impact upon my own disability research.

Disability, argues Rod Michalko (2010), offers “time  for normalcy, to develop self-understanding […] and this is f*****g cool”. Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane 2011 gave us, an international, transdiciplinary, disruptive bunch of delegates, a time to together explore, critique, wander through and wonder about normalcy and the mundane; to understand the oppressive and exclusionary characteristics of normativity and their manifestation in everyday, mundane actions and ways of being.  I don’t think I’d be alone in saying that this conference was pretty f*****g cool. See you all in Chester for Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane 2012 (details to be announced soon).

  • Kumari Campbell, F. (2009). Contours of Ableism: The Production of Disability and Abledness. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Michalko, R. (2010). What’s Cool About Blindness? Disability Studies Quarterly, 30(3/4), http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/1296/1332.
DRF News, Publications

Call for Contributions: International Histories of Disabilities

[from DRF member Roy Hanes]

My name is Roy Hanes and I am a professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. I have been working and teaching in the field of disability for the past 30 years and one of my primary areas of interest is disability history. In fact, my PhD examined the rise of the crippled child saving movement in Canada.

I am in the process of developing an international histories of disabilities book and so far I have contributors from Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Nepal, France, Belgium, Germany, England and Scotland.

Topics vary according to the interest of the contributors, listed below are a few examples:

  • Histories of the Deaf
  • Disability in Ancient Greece
  • Histories of Blind Persons
  • Histories of Disabled veterans
  • Histories of idiocy
  • Histories of cripples
  • Histories of special education

I am looking for more contributions and I would like to extend an invitation to you as well as academics, activists and researchers who you might know who are interested in histories of disabilities to contribute to this book. The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2012. For submissions/queries please email: roy_hanes@carleton.ca

Sincerely Yours, Roy Hanes, PhD.

DRF News

Call for Papers: The Normalcy of Difference (AAG, February 2012: New York, USA)

The following session is co-sponsored by the Disability Specialty Group and the Geographical Perspectives on Women (GPOW) Specialty Group, of the Association of American Geographers (AAG).

Call for Papers: The Normalcy of Difference

Event: Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), February 24th–28th, New York, 2012

Session Organiser: Jayne Sellick (Durham University)

This session aims to explore the normalcy and/or acceptance of difference by focusing on disability, (mental) health, impairment and chronic illness and pain; however, papers may consider these and/or other embodied or gender differences by addressing conceptual, empirical and/or methodological work.

The normalcy of difference can be framed by drawing from various perspectives and thinking through new embodied geographies of inclusion (Parr 2008), as well as the interdisciplinary nature (Hansen and Philo, 2007) of difference research. These perspectives have drawn from the breadth of bodies represented through “multiple material, lived and imagined differences” (Crooks and Chouinard 2006): 346); while more recent body-object (Bissell 2008) and body-landscape (Macpherson 2010) relations refer to the nonrepresentational.  Papers may focus on:

  • The processes, practices and relationships that exist between, across and through these differences, object(s) and landscapes in space(s) and over time(s);
  • Conceptualising difference by focusing on the (non)representational and thinking through difference as a system, a set of practices, a relationship, kinds of embodiment, interactions with the built environment, frames of mind (Garland-Thomson 2004), an identity politics, an everyday experience, an assemblage;
  • Historiographies of difference and the role of space and time in accepting difference;
  • Methodological approaches to embodied and/or gender difference(s) and the role of participants in the research process;
  • The role of power relations (including those located in gender differences) in acceptance; the space and time of acceptance; the embodied difference of acceptance;
  • The potential of individual and collective action to (re)produce the (in)visibility of embodied difference;
  • The role of borders/boundaries in feminist/empowering approaches to difference as a form of individual/collective action;
  • Spatio-temporalities drawn from empirical work

Please send proposed titles and abstracts (no more than 250 words) to Jayne Sellick (j.m.sellick@durham.ac.uk) by September 25th 2011.


  • Bissell, D. (2008). “Comfortable bodies: sedentary affects.” Environment and Planning A 40(7): 1697.
  • Crooks, V. A. and V. Chouinard (2006). “An embodied geography of disablement: Chronically ill women’s struggles for enabling places in spaces of health care and daily life.” Health & Place 12(3): 345-352.
  • Garland-Thomson, R. (2004). Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory. New Brunswick, N.J., Rutgers University Press.
  • Hansen, N. and Philo, C. (2007) “The Normality of doing things differently: bodies, spaces and disability” Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 98 (4): 493-506
  • Macpherson, H. (2010). “Non Representational Approaches to Body–Landscape Relations.” Geography Compass 4(1): 1-13.
  • Parr, H. (2008). Mental health and social space : towards inclusionary geographies? Oxford, Blackwell.
DRF News

Announcing the DRF Seminar Schedule 2011-2012

Over the past year, the DRF blog has welcomed over 120 subscribers and received well over 13,600 hits.  Today we are please to announce the seminar schedule for 2011-2012 as well as full details for the first seminar on 11th October.  More information on the venue can be found here and we’d like to take this opportunity to remind all presenters of the Accessible Presenting Info here.  We look forward to productive and engaging discussions ahead.

