DRF News

Reminder of Next DRF Seminar: 18th April 2012 (1pm-3pm)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #6 

Date/Time: 18th April 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

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

Slot 11: Will Southwell-Wright (Department of Archaeology, University of Durham): Past Perspectives: What can Archaeology offer to Disability Studies?

Over the past three decades criticisms of androcentricm and ethnocentrism have largely been resolved within archaeological thought and have given rise to a prolific literature that examines the archaeologies of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and a variety of other identities in a range of past contexts. Comparatively speaking however the archaeology of disability and disabled identities remains under-developed, and the pictures of the past that archaeologists reconstruct often remain able-bodied in character.  Given the range of archaeological evidence we have to begin reconstructing experiences of disability, including iconography, evidence for medical treatment and the skeletal remains of impaired people, this lack of dedicated study is increasingly amiss. This paper will demonstrate how the understandings of sociological and historical analyses offered by Disability Studies offer archaeologists the means to understand this evidence in a manner that avoids making reductive statements about past experiences. Crucially however, it will be demonstrated that Archaeology has much to offer Disability Studies as well, drawing on examples from Roman Britain it will be shown how archaeological evidence can open up insight into areas which historical sources remain silent on.  This paper then demonstrates how archaeological understandings which work in dialogue with Disability Studies have the potential to offer valuable insights into the past experience of impairment and disability, and argues for greater collaborative work in the future.

Slot 12: Tom Campbell (School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds): Bio-politics, resistance and the social model of disability

When bio-politics has been operationalized as a mode of analysis in disability studies (and aligned disciplines) it has concentrated on how bodies are subjectivated; how an identity is assigned to an individual, particularly through the mechanism of the norm that results in the constitution of particular impairment categories, work that I myself have begun to undertake and consider to have great value. However, despite Foucault’s warnings to refuse all attempts of understanding power negatively, work on bio-power and bio-politics throughout the social and human sciences typically carries a negative tone.  In this paper I wish to explore whether the disabled peoples movement’s positive re-articulation of difference and singularity on individuals own terms, re-imagining their own bodies and the bodies of others, contra to tactics of power that have hitherto been articulated onto them, should be considered as example of the invention of the ‘common’ as understood by Antonio Negri and Judith Revel. The paper will explore how the Disabled People’s Movement in the UK and the social model of disability has allowed for the re-invention of both individual and collective bodies and possibly begun the invention of the common, through the reframing of disability as a social process of discrimination linked to the material conditions of societal organization, rather then resulting from individual biological deficit. 

Next Seminar: 3rd May 2012 (Thurs) 2pm-4pm

Slot 13: Steven Graby (Centre for Disability Studies, University of Leeds): Autism and/as “disabled” identity

Slot 14: Slot Available (if you’d like to present a paper please get in touch)

…and don’t forget the Call for Papers for the excellent Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference is out now!

DRF News

Event: Critical Disability Studies @ MMU Seminar (May 2012, Manchester, UK)

Date: 17th May 2012 – 12.30pm – 2.00pm

Venue: Room OB109, Elizabeth Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University

Event: Critical Disability Studies @ MMU Seminars 2012 presents…

‘The Moral Significance of Severe Intellectual Disability’

~ Simo Vehmas (Professor of Special Education, University of Jyväskylä, Finland)

Abstract: The dispute between Jeff McMahan and Eva Feder Kittay about the moral status of humans with severe cognitive disabilities is perhaps the most vehemently contested dispute in moral philosophy of recent times. According to McMahan, those with such disabilities are less morally valuable than so-called normal human beings and ought to be treated as such. According to Kittay, those with such disabilities and normal human beings have equal moral value and so each group ought to be treated with equal concern. The dispute appears to go deep down to a dispute about the very foundations of moral worth itself, and it often seems that McMahan and Kittay represent two irreconcilable viewpoints. The purpose of this paper is, in part, to affect something of a reconciliation. By articulating clearly the crucial points of disagreement between McMahan and Kittay it is possible to make headway on both sides by showing that the dispute is not as deep as it first appears to be. But this is not merely a descriptive paper. It is my contention that, once the crucial points of disagreement are clearly articulated, it can be seen that there are significant problems with both positions. I will go on to offer a view that suffers from none of the problems that beset McMahan’s and Kittay’s. The view, roughly put, is that although having moral worth is grounded in the intrinsic psychological properties of an individual, significant moral worth can be bestowed upon an individual by its standing in special relations to others. In addition, it will be argued that the intrinsic psychological properties required to attain the moral status of personhood are less circumscribed than has previously been thought. The upshot for the debate about the moral worth of those with severe cognitive disabilities is that all but the most severely affected turn out to be of equal moral importance to so-called normal human beings.

