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CFP: Disability and Shakespearean Theatre Symposium

Where?: Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Lilybank Gardens, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

When?: 9.45am-5pm, Wednesday 20th April 2016

Attendance fee?: £25 full, £15 concession, free for BSA members

What?:  This symposium draws together growing research interest in disability studies and Shakespearean theatre. In discussing the depiction, treatment, and uses of disability in Shakespeare’s work (and that of his contemporaries) alongside analysis of the role of disability in staging of his plays, we hope to encourage interaction between creative practitioners, historians, and literary scholars. Playwright and disability studies scholar Prof. Chris Mounsey (University of Winchester) will give the keynote address on “VariAbility in Shakespeare”, in which he will explore alternative ways of responding to the question of the existence of disability in the Early Modern period, and to one of Shakespeare’s most infamous characters: Richard III. Following the symposium, Glasgow-based playwright Molly Ziegler (Notes, Getting it (Back)) has agreed to premier her new play, Let Her Come In. Let Her Come In is a one act rewriting of Hamlet, focused on mental illness, gender, and disability.

We are now looking for academics, actors, and creative practitioners of all levels, periods, and fields to submit proposals for 20 minute conference papers, or 5-10 minute position papers for discussion. We invite papers on topics that include (but are not limited to):

  • Disability in contemporary adaptations of Shakespeare
  • 21st-century understanding of (and challenges to) disability on the Shakespearean stage
  • VariAbility and categorisations of disability on stage (especially as applied to mental and physical disabilities)
  • Staging disability (actors, prostheses, costumes, etc.)
  • Disabled actors and staging Shakespeare
  • Signed Shakespeare, captioning, and assistive technologies
  • Disabled scholars’ experience of Shakespeare in performance and the academy
  • Cultural and historical concepts of disability in Shakespearean texts
  • The language of disability in Shakespeare
  • Challenging the idea of Shakespeare as savant
  • Disability and Shakespeare’s collaborators and contemporaries
  • Disability studies theory and Shakespearean theatre

Further Details?: Please email an abstract of up to 300 words and a short bio to the symposium organisers (disabilityandshakespeare@gmail.com) by Friday 15th January 2016. Please indicate if your proposal is for a position paper. There are two small travel bursaries available for postgraduate/early career presenters; the recipients of these grants will be asked to write a short reflection on the symposium, which will be published on the BSA website, the Glasgow Medical Humanities Research Centre blog, and the symposium website.

If you wish to be considered for one of the postgraduate bursaries, please email us for an application form and submit it with your abstract and bio. We will contact all respondents on the outcome of their proposal by Friday 22nd January 2016. Thanks to funding from the British Shakespeare Association, this symposium will be free to attend for BSA members. Symposium attendees are welcome to join the BSA in advance of the event or on the day.

The symposium venue, the Sir Alwyn Williams Building, is fully accessible, and the symposium will include accommodations such as pre-circulated papers and discussion topics, ending with an interactive roundtable discussion. For more information on access, transport, and the venue please visit our website. If you have any questions, please email the symposium team at disabilityandshakespeare@gmail.com, or contact us via @Disability&SS.

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DRF News

RDS New Issue features a Forum on “Popular Culture and Disability”

A few weeks old now but this post is better late than never!

From RDS:

We are pleased to announce the release of an amazing double issue of The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS). Volume 10, Issues 1&2 marks the 10th anniversary of the publication of RDS. We look forward to 10 more years of excellence in the field of disability studies!

This issue contains a forum on “Popular Culture and Disability” guest edited by Holly Manaseri and Raphael Raphael. Forum authors explore everything from freak show discourse in XMen films to Lady Gagas use of disability imagery. The forum is followed by a diverse line-up of research articles lead by an article on gender, marriage and disability in Jordan co-authored by Salam Jalal & Susan Gabel.

Subscriptions to RDS start at only $25.00 for students. The print version is available only to subscribers. Don’t forget to check out our blog and Facebook page. Happy reading! 