1.                  11th October 2011 (Tues) 1pm-3pm 

Slot 1: Jayne Sellick (Department of Geography, University of Durham): The temporality of disabled identities: Examples from participatory work

Abstract: This paper explores the role of time and temporalities in the past and present experiences of participants, who as part of the project self-defined with a disabled identity. Drawing from a Participatory Action Research (P.A.R) agenda, stories relating to disability, impairment, health, chronic pain and illness were recalled. Using empirical examples I will explore the temporality of these experiences by thinking through the (non)representational.

Slot 2: Nick Hodge (Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion, Sheffield Hallam University): Misreading Arthur: Ableism at work in psychoanalysis and counselling

Abstract: Highly developed levels of reflection and self awareness by therapists and counsellors and the acceptance, and celebration, of the personal position of the client are foundational principles of counselling practice. It would be expected, therefore, that the counselling room might be the one space that would transcend the spectres of ableism (Campbell, 2009). However, the experiences of disabled people suggest that even here ableism continues to assert its insidious and invasive control (Reeve, 2000). This paper, by critiquing a particular account of psychotherapy with a disabled child, explores a number of ways in which ableism operates within the counselling room and negotiates the challenge of transversing different epistemic positions (Mackenzie and Leach Scully, 2007). The paper concludes by suggesting that only by watching their watching and reading their readings (Titchkosky, 2007) through an ‘inside-out’ approach (Williams, 1996) might counsellors reveal, confront and exorcise the spectres of ableism.

2.                 16th November 2011 (Weds) 2pm-4pm

3.                 6th December 2011 (Tues) 12pm-2pm

4.                 8th February 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

5.                 15th March 2012 (Thurs) 1.30pm-3.30pm

6.                 18th April 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

7.                 3rd May 2012 (Thurs) 2pm-4pm

Details of the other seminars will follow shortly.

If you, or anybody you know, would like to present at a DRF seminar please do get in touch.  Alternatively, let us know if there is an issue/article/book on which you’d like to facilitate discussion.  Please email Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk

DRF News

Contact a Family announces Vacancies for ‘Parent Carer Participation Associates’ (UK)

Contact a Family is a UK-wide charity providing advice, information and support to the families of all disabled children.

To support the ongoing development of parent carer participation, they are looking to recruit a bank of experienced Associates who can offer specialised one to one support to strengthen local parent carer forums on an “as required basis”.

The role will involve working closely with the Regional Parent Carer Participation Advisor and other key local stakeholders to support local areas who may benefit from temporary intensive, independent support.

To apply for this opportunity please send your CV, a covering letter outlining your suitability for the role and two letter of references or recommendations, to recruitment@cafamily.org.uk by the 28th September 2011. More information can be found here.  Full details and a role profile can be downloaded here.

DRF News, Uncategorized

Event: Time to end the bias towards inclusion? (Nov 2011)

The Government proposes radical changes to the delivery of special educational needs and disability education.  The intention is to streamline the system and to “end the bias towards inclusive education”.

You are invited to join academics, activists, young people, parents and carers to discuss the positive and negative impact of these changes.

This event is part of the ESRC’s Festival of Social Science.  It is organised by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Location: Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester, M3 4FP

Date and time: 5th November 2011 ~ 14.00-16.00

Further information:

DRF News

CFCP – Working Bodies: Chronic Illness in the Canadian Workplace

This is a Call for Chapter Proposals that will examine and/or problematize lived experiences of negotiating Canadian work environments while simultaneously negotiating the consequences of living with chronic illness. This edited collection will focus on highlighting commonalities and differences across diverse experiences; issues/questions that could potentially be addressed include:

  • What role is played by the social, physical, and/or bureaucratic environments both inside and outside the workplace for chronically ill workers?
  • Accommodations – how available are they; how useful are they; what local attitudes shape the experience of getting needs accommodated?
  • Disclosure – how and when are decisions made to disclose chronic illness? How does symptom fluctuation affect disclosure?
  • (In)visibility – how does the visibility or lack of visibility of chronic illness affect the workplace experience? What about fluctuating symptoms?
  • Working bodies – to what extent is the chronically ill body understood as productive/able to contribute towards the well-being of the workplace environment? How is this understanding mediated by fluctuating symptoms or visibility?
  • Intersections – how does chronic illness intersect with other axes of difference (e.g., gender, culture, employment background, etc.) to shape the workplace experience?
  • The changing nature of the workplace/workspace for chronically ill workers – what happens when people work at home?
  • Work-life balance – how does chronic illness affect this relationship?
  • Leaving work because of chronic illness – how or why is the decision made to leave paid work?
  • Experiences during training – as people with chronic illness go through the educational system or are retrained after onset, did perceptions about the meaning of chronic illness influence the extent to which others were willing to make options available?
  • Maintaining presence – what role does chronic illness play when it comes to worker recruitment and/or retention?

