Events & Conference Papers
Mediating Disability in the Digital Era: The Mass Media and Equality in Education
A special issue of JORSEN in conjunction with the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network planned for 2012
This special journal issue seeks to offer the space for those committed to social justice through inclusive education to reflect upon the presence of digital media in the classroom and professional practice.
Digital media here is taken to include traditional media forms that are being digitised or are now produced in digitised forms and what has been termed ‘new media’ e.g. social networking sites.
In Cultural Locations of Disability Snyder and Mitchell note that “we primarily come to know disabled people, both historically and in our own moment, through representations of their lives, experiences, and bodies that have been manufactured by those outside of the immediate disability experience” (2006:19). Furthermore, this is done without consideration of how the mode of mediation constructs how we can know the disability experience being represented. In view of this, this journal issue asks educators, practitioners and pedagogic, disability and cultural researchers to consider the changes that access to, and dissemination through, digital mediums have afforded for how we can understand the experience and cultural construction of disability.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
How digital media has helped to reveal exclusionary practice within educational settings;
How digital media has afforded voices to those previously only addressed as anonymised research subjects;
How digital media enables the inclusion of marginalised perspectives within the inclusive education agenda;
How digital media has afforded knowledge exchange across transnational borders;
The use of advocacy and activist websites, blogs and forums in classroom practice;
The impact of social networking sites on the awareness and rise of sexual rights for those previously excluded from access to sexual citizenship;
The representation of disability in digitised forms;
The impact of increased accessibility to media coming from a social model perspective.
This issue will be jointly edited by Sue Ralph (University of Northampton) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Irene Rose (Liverpool John Moores University) Email: I.E.Rose@ljmu.ac.uk and Laura Waite (Liverpool Hope University) Email: email@example.com
Please submit articles to by email to Sue Ralph, Editor, JORSEN by 1st August 2011
Prof. Sue Ralph. Visiting Professor in Special and Inclusive Education. CeSNER, University of Northampton, Park Campus, Boughton Green Road, Northampton NN2 7AL. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
MeCCSA Disability Studies Network
Currents in the Mainstream - Where are we going?
22nd September 2010, De Montfort University
Call for contributions: Confirmed speakers include Dr Paul Darke* and Deborah Williams*
Disability images of the1980s and 1990s have received significant critical attention, but there has been little work to date on the development of disability imagery in the 2000s, especially in relation to new or changing representations of disability, disabled people's participation within these processes, and the impacts of new media and changes in production, distribution and reception. This day
conference aims to re-visit and re-evaluate the complex issues at stake in contemporary representations of disability and impairment from a variety of critical perspectives, investigating both
continuities and new trends in representing disability. We encourage submissions (papers or otherwise) which examine how representation work is encouraged or circumscribed by questions of
disability identity,funding, distribution and audiences. The conference will also reflect on the relationship between disability art and and new disability imagery
Topics may include:
- disabled performers, directors and media workers
- mainstream film with disability themes
- mainstream television with disability themes
- disabled people in media industries
- the politicisation of disability images
- 'Post- disability' genres
- disability and comedy
- disabled people and Reality TV/ documentary
- gender, sexuality, ethnicity, the body
- the non-disabled gaze
Proposals of approximately 200 words for a 20-30 minute presentation should be sent to the organisers, Alison and Margaret at email@example.com or MMontgomerie@dmu.ac.uk by 30th July
*Deborah Williams - is a writer, theatre-maker, producer,digital composer and accredited coach with thirty years experience working across the sector as an artist, consultant and manager. She is an artist provocateur who's work is acknowledged as a catalyst for challenge and change in perceptions of disability and difference
*Dr Paul A. Darke is an internationally respected academic, writer and cultural critic who has written and created extensively around the issue of identity and culture. He is also the originator of Normality Theory. As an artist Paul Darke is bringing, to various art forms, new insights and exciting concepts which challenge conventional views of both art and society.
Present Difference: The Cultural Production of Disability Manchester Metropolitan University 6th - 8th January 2010
This event brings together writers, artitsts, performers, broadcasters, film-makers, academics and interested members of the genereal public in order to explore the cultural production of disability. Our aim is to discuss the ways in which disability is represented in the mainstream media and other cultural practices, and to consider the role and experience of disabled people as cultural producers/practitioners. The final afternoon of the conference will take place at the BBC and will involve presentations and a networking with programme makers.