Volume 10, Issues 1 & 2 (Copyright 2014)

Table of Contents

Editorial: Isolation: A Diary of Subtle Discrimination – Megan A. Conway, PhD, RDS Managing Editor

Forum: Popular Culture and Disability – Guest Editors Holly Manaseri, PhD, Hawaii State Department of Education, USA and Raphael Raphael, PhD, University of Hawaii, Manoa, USA

Forum Editors Introduction p. 6

Forum Articles

The Legacy of 19th Century Popular Freak Show Discourse in the 21st Century X-Men Films – Fiona Pettit, PhD, Exeter University, United Kingdom 

Keep It Right – Homeland: The Female Body, Disability, and Nation – Joëlle Rouleau, University of Montreal, Canada

Body Vandalism: Lady Gaga, Disability, and Popular Culture – Christopher R. Smit, PhD, Calvin College, USA

Precarious Inclusions; Re-Imagining Disability, Race, Masculinity and Nation in My Name is Khan – Nadia Kanani, York University, Canada

Research Articles

Physical Disability, Gender, and Marriage in Jordanian Society – Salam Jalal, EDD & Susan Gabel, PhD, Chapman University, USA 2

Employment Outcomes for Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorders – Ashleigh Hillier, PhD & Monica Galizzi, PhD, University of Massachusetts, USA 

Audio Description In Italy: An Anecdote Or A Social Integration Policy? – María Valero Gisbert, University of Parma, Italy 

Trends Toward the Integration and Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in Russia – S.V. Alehina, PhD, Institute on Inclusive Education, Moscow, Russia & Debra Cote, PhD, Erica J. Howell, PhD, Vita Jones, PhD, & Melinda Pierson, PhD, California State University, USA

Creative Works

Lucky to Be Here – Felicia Nimue Ackerman, Brown University, USA

Book and Media Reviews

The Book of Goodbyes: Poems by Jillian Weise – Reviewed by Johnson Cheu, PhD, Michigan State University, USA 

Writing Disability: A Critical History by Sara Newman – Reviewed by Dax Garcia, University of Hawaii, USA 

A Life Without Words, Directed by Adam Isenberg – Reviewed by Amanda McLaughlin, University of Hawaii, USA 

Shakin’ All Over: Popular Music and Disability by George McKay – Reviewed by Steven E. Brown, University of Hawaii, USA 

Disability Studies Dissertation Abstracts

Jonathon Erlen, University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

 

Events and Conferences

Seminar: Theorising bisexuality, Dr. Surya Monro, Thursday 5th June, 1pm, Sheffield University

This event isn’t specifically addressing ‘disability’ but we thought it might be interesting to some of you:

Theorising bisexuality, Dr. Surya Monro (University of Huddersfield)

Thursday 5th June, 1pm, Boardroom, The Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), Sheffield University

The formation of Western categories of gay/straight, and the identities politics which are predicated on this formation, have largely erased bisexuality. This erasure is evident in both scholarly and community discourses, although in recent years in the UK there have been increasingly successful attempts to include bisexuals alongside lesbians, gays and trans people under the ‘LGBT’ acronym. Whilst bisexual people have become (arguably) more socially visible, there remains a large gap in contemporary sex/gender scholarship around bisexuality. This talk aims to begin to map out the territory, building on the existing work of scholars working mostly within sociology and cultural studies. The talk discusses possible directions for analysis, including interationaism, poststructuralism, queer theory and trans theory. It suggests that a materialist analysis is important in understanding the lived experiences of bisexual people, in keeping with a broader materialist turn within the social sciences. The talk draws on empirical material from research conducted in the UK.

 

Disability Studies and..., Events and Conferences

Event Report: Gender and Dis/ability Day – thinking about ‘access’ #gendisability

I’ve finally got around to writing up a report from our Gender and Dis/ability day. Here it is:

In the final chapter of her brilliant book, Feminist Queer Crip, Alison Kafer poses three points of coalition to help us move towards ‘accessible futures’: 1) talking about access and toilets; 2) linking disability and environmental justice movements; and 3) having feminist-disability conversations around reproductive justice. All were topics discussed by around 50 people in Sheffield on May 10th 2014 at Gender and Dis/ability: Asking Difficult Questions; a one day event co-hosted by the DRF based at Sheffield Hallam University, people from the University of Sheffield (including members of the Postgraduate Gender Research Network [PGRN], Sociology and History departments) and Lancaster University.