The book collection will be edited by Sharon-Dale Stone (Sociology, Lakehead University), Valorie Crooks (Geography, Simon Fraser University) and Michelle Owen (Sociology and Disability Studies, University of Winnipeg). Canadian University Press is the anticipated publisher.

Abstracts of 250 words, along with a 50 word biographical statement for each author and full contact details for the submitting author, are due Friday, October 14, 2011 and we anticipate that completed papers will be due in June 2012.

Please email queries and abstracts to: Sharon-Dale Stone (Department of Sociology, Lakehead University, 955 Oliver Road, Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 5E1); Email: sdstone@lakeheadu.ca; Tel: 807-343-8530.

DRF News

Event: Accessible Tourism for All (November 25th-28th 2011) at Sunway Pyramid, Malaysia

The Beautiful Gate Foundation For The Disabled in Malaysia has been organizing various awareness campaigns since 2000. Topics raised include employment, education, transportation  and built-environment. The objectives are to enable disabled people to live independently in the community and to advocate for the removal of architectural and transportation barriers that prevent them from being full participants in society.

This year, in conjunction with the International Day of Disabled Persons, together with DPI Asia Pacific, JICA Malaysia, MCR, MPDA, POCAM, MAB, MASIA, POCCM, MFD and other disability-related organisations, they are running an event to promote Accessible Tourism for All (November 25-28 at Sunway Pyramid, Malaysia).  Through promoting accessible tourism, they wish to change the public’s perception from thinking of the provision of disabled-friendly facilities as “extra cost” to “future investment”.

This international event will enable better understandings of the latest improvement and best practices and provide fresh insight into the future development of tourism systems. It is a first of its kind of event organized in Malaysia. They hope that it will achieve due recognition and also encourage policies and actions to promote Accessible Tourism for all.

The event has 4 main parts (more details here):

1. Conference: The main highlight here are a keynote and the three plenary sessions. Each session focuses on the importance of accessibility that would help promote national and regional economic development, besides drawing attention to the PWD challenges that the country is currently facing as well as suggesting the potential of the power of accessibility in promoting accessible tourism in our country.

2. Exhibition: During the course of the event, there will be an on-going exhibition featuring the disabled community in Malaysia, the activities held in conjunction with many other disability organizations in local places of interest, exhibition of arts and craft and various hand-made products created by the disabled and also other PWDs-related issues.

3. Convoy: A convoy around the city centre will create extensive awareness to the public. By moving around the city, with the aid of volunteers, they seek to explore places of interest, highlighting areas that could further improve to make the city a more disabled-friendly place for Accessible Tourism. The wish is to make Malaysia a disabled-friendly country. It is not only beneficial to local and foreign PWDs but will also provide easy accessibility for the elderly to travel around. This will further promote the country as a more favourable holiday destination.  

4. City Tour: Last but not least, an exciting City Tour will be exclusively organized for foreign delegates. Touring the city of Kuala Lumpur can be very exciting. The tour will take participants to explore the fascinating sights in and around the city. Enjoyable visits to cultural places and iconic structures will leave the participants enriched with an experience of Kuala Lumpur.

More information about the event (inc. registration fees) please visit the website at: www.beautifulgate.org.my/pro-icat



Call for Papers: Chronic Disease and Disability (WSSA, April 2012, USA)

Conference Details: Western Social Science Association (WSSA) 54th Annual Conference (April 11th-14th, 2012 in Houston, Texas)

The WSSA’s 2012 annual national conference will take place in Houston, at the Hyatt Regency Houston and the Section on ‘Chronic Disease and Disability’ of the Western Social Science Association (the precursor of the Society for Disability Studies) invites you to present.

The Section encourages research on policies, problems, cultural representations, health issues, and experiences that involve people with disabilities and chronic disease. The Section invites abstracts for individual paper presentations, panels, or roundtables on a wide range of topics in disability studies.

For conference information including registration and hotel links, please visit the WSSA website at http://wssa.asu.edu. (The WSSA assumes that all participants will cover their own travel costs.)