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:
Full Circle Arts
Wednesday 6th January: Conference Dinner and entertainment
Thursday 7th January: Justin Edgar director of Special People gives a director's talk followed by a screening of the film at Cornerhouse Manchester
All details of the event are available at the conference website
Disability and Popular Fiction: Reading Representations
Friday 22nd May 2009
A free event funded by Liverpool John Moores University
Theorising Disability in the Media Study Day Series
A space for focused critical analysis and debate around disability, representation and the mass media
Following the success of ‘Disability and the Internet: Access, Mediation, Representation’, the CDSRN study day series continues with a symposium on Disability and Popular Fiction.
How do popular fictional texts represent disability?
What are the links between the conventions of popular genre forms and disability representation?
Does popular fiction reinforce negative stereotypes about disability, or might it offer a space for challenging misrepresentations?
Papers are sought which explore any aspect of the relationship between disability and popular fiction. Suitable topics might include, but are not limited to:
• Representations of disability in individual texts or works by individual authors
• Popular works which explicitly engage with disability (e.g. Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme series, Mary Balogh’s romances)
• Disability representation in genre fiction texts (e.g. romance, horror, science fiction, crime, western, fantasy)
• Reflections on existing critical work on disability in literature, and how it applies (or misapplies) to popular works
• Popular works by disabled authors
Titles, abstracts for papers (250 words) or expressions of interest with a brief biography are invited for submission by 30 March 2009. Papers from postgraduate students are especially welcome.
For further details please contact Dr. Ria Cheyne R.J.Cheyne@ljmu.ac.uk
Future Study Days will include: Comedy • Television • Animation
If you wish to register an interest for a future event, suggest a topic or host a study day of your own please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disability and the Internet: Access, Mediation, Representation - 5th December 2008 Liverpool John Moores University
The CDSRN will be launching its new study day series with a symposium on Disability and the Internet held in conjunction with the MA in Communication and Internet Studies ‘Critical Internet Studies’ Seminar Series
Confirmed Speakers Include:
Dr. Helen Kennedy – Institute of Communication Studies, University of Leeds
Prof. Ben Light - Informatics Research Institute, University of Salford
Dr. Peter Wheeler – Edge Hill University
Topics to include (but not limited to): Disability and Social Networking Teaching Disability and the Internet • Autism and On-Line Advocacy
Titles, abstracts for papers (250 words) or expressions of interest with a brief biography are invited for submission by 3rd October 2008. Papers from postgraduate students are especially welcome.
For further details please contact: Irene Rose I.E.Rose@ljmu.ac.uk
Download the Conference programme: TDM_CFP.doc (44kb)
‘Disability and the Holocaust: We Shall Not Forget’ 11th May 2008
The Nottinghamshire Disabled People’s Movement and The Holocaust Centre would like to invite you to the ‘Disability and the Holocaust: We Shall Not Forget’ event at the Centre on Sunday 11th May 2008 (10 a.m. – 5p.m.).
Why the Event is Important
Nearly one million Deaf and disabled people were persecuted, killed or sterilised during the Holocaust. This history is rarely discussed in the public remembrances of the Holocaust, and currently there are no memorials in the UK to acknowledge this history. The stories of prejudice which arise out of this history are important today, as disabled people were targeted by the Nazis due to their perceptions about the ‘genetic impurity’ of disabled people. In 1930s Germany, deaf and disabled people were seen as an economic burden on society, and were labelled as ‘useless eaters’. In our contemporary society, the debate about disabled people and their ‘genetic rights’ is still on-going, especially in the light of advances in genetic and prenatal screening, and the human genome project. Therefore, it is important that these current debates are discussed in terms of equality issues and their historical context.
The Event Programme
The event will discuss the history of Deaf and disabled people’s experiences during the Holocaust and their links to contemporary issues. The Nottinghamshire Disabled People’s Movement has been working with the Holocaust Centre over the past two years, to look at the representation of disability issues, and also improve access at the Centre.
During the event the group will be dedicating the first rose and plaque in the Centre’s memorial gardens to the disabled people targeted by the Holocaust, and the Pioneers Young Disabled People’s Forum will be unveiling their plans to create a permanent memorial at the Centre.
Speakers at the event will include Liz Crow, Disability film maker, who will be discussing the current film she is working on related to this history and Hans Cohn, who was one of the very few blind German Jewish children to have survivor the Holocaust by escaping to the UK.