The idea for this event began when I (Jenny Slater) presented at the Troubling Gender conference hosted a year earlier by Charlotte Jones and Jennifer Kettle, convenors of the PGRN. The Troubling Gender conference was great, stimulated much discussion, and a credit to those who presented and organised. However, despite an intersectional focus, mine was one of the only papers to ‘trouble gender’ alongside dis/ability. Noting this, conversations began with one of the organisers, Charlotte Jones, as to how we could explicitly address an often missing analysis of dis/ability in a future gender-based event; and the Gender and Dis/ability event was born.

Gathering a number of interested people together, conversations began. As an organising team we were committed to thinking holistically about ‘access’; we wanted this to be apparent discursively, theoretically and experientially throughout the day. We thought about ‘access’ along the lines of gender and disability, but also in terms of cost (we wanted a free event), and who would feel expected and welcome (we made a call which we hoped would attract people outside of academia).

We managed the above to varying degrees; without a budget, some things were tricky. Everyone involved in organising the event were employed and/or students in a university so we could book a space free of charge within a university building. Yet, a university building wasn’t our first choice of venue because, whilst university buildings may make some feel welcome, they’re not places everyone feels they belong. Those who haven’t been to university, for example, may not feel they are (to use Tanya Titchkosky’s words) ‘expected participants’ at such an event. Furthermore, one only has to look at the architecture of most university buildings to find that disabled people are not the ‘expected participants’. Although finances meant we had to settle on a university building, finding a building we felt was suitably accessible within the university was difficult.

We settled (eventually) on the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Sheffield. This offered us three rooms, in addition to toilets, a foyer and a small kitchen on a ground floor, with some parking outside. The building was in no way perfect – for reasons none of us could fathom, a cobbled floor inside separated the main conference rooms from the toilets (including the accessible toilet). The foyer was small with little room for seating and there wasn’t a space for us all to ‘be together’ during the day. Working within university regulations, we couldn’t offer an informal crèche to allow access for those with children, as is sometimes done in other radical/DIY spaces.

We deliberated over how to overcome some of our access dilemmas. We relabelled toilet doors so, rather than the gender binaries presumed and concreted through ‘male’, ‘female’ and ‘disabled’/‘accessible’ toilets, we had ‘toilets with urinals’, ‘toilets without urinals’ and ‘accessible/private’ toilets (something I’ll come back to). We discussed whether it was better to have less general conference space in order to provide a quiet room for those that may need it for a variety of reasons including taking time out or administering medication (and decided yes, it was). We wrote notes to people chairing sessions asking them not to presume pronouns of participants. As people signed up to join the event, we asked what we could do to make the space more accessible to them (and after the event, we asked again – so we can continue to struggle towards ‘access’ in the future).

So, access wasn’t ideal – there were things we would have liked to have done differently. Yet, we wondered through the conference what it would mean to have a ‘fully accessible’ space. We asked this question of our participants overtly through our wall of post-it-notes for people to add their thoughts. One delegate asked ‘can access needs clash?’ to which someone responded, ‘yes – I trip on the textured pavement which is put down for visually impaired people’. We also borrowed a toilet door from Sheffield University’s students union on which participants scribbled their toilet-related thoughts. As well as some ‘bog’ standard puns (‘URINE TROUBLE’; ‘this event is THE SHIT’; ‘FLUSH AWAY YOUR PRECONCEPTIONS’), delegates’ scribblings made us think about what it means to have access to toilets. This included having changing places (most ‘accessible toilets’ aren’t accessible enough); having more space to manoeuvre in toilets, more toilets in non-commercial spaces (‘FREE TO PEE!’); and relabeling doors with what’s inside rather than who’s allowed or expected to enter to try create spaces away from the (cis) gaze.

