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CFP: Special Issue of African American Review, Blackness and Disability

In 2006, the late Christopher M. Bell lamented “the failure of Disability Studies to engage issues of race and ethnicity in a substantive capacity.” In recent years, scholars like Michelle Jarman, Jennifer James, Cynthia Wu, Nirmalla Ervelles, and Terry Rowden have filled this lacuna with essays and books of their own. Though it may no longer be necessary to think in terms of failure, we still have a significant amount of work to do in exploring the scholarly terrain where disability and race intersect. In an effort to continue this conversation, this special issue of <em “mso-bidi-font-style:=”” normal”=””>African American Review seeks essays that probe the connections between blackness and disability and think beyond the idea that one is simply like the other.

We define disability as the existing social, legal, and cultural conditions that make the world un-navegable for people with impairments, drawing a distinction between material realities and the consequences of social (in)action. We recognize the historical relationship between racializing and disabling discourses as complex and dynamic. In this issue, we aim to challenge, expose, and analyze the way these discourses shape literary and cultural production.

Centralizing disability in discussions of blackness revamps our understanding of what blackness was, is, and could be. In terms of history, it asks us to recast Harriet Tubman as mentally disabled (based on her head injury), and by extension the conception of slaves as extremely abled. The use of amputation as a punishment for seeking freedom challenges us to consider that blackness and disability are simultaneously constructed as anti-thetical to freedom itself and dangerous to the nation-state. If we are to think about how black citizens must traverse structural inequality regularly, how might that be complicated by an inability to get inside the actual structures one needs to enter? How might the back and side ramp entrances to government buildings create a permanent but vexed easement into institutions for black disabled folk? In terms of scholarly work, performance studies and cultural studies seek to reimagine the black body as outside the strictures placed upon it, but generally do so in abled terms. In short, I ask a question similar to Gloria Hull, Patricia Bell Scott and Barbara Smith’s inquiry for their collection on black feminism: if all the disabled are white, and all the blacks are abled, what are those of us in the middle? This special issue would be groundbreaking because it asks for nothing less than a retooling of the very terms of blackness and disability. To view the two together is to disrupt and change both.

We welcome essays that examine the wide range of possible literary and cultural texts available though we are most interested in work that explains how discourses of disability and blackness transform each other. Our primary goal is to expand the repertoire of critical approaches to texts (broadly defined) that deal with blackness and disability.

Potential Topics:

Slavery and the Politics of Disability

Memoir/Autobiography

Afrofuturism/Black Speculative Fiction

The Graphic Novel

Disability and Black Queer Culture

Black Disabled Characters in Film & Visual Culture

Differential Politics of Disability (how disability impacts the lives of people of different ethnicities and classes differently)

Disability and the Black Arts

Abstracts of no more than 500 words and a brief CV should be sent to Theri’ Pickens c/o Intellectual.Insurrection@gmail.com by June 30, 2015. The invitation for full papers will be sent out on September 1, 2015 and completed essays will be expected by February 1, 2016.

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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

 

DRF News

CCDS Event: Foreign Bodies: Disability and Beauty in Toni Morrison’s Writing (June 2012, UK)

Event: Centre for Culture & Disability Studies (CCDS) Research Seminar 

Date: Weds. 27th June 2012: 3.15pm-4.45pm ~ Venue: Eden, 109, Liverpool Hope University, UK. 

Brief Description:

Foreign Bodies: Disability and Beauty in Toni Morrison’s Writing

~ Dr. Alice Hall (Université Paris-Diderot, France)

This paper examines the relationship between disability and beauty as a central preoccupation of Toni Morrison’s fictional writing, her critical discourse and her most recent work as a curator. I am interested in how Morrison’s critical writing about race and identity intersects with shifting notions of beauty in her fiction, but also, in turn, how these ideas can provide a conceptual framework for writing about literature and disability in general.

Dr Alice Hall holds an MPhil in Criticism and Culture and a PhD in twentieth century literature from the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge. She recently completed a postdoctoral position at the Centre for Advanced Studies, University of Nottingham and is the author of Disability and Modern Fiction: Faulkner, Morrison, Coetzee and the Nobel Prize for Literature published by Palgrave Macmillan in November 2011. She currently teaches at Université Paris Diderot and is working on her second book. She has taught widely on twentieth and twenty-first century literature, including topics such as Modernism, the body, short stories and the novel.

For further information from the organisers, please contact: Dr. David Bolt: boltd@hope.ac.uk