The day will therefore focus on remembering the past and looking to the future. Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to look around the Centre through accessible tours.
FREE and Open to All
The event is free and open to everyone who is interested in Deaf and disability issues, Deaf and disability history, the Holocaust or access issues. We are particularly interested to hear from disabled people or organisations who would like to work with the Centre, or who have ideas or histories that they would like to feedback during the event.
A free buffet and refreshments will be provided on the day and the entrance to the Centre is free as the event is being supported with funding from Museums and Galleries Month.
The event is currently booking up fast due to the level of interest in this issue, so to secure a place please complete the booking form below and return it by the deadline of Friday 2nd May 2008.
Please return the form by post to The Holocaust Centre, Laxton, Nottinghamshire, NG22 0PA; by fax on 01623 836 647 or by email to email@example.com
The form will also enable you to outline any access requirements you may have for the event so that we can plan to ensure it is accessible. Booking is on a ‘first come first served basis’ although multiple places can be booked as we are not limiting numbers from individual organisations.
Any queries, please contact Heather Hollins by telephone on 01623 836 627, by mobile or text on 07963 371 282, by fax on 01623 836 647 or by email via firstname.lastname@example.org
4th Biennial Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University, UK
Open Call for Papers
We invite the submission of abstracts for either symposium, paper or poster presentations on current research, ideas and developments in disability studies. In particular the reviewing committee would welcome submissions in the following areas:
• emotional and mental distress
• supporting independent living
• global perspectives on disability
• citizenship and disabled people
• globalisation and disablement
• emancipatory methodologies
The reviewing committee would also welcome abstracts for poster presentations about the work of organisations, networks and groups which are related to disability studies.
Submissions are particularly welcomed from students, activists and first time presenters. We seek to provide a supportive environment for people making their first conference presentations and to be as accessible as possible to all delegates.
Please submit abstracts via the electronic submission form available at : http://www.disabilitystudies.net/index.php
The closing date for abstracts is 30th April 2008
4th Biennial Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster University, UK
2nd - 4th September 2008
• Lorraine Gradwell, MA, MCIM, Chief Executive, Breakthrough UK Ltd.
• Dr Helen Meekosha, University of New South Wales, Australia.
• Dr Jenny Morris, independent policy analyst and research consultant.
• Prof. Alan Roulstone, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK
The Lancaster disability studies conferences have brought together researchers, practitioners, policy makers and activists from around the world, to share and debate research, ideas and developments in disability studies.
The call for papers has been issued.
Details and the submission form can be found at http://www.disabilitystudies.net/index.php .
The closing date for abstracts is 30th April 2008.
The online booking form will open on 1st April 2008 with early bird fees available until 30th June.
The delegate fees are as follows
Full rate £250, Earlybird £220, Student/Unwaged £200
Tuesday or Thursday
Full rate £105, Earlybird £95, Student/Unwaged £80
Full rate £135, Earlybird £125, Student/Unwaged £110
Bed & breakfast accommodation is £43 per night and evening meals on Tuesday and Wednesday are £17.50 each.
A small number of bursaries are available disabled people and/or students who have not previously attended this conference. If you wish to apply for a bursary please contact Hannah Morgan by 1st April 2008 with a short explanation of why you want to attend the conference (no more than 300 words). The bursary will deducted from bookings before payment is taken.
For more information please contact Hannah Morgan (email@example.com) or Bob Sapey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disability Studies Conference 2008
Department of Applied Social Science,
Lancaster University, Lancaster, LA1 4YT
Telephone: +44 (0) 1524 594098
Fax: +44 (0) 1524 592475
Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability StudiesIn 2009 the Journal of Literary Disability will be moving to Liverpool University Press under the new title: Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies. We are now seeking proposals for the first special issue of 2009.
Deleuze, Disability and Difference
Special Guest Editors: Petra Kuppers and James Overboe
Many disability scholars have been wary of utilizing poststructuralism as a means to disrupt ableism. But there is much nuance in poststructuralist thought and its relation to representational politics, and JLCDS 3.1 hopes to push disability studies further along its journey into this territory. Gilles Deleuze asks us to wield literary analysis and philosophic inquiry as tools towards change, not merely to sit back and analyze the status-quo. How can poststructuralism, and specifically the work of Deleuze and his collaborators, offer new intersections of disability studies and literary criticism?