Toilet Door Graffitti

Moreover, conversations of access, inclusion and belonging continued through workshops and presentations (we tried to have one workshop and one presentation session running throughout). The first few sessions, for example, included Hannah Paterson running a workshop asking how activism and protest could be made accessible; Naomi Jacobs thought about in/exclusions of stories of women and disability in the bible; and Peter Fuzesi and Melania Moscoso addressed questions of bodies, autonomy and power.

Frances Ryan, journalist for The Guardian and The New Statesman, was one attendee at the event. In an article written after attending she noted that “some of the differences that disability provokes can complicate feminism’s understanding of female bodies and the oppression of them”. Cat Smith and Mathy Selvakumaran‘s presentations on fashion, desirability and norms highlighted some of the often uncomfortable relationships between ‘disability’ and ‘femininity’. We wanted to make recordings of the event available to those who could not attend, however, our technical failings meant only one of these recordings worked – you can, however, listen to Cat and Mathy’s discussions on our new DRF SoundCloud page. I’d also recommend Cat’s article, Normcore is Bullsh*t, and Mia Mingus’ blog to think some more about the issues raised in these talks.

Similarly important discussions carried on after lunch with presentations on queer disabled identities. Alexa Athelstan introduced the work of Peggy Munson in an important talk which included bringing our attention to fragrance free as an access requirement (something I myself need to learn more about). Following this Suchitra Chatterjee discussed hate crime in a presentation called ‘Race, Gender and Disability – or the Physically Disabled Bisexual Transgender Woman of Colour in the Room’. For Frances Ryan, the feminist-disability dilemmas are perhaps “never […] more riddled than with abortion”.  Hazel Kent facilitated a workshop on reproductive justice to ask some difficult questions regarding the exclusion of disabled women from abortion debates and the conflicts between pro-choice arguments and reproductive rights which are fully supportive of parents with disabled children.

For the penultimate session I attended Jude Woods’ workshop on doing intersectional, participatory community work. We talked about the tensions of working intersectionally with groups of people whose priorities may differ. The struggles and complexities of coalition through social movements was a theme running throughout the day, and immediately on leaving this workshop a friend told me I had missed “a GREAT panel” next door – where Míriam Arenas-Conejo and Anna Wates were discussing dis/ability and/in social movements. Two pertinent tweets (#gendisability) after this session read: “Walking as action and agency linked to political protest but little thought given to pace or visibility” and “The Street romanticised as place of political action, but gendered as male space, exclusionary for disabled people”.

One of the parallel sessions in the final slot of the day was cancelled so we ended on a workshop which everyone was invited to attend – and again, the conversation came back to toilets. Charlotte Jones, Hari Byles and myself facilitated a workshop called, On the Toilet: the Politics of Public and Private Space. In the book aptly named, Toilet, it’s pointed out that toilets are spaces often considered mundane, amusing or unimportant; they’re often left forgotten or ignored… until, that is, they are inadequate or unavailable. Charlotte and I met Hari through a shared conviction that toilets as more usually inadequate for some than for others. As our toilet door graffiti showed us, toilets are places which bring up issues of in/exclusion, public/private, identities and norms. During the workshop we discussed people’s feelings on our toilet door relabeling. Some thought it was a good idea to label toilets by writing/showing what’s inside them. Some felt relieved to not have to worry about the problematic gender binaries toilets presented them with. Others pointed out, however, that they were still searching for the ‘right toilet’ (i.e. the one that they thought coordinated with their gender identity). Whilst some with physical impairments felt oppressed by the relabeling of the accessible toilet, as they worried that they’d be waiting even longer than usual for the only space accessible to them.

