DRF News

CFP: “Horror (as/is) Humor, Humor (as/is) Horror: sLaughter in Popular Cinema” (edited collection)

In his review of Tavernier’s Coup de torchon, David Kehr wrote in When Movies Mattered: Reviews from a Transformative Decade,

Death, violence, and moral corruption aren’t just slapstick props … but agonizingly real presences, and their comedy isn’t a release from horror, but a confrontation with it.… [H]umor and horror exist side by side,  they play on the very thin line that separates a laugh from a scream, touching the hysteria common to both.… The best black humor makes us feel the horror. (p.186)

Scholarly collections in Humor and Horror Studies have largely conceived of them as separate genres and fields. Yet popular culture has increasingly seen a rise in the emotional and visceral confluence of humor and horror—from black comedies, dark fantasy and a renewed interest in fairy tale adaptations, to freshliterary works, graphic novels, and politics and satire.

Scholarly essays are sought for a potential collection on the nexus of humor and horror—sLaughter—in popular culture texts with a primary focus on film. Topics may include, but are clearly not limited to: Genre (e.g., parody, science / speculative fiction, thriller, dark fantasy, cyberpunk / splatterpunk, “classical” comedy / drama, post-humanism, terror/ism, apocalyptica and TEOTWAWKI); Creator / Auteur (e.g., Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Chuck Palahniuk, Mary Harron, Matt Groening, Seth McFarlane, the Soska sisters, the Coen brothers, Bret Easton Ellis, Charles Bukowski, Amy Lynn Best, David Cronenberg, Tim Burton, John Carpenter); or Theory / Theorist (e.g., structuralism, grotesquerie / freakery, transgressionism, attraction=repulsion, bodily mutilation / ablation, postmodernism, biomechanics / cyborg interfaces).

We are NOT interested in Abbot and Costello, “camp,” or anything else offering the audience a chance to be “psychologically distanced” from mortal terror—beyond the fact that they are viewing images on a screen.  Though we are interested in zombies, lycanthropy, vampirism, and that lot, we envision a much broader and more scholarly collection than the fanzone tends to produce—much scarier than Twilight, etc.—that addresses the intersection of humor/horror.  We want you to make us FEEL it, and tell us why it’s important.

If you are interested, please submit a 250 word abstract and one-page CV to both Johnson Cheu (cheu@msu.edu) and John A Dowell (jdowell@msu.edu) by 15th September 2012.

DRF News

CFP: ‘Tim Burton: Works, Characters, Themes’ (for a proposed edited collection)

Mark Salisburry writes of Tim Burton:

“Burton’s characters are often outsiders, misunderstood and misperceived, misfits encumbered by some degree of duality, operating on the fringes of their own particular society, tolerated, but pretty much left to their own devices.” (Burton on Burton, xviii-xix)

Burton’s films have explored this theme of outsiders and many others over a wide array of genres.  Scholarly essays are now sought for a potential collection on the work and artistry of Tim Burton  provisionally entitled “Tim Burton: Works, Characters, Themes”. 

All films and theoretical approaches welcome. Possible topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Outsiders, Misfits, and conformity/nonconformity
  • Cyborgs, “Grotesquire/Freakery” and other bodily non-conformities
  • Heroes/Villains
  • Early work (Disney, “Frankenweenie,” Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure)
  • Burton as Auteur
  • Johnny Depp, and “Celebrity/Star” theory
  • Adaptations (Dark Shadows, Sleepy Hollow, Alice, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Planet of the Apes, James and the Giant Peach, Sweeney Todd,  etc.)
  • Ed Wood
  • Sci-fi (e.g. Mars Attacks)
  • Batman, Batman Returns!
  • Burton and fairy tales; Burton as fairy tale
  • Burton and “Beauty” (films, bodies, and otherwise)
  • Death, Ghosts, Haunting
  • Humor, Horror, Satire, Allegory
  • Family, Fathers, etc. (Big Fish, etc.)
  • Mixed-genre (comedy-horror, Beattlejuice, ormusical-comedy-horror, Sweeney Todd, etc.)
  • Suburbia/”The City”
  • Love, attraction, rejection, sexuality
  • TV work: (Alfred Hitchcock Presents: “The Jar,” ; Cartoon-TV’s “Family Dog”)

Please note: A potential publisher has expressed possible interest; work on this project may be relatively swift.

