Friday, September 18, 2009

Call for Papers: The Cultural Production of Disability (Manchester, UK, Jan 2010)

Dr Ria Cheyne of Liverpool Hope University's
work examines the representation of disability in literature, particularly contemporary and popular fiction. She is working on a monograph on disability in genre fiction, including science fiction, romance, crime, and horror.
She has been asked by the organisers of Present Difference: The Cultural Production of Disability (Manchester, UK, Jan 2010)
to see if I can put together a panel on disability and genre fiction - I'm presenting on disability and trauma in Balogh. It looks like it's going to be a really interesting event (there are some great speakers), and I'd certainly be open to having an all-romance panel if we could get the papers!
Papers could examine:
  • Individual romance texts featuring disabled characters
  • The intersection of disability with race/gender/sexuality/class etc in romance
  • The relationship between disability representation and the conventions of romance subgenres (medical, historical, etc...)
  • and much more!
Those interested in presenting a paper should contact Ria informally "in the first instance; the next step would be an abstract (max 250 words) and bio (max 150 words). For access purposes, papers need to be submitted to the conference organisers by 30 November," so you would need to contact Ria well before then.

Present Difference: The Cultural Production of Disability is a conference being organised by Manchester Metropolitan University in conjunction with BBC North West and the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network and will take place from Wednesday 6th to Friday 8th January 2010.
This conference seeks to address the contemporary cultural production of disability within and across local and global contexts. Its focus is upon representation both in the sense of the production and circulation of particular narratives, ideas and images of disability and non-disability, and in the sense of the participation of disabled cultural practitioners in the production of culture.

We invite further proposals from all stakeholders in the mass mediated production of disability across a variety of themes and from a diversity of perspectives within this disparate field of enquiry.

Keynote speakers:

Lennard Davis (Illinois) author of Enforcing Normalcy: Disability Deafness and the Body (2001) and Bending Over Backwards: Essays on Disability and the Body (2002)

David T. Mitchell (Temple) and Sharon L. Snyder (Illinois) authors of Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (2001) and Cultural Locations of Disability (2006)

Robert McRuer
(George Washington) author of CripTheory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (2006)

Artists, performers and film-makers include: Shira Avni, Ali Briggs, Liz Crow, Paul Darke Outside Centre, Jim Ferris, Ju Gosling, Peter Street, and Tanya Raabe.

Confirmed Events:

Wednesday 6th January: Conference Dinner

Thursday 7th January: Justin Edgar director of Special People gives a director's talk followed by a screening of the film at Cornerhouse Manchester

Friday 8th January: Presentations, discussion and networking event at BBC North West, Manchester.


  1. ... how fascinating and coincidentally, Book Chat today had a blogger who blogged on disabilities in romance.

    I can't wait to share this on the Balogh Yahoo chat group ... her fictional disabilities are often not just physical, but emotional as well.

  2. Thanks Janet! I hadn't read that post. I'll put in a direct link here so that it'll still be easy to find if anyone comes across this comment thread some time from now, when that post would no longer be at the top of the page you gave.

    The blogger, Has, did include a few mini-reviews in her piece, but there were also some general comments about the portrayal of disability in the genre:

    "I personally have a disability and it has, in many ways, shaped and affected my life and experiences. So when I read a romance that has disability as a trope, it always touches me more deeply than other books that do not feature it. Some books have provided an outstanding representation of living with a disability, while others totally failed as they didn’t capture or reflect those issues realistically for me.

    Disability in romance, in whatever shape or form, illustrates the struggles and obstacles that the characters have to endure and learn with in their lives.

    That last point reminds me of a post I wrote a while ago about the way that the genre often seems to use medical conditions almost as metaphors to describe the characters' emotions or personalities.

  3. Laura, would you submit the Balogh paper to JPRS?

  4. Keira, it's Ria Cheyne who's writing the paper on Balogh. I just posted her call for papers.