Sunday, November 28, 2010

RIP: Laura Hershey (1962-2010)

Another sad, sudden loss: disability rights activist and poet Laura Hershey has died after a very brief illness. The Denver Post obituary has such a lovely photograph of her, and summarizes the facts of her life and work. Laura's facebook page has become (as they do, in such times) a place for posting condolences to the family and memories and tributes. Many other blogs have been posting the news and links to some of Laura Hershey's best-known works, including FWD ("You Get Proud by Practicing"), Media dis&dat, and Victor Pineda. Visit for links to many other materials written by or about Laura Hershey. She will be terribly missed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Disability Blog Carnival #71 is up NOW!

The November edition is up at Modus Dopens, and it's a good solid collection of links, around the theme of intersections. Go, fix yourself a drink (suggests the host!), and have a read.

The December edition is due to post at Rolling Around in My Head, where Dave H has invited posts around the theme "long nights and what we need to get through them," appropriate for the month with the literal longest nights (in the Northern Hemisphere), and a month with holidays that can feel like very long nights for many. Submissions are invited by December 15th for inclusion in the carnival.

ETA (12/15): f you're planning ahead, January's carnival will be hosted at Butterfly Dreams, with the theme "Let Your Freak Flag Fly!" Go over to the call for submissions for elaboration on that, and instructions for submitting links.

Thanks as always to hosts, contributors, readers and commenters, for making the Disability Blog Carnival happen (now heading into our fifth year--first official edition was October 2006). I'll be posting another call for hosts in the new year, so think about whether you'd like to have a turn in 2011.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Todd Reynolds DSG Student Paper Competition - 2011

Disability Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers (DSG)

Todd Reynolds DSG Student Paper Competition - 2011

- Call for Papers -
Students working on topics concerned with the complex and multifaceted geographies of disability, aging and chronic illnesses are encouraged to submit a paper to the 2011 AAG Disability Specialty Group Student Paper Competition. The successful student will receive a cash prize of $100.

The award is named after Todd Reynolds, Ph.D. (1971 - 2008), a scholar with disabilities who pursued important research in human behavior and hazards geography - In Memory of Todd Reynolds blog. The goal of the award is to encourage student participation in the specialty group and to recognize outstanding emerging scholarship in geographic research on aging, chronic illnesses and disability.

Eligibility criteria: Papers prepared for publication, conference presentation, and graduate or senior undergraduate courses, as well as entries written specifically for this competition, are eligible for submission. Each student may submit only one paper. The student should be the lead contributor to the paper if it is co-authored. Students do not have to be a current member of the DSG or AAG nor must they plan to attend the 2011 AAG conference to submit a paper. International submissions are welcome.

The paper should not exceed 25 double-spaced pages (including all notes, references, and figures). 12 point font is preferred along with standard margins.

A cover letter should accompany all entries and contain:
- Current title of the paper and a brief abstract (no more than 100 words)
- Author and co-authors’ names
- Academic affiliation
- Faculty advisor for the paper
- Mailing address
- E-mail address
- Phone number
Students considering submitting are advised to contact student paper competition coordinator Ryan Parrey by e-mail in advance. He will also gladly address any questions or concerns regarding participation in this competition.

Award notification: Reviewers will be secured and their recommendations will be sent to the DSG Board for the final award decision.The award recipient will be notified shortly after the 2011 AAG annual meeting in Seattle, Washington - more information. The check will be mailed to him/her shortly thereafter. Post-conference announcements will be found on the DSG website and the GEOGABLE listserv, as well as other appropriate venues including the Disability Studies, Temple U blog.

