DRF News

Details of next DRF Seminar ~ December 2011 (Sheffield, UK)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #3

Date/Time: 6th December 2011 (Tues) 12pm-2pm [followed by Christmas drinks!!]

Venue: Room 10111 in the Arundel Building, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University (More information on the venue can be found here.)

  • Harriet Cooper (Birkbeck College, University of London): Othering and Ordinariness in Representations of the Physically Impaired Child in Anglo-American Culture in the period 1870-1911

Abstract: Although in recent years scholarship in Victorian and Edwardian Studies has begun to explore the issue of disability, it has tended to deal with questions of disability and gender or disability and work and has rarely focussed specifically on the cultural construction of the physically impaired child. When scholarship has explored the figure of the child, it has mainly examined the role of disability in shaping docile women out of unruly or passionate girls.

In this paper, I look at depictions of physically impaired child in the period from another angle. Texts to be examined include Charlotte Yonge’s The Pillars of the House, E. Nesbit’s Harding’s Luck and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. Drawing on both the techniques of literary analysis, and on recent scholarship in the field of Childhood Studies, I ask what is specific to representations of impaired children in this period that makes them different from depictions of impaired adults. I consider whether the Victorian impaired child is doubly ‘othered’ by his or her status as a child and as a disabled person, or whether, in fact, the figure of the impaired child is seen as more ‘ordinary’ than the figure of the impaired adult.

I conclude the paper by reflecting on the difficulty of making generalisations about the representation of the impaired child in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Can we say that ‘ordinariness’ is as important as ‘pathology’ as a category for understanding depictions of the physically impaired child at this time?

  • Jenny Slater (Department of Psychology, Manchester Metropolitan University): Time travelling with young disabled people: Developing a queer, crip, critically young, futurist methodology

Abstract: Writing this abstract at the beginning of October, by the time of presentation I will be in the middle of several journeys in which I travel to future best-ever, Utopian, alternative worlds with young disabled people. These journeys will form part of my PhD research. In this paper I return to the present to work through some of the methodological perspectives I endeavour to take when setting out on my exploratory adventures.

Next Seminar: 8th February 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

  • China Mills (Manchester Metropolitan University): Title TBC
  • John Quinn (Department of Politics, University of Sheffield): New Labour and Disability Politics

There are still a few slots available in spring 2012, so 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

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