If you are interested, please submit a 250 word abstract and one-page CV to Johnson Cheu (cheu@msu.edu) by 1st October 2012.

DRF News

Call for Abstracts: Disability and the Majority World: 2nd International Conference (Sept 2012, UK)

Date: 26th- 27th September 2012

Venue: Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), UK

Keynotes: Rod Michalko, Janet Price, Tanya Titchkosky and Maria Kett

FREE conference organised by Critical Disability Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University (CDS@MMU) supported by BWPI and Institute for Development Policy and Management (IDPM), University of Manchester

The 2nd international conference Disability and the Majority World will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University. The conference seeks to bring together researchers, disability activists, practitioners, organisations, and others from various fields, to discuss a range of key and emerging themes around disability in the global South. It provides a much needed inter-disciplinary, critical, supportive and open space to debate, question and challenge, while exploring alternatives in a safe and friendly environment.

Call for Abstracts is now open – Deadline: 22nd September 2012

Abstracts for paper presentations are now being accepted.  The conference welcomes contributions around (not exclusively) the following broad areas, from all disciplinary perspectives.  They particularly encourage contributions from activists, researchers and practitioners from the global South:

  • Poverty and disability
  • War and conflict
  • Health and rehabilitation
  • Migration
  • Development
  • Globalisation, neoliberalism and beyond
  • Post/neocolonial spaces
  • Researching disability across cultures

Those wishing to present a paper, please send an abstract (maximum 300 words) in an attached Word Document to S.Grech@mmu.ac.uk. Please ensure the abstract contains name, title of presentation, institution (if applicable) and contact email and please insert ‘abstract for conference’ in the subject line of your email. Paper presentations are 15 minutes.


The conference is FREE of charge, but all delegates need to register. This will help gauge attendance and make adequate preparations. Please register here

Cancellations: the organisers would appreciate if those registered but no longer able to attend to please inform us by email Shaun Grech: S.Grech@mmu.ac.uk


The conference is free, which means that lunch and refreshments will have to be purchased from the University or elsewhere. Please let the organisers know if you have any dietary requirements so we can make the refectory aware of delegate requirements.


While the organisers acknowledge the need, the fact that they are keeping the conference free, means that they are unable to provide bursaries (for travel, lodging or other expenses) to attend the conference.

DRF News

CFP: Psychiatrised Children and their Rights: Global Perspectives (Children & Society)

 The editors of Children & Society are planning a special issue in 2014 on the theme of psychiatrised children and their rights.

The guest editors for this special issue are Brenda LeFrançois and Vicki Coppock. The aim is to produce a collection of articles covering a range of issues in relation to psychiatry and the rights of children, from a number of different countries globally.

These issues may include, but are not limited to:

  • Children’s accounts of distress and/or treatment
  • Informed consent to treatment
  • The best interest principle and children’s decision making
  • The institutionalisation of psychiatrised children
  • Informal, voluntary and involuntary treatment
  • Children’s right to information and consultation within the context of treatment
  • Children’s right to privacy and correspondence within inpatient treatment
  • Children’s right to rest and leisure in the context of therapeutic interventions
  • The rights of refugee and asylum seeking children
  • The imposition of the biomedical psychiatric approach within the global south
  • Aboriginal children and psychiatry
  • Cultural, spiritual, political and/or indigenous approaches to understanding and healing distressed children that may be at odds with dominant psychiatric approaches
  • Patient’s councils, review boards and administrative procedures within child psychiatry
  • Jurisprudence, legislation, court cases and/or precedents
  • The experience of mental and/or physical violence within the context of treatment
  • Restraint, solitary confinement, observation and/or forced feeding
  • Pharmacological interventions
  • Racialised, queer, trans, disabled and/or poor children and psychiatry
  • Oppression at the intersection of adultism and sanism

 The deadline for submission of papers is 17th December 2012. Submissions are to be no longer than 6000 words and must comply with the author guidelines for the journal. Please see the following link for details.

Manuscripts must be submitted online here indicating in the cover letter that you are replying to the call for papers for the 2014 special issue. 

Please direct any enquires to Brenda LeFrançois (blefrancois@mun.ca) and Vicki Coppock (Coppockv@edgehill.ac.uk) being sure to include both emails in any correspondence.