Deleuzian literature allows for a proliferation of lives beyond humanism. Can the sensuality and depth of language offered by Deleuze create a timbre that could affirm the lives of disabled bodies and minds?
Can Deleuze’s use of the literary works of Joyce, Artaud, James, Fitzgerald, Lewis Carroll [in texts such as A Thousand Plateaus and The Logic of Sense] create new possibilities by affirming the nonsensical lives of (some) disabled people? Does that create problems for other visions of sense, life, action? How can Deleuzian thought move us beyond representation, and what would that mean, feel like, sound like, look like?
Proposals for this special issue on Deleuze and the literary representation of disability should be submitted to the editor David Bolt email@example.com before April 1, 2008. The MS deadline is October 1, 2008.
M/C - Media and Culture
is calling for contributors to the 'able' issue of
M/C Journal is looking for new contributors. M/C is a crossover journal
between the popular and the academic, and a blind- and peer-reviewed
journal. In 2008, M/C Journal celebrates its tenth anniversary.
To see what M/C Journal is all about, check out our Website, which contains
all the issues released so far, at http://journal.media-culture.org.au/.
To find out how and in what format to contribute your work, visit
Call for Papers: 'able'
Edited by Liz Ferrier and Viv Muller
Abled, dis-abled, en-abled, dis-enabled, diff-abled - these terms are used
in various ways by academics, social workers, health professionals, artists
and therapists in the field of what has become known as disability studies.
Who defines the cultural terrain in which these terms are defined and
operationalised is an ongoing source of debate, conflict and tension
particularly around issues of access, integration, normativity and agency.
This issue of M/C Journal invites contributions that engage with these
important debates and is interested in aesthetic and socio/cultural work
that challenges us to think and act beyond constraining boundaries.
Submit papers of 3,000 words in length to the editors at
Article deadline: 2 May 2008
Issue release date: 2 July 2008
M/C Journal was founded (as "M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture") in 1998
as a place of public intellectualism analysing and critiquing the meeting
of media and culture. Contributors are directed to past issues of M/C
Journal for examples of style and content, and to the submissions page for
comprehensive article submission guidelines. M/C Journal articles are blind
M/C - Media and Culture is located at http://www.media-culture.org.au
Theorising Culture and Disability: Interdisciplinary Dialogues
Review of Disability Studies Special Forum: CFP
Edited by Dan Goodley, Lucy Burke, Rebecca Lawthom, Rebecca Mallett and David Bolt, the forum will bring together activists, academics and practitioners in the multidisciplinary theorising of culture and disability, exploring the ways in which disciplines that concern themselves with the production, circulation and deconstruction of representations may have something to say to disciplines that seek to develop social policy and influence practice (in various contexts). Focusing on the role of cultural narratives in mediating and shaping the experience of disability, contributors will organise around matters such as social care and the politics of dependency. Each article will outline its perspective, apply this approach to an area of disabling society, and critically examine the possibilities and limits of its analytical procedure. The aim is to promote conversations that ask questions about the promise and consequence of transferring certain theoretical interrogations of ‘disability’ across existing divides.
- How do different disciplines and areas of cultural life allow possibilities for theorising and transforming disablism in contemporary society?
- How might different contexts be used as a kind of critical irritant—a way of thinking through the limits and possibilities of interdisciplinary dialogue?
- How might disability theories historically associated with one discipline be refocused and reconceived in light of another discipline?
- How can the humanities and arts inform the social sciences, health and social care?
- What are the risks of interdisciplinary expansion of disability theory?
The forum is linked to an event that will be held in the UK on 3 July 2008, organised by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Social Change and Well Being Research Centre and the English Research Institute in association with the Journal of Literary Disability and the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network. However, proposals are welcome from people who cannot attend the MMU event.
Proposals for the RDS special forum should be sent to David Bolt before 1 May 2008. Please indicate whether or not you will be available for the MMU event.
Dr. David Bolt
Co-Editor, RDS Special, Theorising Culture & Disability: Interdisciplinary Dialogues.
'Cultures of disability: Interdisciplinary Dialogues ’
Satellite Event of the RIHSC CONFERENCE
Manchester Metropolitan University, Thursday 3rd July 2008
This event is organised by Manchester Metropolitan University’s Social Change and Well Being Research Centre (http://www.rihsc.mmu.ac.uk/scwb/wellbeing/index.php) and the English Research Institute (http://www.eri.mmu.ac.uk/) in association with the Journal of Literary Disability (http://www.journalofliterarydisability.com/) and the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network (http://www.cdsrn.org.uk).
