Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies (CfP, Conference, 1-2 July 2014)

Keynote Speakers:
Julie Allan (University of Birmingham, UK)
Peter Beresford (Brunel University London, UK)
David Mitchell (George Washington University, USA)
Sharon Snyder (George Washington University, USA)

Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Faculty of Education, Liverpool Hope University

When we think of disability in Higher Education we are likely to think in terms of access, Learning Support Plans, and so on. These and other such things are of great importance but only represent part of the approach proposed at the biennial CCDS conference. What we explore is a more complex understanding of disability that challenges assumptions and prejudicial actions but also recognises qualities and positivity. While inclusive education is generally an improvement on integration and segregation, it often constitutes little more than what, in The Biopolitics of Disability (2015), David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder call a weakened strain of inclusionism. Until disability is recognised in the context of alternative lives and values that neither enforce nor reify normalcy we cannot truly encounter the material and ethical alternatives disabled lives engage. Inclusion may well be a legal requirement in some parts of the world, and perhaps a moral imperative everywhere, but it is also an educational opportunity. Not only students but also staff who identify as disabled should, as Mitchell and Snyder assert, recognize this peripheral embodiment as something to be cultivated as a form of alternative expertise, meaning that disability can become an active, unabashed, and less stigmatising part of classroom discourse. The aim of this biennial conference, then, is to encourage the transformation of academic disciplines by appreciating rather than avoiding disability.

The keynote presentations have now been confirmed:
•       ‘The Arts and Inclusive Imagination: Spaces for Civic Engagement’, Julie Allan
•       ‘From Psychiatry to Disability Studies and Mad Studies: Exploring Uncharted Relationships’, Peter Beresford
•       ‘The Crip Art of Failure in Education’, David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder

We welcome proposals from professors, lecturers, students, and other interested parties for papers that explore the benefits of interdisciplinarity between Disability Studies and subjects such as Aesthetics, Art, Business Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Film Studies, Holocaust Studies, International Studies, Literary Studies, Literacy Studies, Management Studies, Media Studies, Medical Humanities, Museum Studies, Philosophy, Professional Studies, Special Educational Needs, and Technology. This list is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

Some anticipated panels include:
•       The Art of Disability: Disability Studies and the Arts
•       Medical Matters: Disability Studies and Medical Humanities
•       Learning to Read People: Disability Studies and Children’s Fiction
•       Beyond the Rhetoric of Inclusion: Disability Studies and Special Educational Needs
•       Telling Stories: Disability Studies and Creative Writing

Paper proposals of 150-200 words should be sent to disciplines@hope.ac.uk on or before 1 February, 2015. Paper presentations are allocated 20 minute slots and themed panels of 3 papers are also encouraged.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
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