If you are interested in this, you also be interested in the 8th annual conference of RIHSC (Research Institute of Health and Social Change) which will be taking place on 2-3 July 2012.  This conference attracts leading researchers and practitioners in the fields of health and social change.  Tickets are free and bookings are for either both days (the full delegate package) or individual days.  Please go here to book your place.

DRF News

Reminder of Next DRF Seminar: 15th March 2012 (1.30pm-3.00pm)

DRF Seminar Series: Seminar #5

Date/Time: 15th March 2012 (Thurs) 1.30pm-3.00pm

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

  • Slot 9: Sarah Thompson (Department of Education, Childhood and Inclusion, Sheffield Hallam University): Disability Focused Reflections on Attending a Fulbright Summer Institute ‘Education in the 21st Century’

Sarah will share her experiences of attending the Fulbright Summer Institute ‘Education in the 21st Century’ (USA, 2011), by exploring the many ‘disability’ moments she encountered and reflecting on the different ways in which these moments were experienced by other members of the Institute.   

  • Followed by Roundtable Discussion on ‘Disability Research: Current Issues’. (Please note: the paper by Tom Andrews has been postponed until further notice.)

Next Seminar: 18th April 2012 (Weds) 1pm-3pm

Slot 11: Will Southwell-Wright (Department of Archaeology, University of Durham): Past Perspectives: What can Archaeology offer to Disability Studies?

Slot 12: Tom Campbell (School of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Leeds): Bio-politics, resistance and the social model of disability

…and don’t forget the Call for Papers for the excellent Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference is out now!

DRF News

Keynote’s Title and Abstract Announced for Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference (Chester, UK: June 2012)

If you are in any doubt over whether you should attend the Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference at the University of Chester (June 26th-27th 2012), here is a little taster of what will be on offer.

Dr James Overboe (Associate Professor, Wilfrid Lauier University, Canada)  will be discussing….

Title: Gimp Philosophy: Turning its Back on the Norm

Abstract: “From the onset of disability (whether congenital or acquired) our social milieu have been concerned with how to eradicate, mitigate or manage the effects of “impairment”. But impairment has been considered as a social construction (Shelly Tremain), situational (Tom Shakespeare) or ever evolving (Carol Thomas and Donna Reeves) with each perspective having differing implications for both individuals and the social world.

Pierre Klossowski argues that the effects of Nietzsche’s impairments (madness, migraines, and failing vision) provided the foundation and the impetus for his philosophy and for his life. Similarly, I argue that accumulated “impairments” or gimpness provide the scaffolding for, and the impetus that drives the expression of life of a disabled person.

Gilles Deleuze and Giorgio Agamben argue that our lives oscillate between two complementary registers the personal and the impersonal. Since the enlightenment the impersonal registry has been dismissed as simply the ‘bricks’ and ‘mortar’ that sustain the more highly evolved ‘self’. Initially I privilege the impersonal registry over the personal registry in order to highlight the substantive way that gimpness informs life.

Normalcy and its accompanying normative shadows are immersed in the personal registry associated with the conscious self that is expected to be preoccupied with productivity, and consumption, progressively moving through stages of life. In this registry gimpness is refashioned as impairment that unless eradicated or at least managed is deemed an albatross impeding people from living a successful life.

Conversely, within the impersonal life the self is eschewed and the erotics of exposure of gimpness is simply expressed. Within the context of life there are no prescribed stages of life that a conscious self must meet; rather events create life. Moreover, gimpness as a generative source of life dissipates the garroting affect of both normalcy and ableism and in doing so affirms life.

I end by illustrating how these complementary registers actualize in the everyday life of disabled people and to some extent influence the discipline of Disability Studies and the disability movement.”