Events and Conferences

Event: Disability and the Victorians: Confronting Legacies Conference (July/Aug 2012, UK)

Title: Disability and the Victorians: Confronting Legacies (Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies Conference)

Dates: 30th July-1st August 2012

Place: Leeds Trinity University College, UK 

Description: The nineteenth century was the period during which disability was conceptualised, categorised, and defined. The industrial revolution, advances in medicine, the emergence of philanthropy and the growth of asylums all played their part in creating what today’s society describes as the medical model of disability. Disability can be traced through many forms: in material culture and literary genres; scientific, medical and official inquiries; art; architecture; the history of disabled charities; disabled people’s experiences; the legacy inherited by disabled people today of the taxonomies and categories of disability – the ‘handicapped’; the ‘deaf and dumb’; the ‘feeble minded’; the blind; the ‘imbecile’ the ‘idiot’ and the ‘cretin’ — the legacy of the relationship between the body, the visual, the scientific and the literary text; the intersection of disability, theories of evolution, the emergence of the disciplines of statistics, social sciences and anthropology, eugenics and degeneration.

This conference seeks to address conceptualisations of disability in the Victorian period and their legacy(ies); the ways in which we can draw disabled voices and testimonies together to construct ‘the long view’, the intersection of disability studies and Victorian studies, and the conceptual, disciplinary, and pedagogical issues that arise as a consequence of this research. 

Themes will include:

  • Resistance/conformity: subversion, transgression, agency and constraint.
  • The visibility and invisibility of disability: beggars, street sellers, hawkers, freak shows and circuses.
  • Victorian institutions: charities, asylums, schools and clubs.
  • Normalising practices: definitions, constructions, categories and taxonomies.
  • Victorian technologies: assistive and medical.
  • The emergence of specialisms: from audiology to psychiatry.
  • Disability as a moral force for improvement: theology and spiritual enlightenment/development, literature and the school of pain.
  • The formation of Victorian identities: nation, empire, ‘race’.
  • Disability and the fear of loss: national efficiency, eugenics and ‘degeneration’.
  • Medical and cultural histories: medical illustration and advertising, the relationship between the literary, the medical and the scientific text.
  • Acts: Victorian social policy and legal frameworks.
  • Work: employment, employability, the regulated employment and non-employment of disabled people
  • The spaces of disability: art, architecture, environment.
  • Pedagogy: teaching about disability and disabled people in the Victorian period.
  • Representing disability to non-specialist audiences: heritage interpretations, public histories, dictionaries.

This is an interdisciplinary conference, grounded in Victorian Studies, for which the Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies, being established since 1994 and home of the Journal of Victorian Culture, has a longstanding and influential reputation. Within Victorian Studies, and the humanities more broadly, disability studies has emerging significance (e.g. Martha Stoddard Holmes, Fictions of Affliction (2006), Julia Miele Rodas, rev essay, Mainstreaming Disability Studies?’, Victorian Literature and Culture, 36/1 (2006), and the Special Issue on ‘Victorian Disability’ for the Victorian Review (Fall, 2009)). The aim of the conference is to bring these two interdisciplinary fields together.

As the history of disability has tended so far to focus on social constructions of disability, in part a reflection of the available sources, a key aim of the conference is to offer a new direction by addressing the experiences or testimonies of those who are disabled and by considering the long-term impact of such social constructions, in order to construct ‘the long view’.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers include:

  • Joanne Woiak, Ph.D., Disability Studies Program, University of Washington;
  • Professor Martha Stoddard Holmes, Ph.D., Professor and Chair of Literature and Writing Studies, Cal State University San Marcos, USA, ‘Fictions of Affliction: Physical Disability in Victorian Culture’;
  • Professor Vanessa Toulmin, Director of National Fairground Archive, National Fairground Archive (Western Bank Library) University of Sheffield.

Over fifty papers have been accepted for this three-day international event. There is also opportunity to visit the Thackray Medical Museum, for an object-handling session, and I am pleased to inform you that the programme for the above conference has now been published on our webpage here.

If you anticipate that the conference registration fee might cause you financial hardship, please contact the organisers.  Registration details are here.


New Issue of JLCDS (6:2) is now available: Popular Genres and Disability Representation

The new issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS) is now available.  Volume 6: Issue 2 is a special issue on Popular Genres and Disability Representation and is guest edited by Ria Cheyne


Comment from the Field:

JLCDS is available from Liverpool University Press, online and in print, to institutional and individual subscribers; it is also part of the Project MUSE collection to which the links below point.  

For more information, please contact: Dr. David Bolt: boltd@hope.ac.uk