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.

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