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Monday, February 6, 2012

Call For Papers: Growing Disability Studies

Special Issue of Disability Studies Quarterly
“Growing Disability Studies: Academic (Dis)Locations, (Anti)Disciplinary Positions, and Institutional Collaboration”
Guest Edited by Michelle Jarman and Alison Kafer

This special issue invites collaborative essays exploring the most promising, compelling and even transgressive ways of growing the field. We see this as a timely and important topic because while disability studies is expanding in terms of degree programs, courses, and general recognition, it is still located in isolated or marginalized spaces in many university settings. In Cultural Locations of Disability, Sharon Snyder and David Mitchell suggest that institutionalizing disability studies “comes fraught with difficulties in that the field situates itself as a force of destabilization” (192). Because disability studies has grown out of disability rights and activism, this destabilizing quality seems integral to the field itself. In this spirit, the editors welcome contributions that address historical, existing, and potential tensions between carving out institutional support and encouraging transgressive perspectives, methodologies, and research.

The editors are specifically seeking collaborative essays that include multiple perspectives from different locations and roles. For example, we welcome the work of scholars, teachers, students, activists, artists, and others who see themselves as participants in the field, both within and outside university settings. Similarly, we encourage collaborations across institutional types, from research universities to liberal arts colleges and beyond. We hope this collaborative approach will encourage conversations across differing curricular structures, allowing contributors to flesh out new and creative ideas for future developments. We are particularly interested in pieces that think broadly about the internal and external forces shaping disability studies, highlighting key themes and dynamics, rather than isolated descriptions of individual programs.

 The co-editors invite proposals on an array of topics including (but not limited to) the following:
Strategies for developing and supporting institutional and non-institutional (activist, artistic, community) partnerships to increase visibility and knowledge of the field.
Challenges and unique potential of programs located within/near applied health fields including University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) in the U.S. and similar federally funded/institute structures globally.
Women’s/gender/sexuality studies, race and ethnic studies, queer studies, and other area studies as models and partners for developing disability studies.
Using curriculum across disciplines to expand DS.
Using disciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and antidisciplinary positions to develop DS as a destabilizing and transgressive force.
Examples of student activism and student leadership in (re)shaping disability studies.
Growing disability studies underground – positioning the field without programs.
Importance of defining or resisting a canon of DS literature.
Processes for developing strong connections between undergraduate and graduate programs (nationally and internationally).
Activist perspectives on the ground: how could the field better partner and promote social and political activism? How could community activists be better supported by DS scholars in academic environments?
Balancing the field’s interrogation of normalization in an academic environment increasingly driven by assessment.

Please email a one-page proposal to Michelle Jarman ( and Alison Kafer ( by May 15, 2012. Finalists will be notified by June 25, 2012, and full manuscripts will be due on February 1, 2013.

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