It will bring together activists, academics and practitioners around the seminar theme of ‘Cultures of Disability: Interdisciplinary Dialogues’. Participants are invited to discuss the ways in which different disciplines and areas of cultural life allow possibilities for theorising and transforming disablism in contemporary society.
Each participant will be asked to outline their disciplinary perspective, apply this to an area of disabling society and critically examine the possibilities and limits of their analysis. This seminar will promote disability studies’ engagement with the arts, dance, drama, literature, philosophy, psychology, performance and humanities. Themes to explore will include:
● Arts for mental health
● Biological citizenship
● Disabling and enabling cultural domains
● Bioethics and biopolitics
● Narrative and performativity
● Bodies with/out limits
If you are interested in presenting a paper or attending this event, please contact either Dan Goodley (firstname.lastname@example.org), Lucy Burke (email@example.com) or David Bolt (firstname.lastname@example.org). Closing date for abstracts is Friday 14th March 2008.
The Cultural Disability Studies Research Network, in association with the University of Leeds, is proud to present
Cultural Locations of Disability:
Situating a Cultural Disability Studies
A One-Day Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Conference at the University of Leeds, 20 February 2008
In Cultural Locations of Disability (2006), Sharon L. Snyder and David T. Mitchell advocate ‘a more complex understanding of disability experience’ than existing theories, based on social discrimination and exclusions, will allow, and aim to redress this through ‘the formulation of a cultural model‘. This conference aims to promote the inclusion of a disability perspective within UK research in the arts and humanities by providing an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion and exchange of ideas about disability. Drawing on Snyder and Mitchell’s call to consider disability in its cultural contexts, we seek to explore how cultural studies and disability studies may benefit from new collaborations.
We invite proposals for papers from postgraduate students working on any aspect of disability’s cultural constructions. Suggested topics for discussion might include, but are not limited to:
- ‘Cultural models’ of disability: departures from previous models; definitions, explorations, critiques of current models
- Disability in institutional, academic, and popular locations
- Cultural representations of disability: film, literature, music, art, theatre, advertising
- Disability in performance
- Disability in different cultural locations: local, international & cross-cultural constructions
Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes. Please send an abstract, of no more than 250 words, and a bio-sketch of no more than 150 words, to BOTH conference organisers by 31 December 2007:
A decision on proposals received will be made by Monday 7 January 2008.
Confirmed keynote speaker: Dr Stuart Murray, University of Leeds, author of Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination (Liverpool University Press, forthcoming).
Registration for this event is free but space is limited so please email the organisers to reserve a place.
We welcome delegates who are new to the field of Disability Studies or who would like to introduce disability perspectives to their work. The day will include a training element, offering advice for postgraduates on teaching and publishing on disability-related topics.
All efforts will be made to make this conference fully accessible.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs (JORSEN)
JORSEN is an International Peer-Reviewed Journal.
CALL FOR PAPERS
A themed international issue on media and disability is planned for JORSEN for January 2009.
The editors invite research articles exploring any aspect of issues related to disability and mass media -- news, entertainment television, film, advertising, humor, or online media. This can include issues related to representation and images, media employment and hiring practices, technology, media accessibility, civil rights, or teaching students using disability images. All articles will be anonymously peer reviewed. Please address any queries to either Sue Ralph or Beth Haller.
This issue will be jointly edited by Sue Ralph (University of Northampton, UK) Email: email@example.com and Beth Haller (Towson University, USA) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please submit articles by email to Sue Ralph, Editor, JORSEN, by April 28, 2008.
Prof. Sue Ralph
Visiting Professor in Special and Inclusive Education
CeSNER, University of Northampton, Park Campus, Boughton Green Road
Northampton NN2 7AL UK
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Twenty First Century Teenager: Media Representation,
Theory and Policy -
A conference hosted by the Association for Research in Popular Fictions
10th-12th July 2008 Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds
Topics could include but are not limited to:
TV drama, young adult fiction, music, art, citizenship agenda, documentary, photography, journalism, pedagogy, youth culture, social exclusion, child poverty, curriculum and literacy, sub-culture, new media, disability, teen audiences, magazines/comics, juvenile delinquency, beauty and lifestyle, pop and politics, internet cultures, texting and social ritual, teen nights and street culture, ASBOs and ‘Hoodies’, comparative studies.