I could write about toilets for ages. Instead though, I’ll direct you to People In Search of Safe and Accessible Restrooms, or PISSAR, who are worth looking at for more on access and toilets. The point I want to end on, though, is that the conference finished with some of the dilemmas we as an organising team started with: conversations around what it means to ‘have access’. Issues of ‘access’ are never straight forward; yet, like Kafer suggests, moving towards accessible futures is about struggling together through coalition – moving forward with some of the difficult conversations we had on that Saturday in May. We believe these conversations are always worth having and we hope that that dialogue/action though the Gender and Dis/ability event will continue. You can join the conversation through twitter via @shudisability @gendisability #gendisability (you can also see some of the tweets made through the day here). Alternatively, I (j.slater@shu.ac.uk) or the Gender and Disability team (gender.disability@shef.ac.uk) can be contacted through email. We hope the event will happen again somewhere and in some form– so watch this space (and, if you’re interesting in getting involved in helping to organise, get in touch!).

Thanks to Charlotte Jones for her feedback on this blog post and all that contributed to what was a brilliant day.

 

DRF News

Reminder: A Week of ‘Disability’ Events (May, 2014: Sheffield, UK)

If you are in/around Sheffield next week and are into ‘disability’, you are certainly in for a treat. There are 3 events (detailed below) which might just take your fancy. Info below.

Event 1: the next (and final for this academic year) DRF seminar

Date/Time: Wednesday, 7th May 2014 (10.30am-12.30pm)

Slot 1:  Joshua Sawiuk (Univ. of Leeds, UK): The Importance of the Social Life for Disabled Students in Higher Education

Slot 2: Charlotte Jones (Univ. of Sheffield, UK): Intersex and/as Disability: Exploring the tensions between identity, medicalisation and social justice

Venue: The seminar will be held in Room 10110 (first floor) of the Arundel Building, 122 Charles Street, City Campus, Sheffield Hallam University, S1 1WB.  For a map of City Campus click here.

To offer to present in 2014-2015 seminars or for more detailed access information please contact: Rebecca Mallett: r.mallett@shu.ac.uk or 0114 225 4669 or Jenny Slater: j.slater@shu.ac.uk or 0114 225 6691.

Event 2: Symposium: Disability and Austerity: Pan-national Reflections

Date/Time: Thursday, 8th May 2014 (2pm-5pm)

Venue: University of Sheffield – Education Building, Room 1.02.

Event 3: Gender and Disability: Asking Difficult Questions

Date: Saturday, 10th May 2014

Venue: University of Sheffield- Humanities Research Institute (HRI), 34 Gell Street, Sheffield, S3 7QY.

Disability Studies and..., Events and Conferences

Call for Ideas: Gender and Disability: Asking Difficult Questions (10th May 2014, Sheffield, UK)

Announcing Gender and Disability: Asking Difficult Questions

Saturday 10th May 2014, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS), University of Sheffield

We’re calling for activists, artists, academics and practitioners to get involved in a day of discussions on the theme of gender and dis/ability. We welcome ideas for the sharing of skills and stories, art, performances, poetry, workshops, round-table discussions, papers and presentations.

The event aims to create a space for conversations and debate between communities who share an interest in gender and disability.

Some ideas for topics/themes:

(Dis)ableism, discrimination, exclusion and (in)accessibility
‘Abnormal’, ‘Normal’ and Normalcy
Activism and protest (disability, feminist, LGBT, ‘race’, queer)
Austerity/welfare cuts
Body image, fetishisation, and the medicalization of bodies and minds
Desire, Sexuality, intimacy and relationships
Freakery, the abject and the politics of disgust
Health and Illness
Identities and identity politics
Life-course and ageing
Mental health and mad pride
Post-humanism
Queer and crip histories
Sex, sex educators and sex workers

Send us your ideas (around 200 words or half a page of bullet points) by 24th February 2014 to gender.disability@shef.ac.uk.

This will be a free event. Food will be available to buy at the venue. We want to make this event as accessible as possible, to inform us of any particular access requirements please email gender.disability@shef.ac.uk by 19th April 2014. For further information please contact gender.disability@shef.ac.uk. To book a place please go to: http://genderanddisability.wordpress.com.

Twitter: @GenDisability

An event hosted by the Disability Research Forum, Sheffield Hallam University and the Gender Research Network, University of Sheffield

Please distribute widely! Link to flyer here: Gender And Disability Call for Ideas

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.

References

  • 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.