For more information on the conference (and details of the Call for Papers) click here.

DRF News

CFP: Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference

Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane: 3rd International Conference

This Year’s Theme: ‘Cripping the norm’

Dates: 26th- 27th June 2012

Where: University of Chester

Keynote confirmed: Dr James Overboe (Associate Professor, Wilfrid Lauier University, Canada) – for details click here; China Mills – – for details click here.   Others TBC.

Jointly-hosted by University of Chester in association with Critical Disability Studies (Manchester Metropolitan University) (MMU) and the Disability Research Forum (Sheffield Hallam University), this conference is now calling for papers.

This 3rd international conference builds on the success of the Normalcy2010 and Normalcy2011 conferences held in Manchester and seeks, again, to bring together an international group of disability studies researchers. Our conference moves to the beautiful Cathedral town of Chester (located on the border of England and Wales).

The call for papers sought contributions around the following areas:

  • exploring the cultural and political production of normalcy
  • addressing our obsession with reason and rationality
  • connecting ableism with other hegemonies including heterosexism, racism and ageism
  • analysing the barriers and possibilities of the mundane and extraordinary
  • deconstructing new pathologies and ‘abnormalities’
  • celebrating deviations from the norm
  • affirming crip identities and ways of living

Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and should be sent to normalcy2012@hotmail.co.uk no later than… the Extended Deadline Now: 15th May 2012.

Our aim is for this conference to be as inclusive as possible.  We welcome activists, undergraduate and postgraduate students, practitioners and academics to join us. In the spirit of an eco-friendly conference, registered delegates will be sent an e-pack. Details of accommodation near the venue will also be sent to delegates.

This year, to cover costs of refreshment and lunches, we will be charging a flat rate of £75 per delegate. Free registration is still available however for full time students and people currently unemployed. Details of online registration to follow.

Please check out the normalcy2012 website for further details when they emerge: http://normalcy2012.tumblr.com/

DRF News

Event: ‘Disability Studies in Japan (March, 2012: Manchester, UK)

Date: 8th March 2012: 12pm – 2pm.

Venue: Manchester Metropolitan University – New Lecture Theatre, Gaskell Campus, Manchester Metropolitan University M13OJA.  Directions: http://www.mmu.ac.uk/travel/gaskell/


1. Mai Yamashita, Kyoto Sangyo University

  • ‘What is the standard of ‘mentally disabled’?: The Case of Classes for Mentally Disabled children in ‘Jinjyo’ or Pre-war Elementary School In Tokyo From 1920’s to 1930’s’

 2. Emiko Tanaka, Department of Humanity and Science, Tokyo Kasei University

  • ‘What can we do to support couples and parents with intellectual disabilities?’

Please contact the organiser, Prof. Dan Goodley for further details on: d.goodley@mmu.ac.uk

DRF News

CFP: Transnational Horror Reader (Disability Studies)

***This is a targeted  invite for a specific portion of a larger volume for which a general CFP has previously been circulated.  Please note that at this time we are only considering works that address the particular specified segment***

We invite submissions that consider intersections between the construction of disability and the genre of horror for a volume on the transnational cultural work of Horror in visual media. We are particularly interested in submissions that explore the transgressive possibilities the genre allows, both interrupting cultural scripts of the body and inviting new ones. 

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to) transnational issues related to:

  • Economies of Disability 
  • Formal Construction of disability
  • Representations of Race / Ethnicity 
  • Representations of Trauma 
  • Economic Crisis and Horror 
  • Inter-Asian Re-makes of Horror Films 
  • Hollywood Appropriations of South East Asian / Asian Horror 
  • Transnational Horror Franchises 
  • Monstrous Translations and Circulations (Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, Ghosts, Spirits) 
  • Intertextual Transformations (Video Games, Manga, Virtual Communities) 
  • Sound Design / Translation / Dubbing in Horror Films 
  • The Politics of Reception (Fan Culture, Fanzines, etc.)

Guidelines: Abstract Submission Deadline: March 15, 2012. Please send a 300-500 word abstract and a brief biography (50 – 100 words) to editors Sophia Siddique Harvey: soharvey@vassar.edu or Raphael Raphael:  rraphael@hawaii.edu