Please send an abstract of 200-300 words by December 15th 2007 to Nickianne Moody, Convenor ARPF, MCCA, Liverpool John Moores University, Dean Walters Building, St James Road, Liverpool L1 7BR E-mail N.A.Moody@ljmu.ac.uk Fax 0151 6431980
CDSRN would like to put a panel/strand together for this conference.
Irene is going to look at teen advocacy and autist autobiography so if you want to be part of this or another disability panel/strand email Irene at I.E.Rose@ljmu.ac.uk.
CDSRN panel at Cultural Studies Now
19th – 22nd July
University of East London
Scheduled for Friday 20th July at 9.30am
Panel Title: Mutually Beneficial: Ways Forward for Working across Disability Studies and Cultural Studies
This panel is held by the founding members of the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network (CDSRN), an inter-disciplinary forum aimed at promoting disability perspectives across the UK university curriculum.
The CDSRN aims to promote an inclusive curriculum through:
- Promoting existing research
- Developing future research
- Sharing pedagogic strategies for inclusion on the Curriculum
Aimed at positioning disability as the sixth tenet of Cultural Studies perspectives, this panel reflects and builds upon research presented at the CDSRN inaugural conference held at LJMU 26th-27th May 2007.
Assessing the impact of creating a 'cultural disability studies'
Irene Rose, Manchester University
This paper over views the current theoretical valency between British Disability Studies conceived as a discrete discipline and the increasing drive to make Disability Perspectives available within and prevalent to the wider British HE curriculum (Bolt 2006). The paper offers a theoretical exposition of the critical landscape encountered by both tutor and students on the inaugural run of a Debating Disability in the Media module introduced on a third level Media and Cultural Studies course. Positioning the theoretical and experiential in this way the paper seeks to foreground debates encountered when engaging with disability from a cultural studies perspective. It does so to locate what questions we need to address and pursue to keep British disability perspectives critically relevant, theoretically pertinent and academically viable within the wider academy.
Irene Rose is a PhD student at Manchester University and part-time lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Liverpool John Moores University. She is also a founder member of the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network. Her main research interest is in discursive formations within autist autobiography.
Keeping it Real: The Critical Constitution of Disability Stereotypes
Rebecca Mallet, Sheffield Hallam University
This paper explores the double trouble disability ‘stereotypes’ cause representation and criticism. Firstly, ‘stereotypes’ are positioned as a in ,‘technique of commentary’ and the early search for negative stereotypes is described in terms of how it led to the repeated citation of common examples and offerings of explanations for their unfortunate persistence. Here, it will be demonstrated how such a search sanctioned certain critical and political responses as correct responses, which included the directive to always 'keep it real'. While such an interpretive discourse remains in currency some areas of disability-criticism have begun to acknowledge that ‘stereotypes’ are not exclusively a ‘negative’ form and the second part of the paper considers the impact of such a troublesome recognition on the political project of disability-criticism. Using recent examples, the consequences of representation’s potential subversion of ‘disability stereotypes’ are explored. The paper concludes with a discussion on the problematics (and opportunities) of freeing texts from the specific constraints imposed by the critical use of ‘stereotypes’ and asks where this leaves the political, critical and pedagogical future of disability-criticism.
Rebecca Mallett is a Lecturer in Disability Studies at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. She is also the principal co-ordinator of the Disability Research Forum (DRF) and a founding member of the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network (CDSRN).
Her main area of research interest is the constitution and regulation of interpretative strategies within Cultural Disability Studies.
Disability, Representation, and Contemporary Popular Culture
Claire Molloy, Edgehill University
Much of the work of cultural studies has been concerned with the connections between representational practices, processes and the articulation and construction of identities. This paper reiterates recent concerns from some scholars that whilst class, gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality have been established as central to the cultural studies agenda, there has been a paucity of engagement with issues of disability and representations of impairment. This paper considers constructions of impairment within popular culture and the connections between representation and absence/presence.
Dr. Claire Molloy is a Senior Lecturer in Film, Television and Cultural Theory in the Department of Media at Edge Hill University in Lancashire. She is a founding member of the Cultural Disability Studies Research Network. Her recent research has focussed on the construction of albinism within poplar culture and images of impairment in shock music video.