All entries must be received by February 28th, 2011 by email to:

Ryan Parrey
Disability Studies
University of Illinois, Chicago

CFP: Disability, Humour, and Comedy

A call for papers from H-Disability today:

CFP: Disability, Humour and Comedy

A Special Issue of the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Guest Edited by
Dr. Tom Coogan (University of Leicester)
Dr. Rebecca Mallett (Sheffield Hallam University)

According to Morreall (2009), the Incongruity Theory “is today the most widely accepted theory of humour.” This theory holds that what makes a situation humorous is “that there is something odd, abnormal or out of place, which we enjoy in some way.” Add to this Mitchell and Snyder’s (2000) concept of narrative prosthesis, which identifies disability (and with it oddness, abnormality and “out of placeness”) as the crutch upon which narratives lean for their representational power, and a more fundamental relationship between disability and humour is suggested. As Moran (2003) has observed, humour is a term with a multitude of meanings. Among other things, she observes, it is a “cognitive style”; a term for a stimulus (e.g. a joke) or the response (e.g. laughter); a term for complex interactions between individuals; a “personality trait”; and an inherent characteristic.

Whatever the meaning, humour remains a multi-faceted thing. It can include as well as it excludes. It can both ease and exacerbate. What is clear is that humour creates many more questions than it answers. Who is allowed to make jokes about disability? If we are offended, should we just “get a sense of humour”? Is there a hierarchy of impairments, with some
impairments being “fair game” and others “off limits”? Is there such a thing as “disability”
humour? Does humour run the risk of attacking the seriousness, and thus the legitimacy, of disability rights? Or does it have a part to play in the struggle for such rights? How is disability playing out in the current vogues for satirical comedy and the comedy of embarrassment (e.g.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “The Office”)?

This special issue of JLCDS will explore the interplay between humour, impairment and disability across all forms of culture and the media. Submissions might consider representations of disability in particular texts or specific forms. Alternatively, they might examine disability theory in relation to humour theory. Submissions on all topics related to disability, humour and comedy are very welcome. Considerations of the impact of “political correctness” - the policing of what can and cannot be made funny - as well as the impact of “critical correctness” (Mallett, 2007) - the policing of what can and cannot be said about humorous/comedic representations of disability -are encouraged. We urge submissions to think the unthinkable and address the difficult questions.

Proposals should be emailed to the guest editors or by March 1st, 2011. Final submissions will be due by October 2011.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Next TWO Disability Blog Carnivals are Announced!

[Visual description: A Disability Blog Carnival logo (apologies, I forget who made this one--Blue, maybe?) with "disability blog carnival" in red, superimposed over a photograph of the Alison Lapper Pregnant statue by Marc Quinn]

Carnival edition #71 will be hosted at the blog Modus Dopens, where Irrational Point invites you to submit your own or others' recent writing on the theme "intersections." If you have a link to share, email it to Irrational Point according to the instructions over there, by November 18, and watch for the Carnival to post sometime soonish after that.

Meanwhile, for your disability-related carnival-going needs, check out the very first Assistance Dog Blog Carnival, just posted last week! It's big, and it even has a cute button.

ETA 11/8: Dave H. has posted the specifics about December's Carnival edition #72: "Rolling Around in My Head will be hosting the December issue of the Disability Blog Carnival. I've tossed around various ideas for the blog and have decided to post it on December 21st which is the winter solstice and the longest night of the year. Therefore I've chosen the theme to be 'long nights and what we need to get through them' ... I've sure we've all had seasons of darkness and despair, hours of bleak desperation, I'm hopeful that people may have stories of what it took to get them through those times. Hope? Strength? Courage? Whatever it was, there's a story there to tell.

So, tell.

Please have submission links to me by the 15th of December. Email me at with blog carnival in the re line."

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Election Day 2010

I hope all of our readers took time out of their busy schedules today to vote in this important midterm election. Feel free to use this stem to post your observations. Who do you feel has your back? How was your experience at your local polling station? What are your hopes (or fears) for the future?

CFP: Picturing Women's Health, 1750-1910 (22 January, University of Warwick)

The deadline for submissions to this conference is Friday 5 November, so if you're interested, there's no time to lose!

Picturing Women's Health 1750-1910
A One-Day Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference
University of Warwick, Saturday 22 January 2011

Plenary speakers:

Prof. Hilary Marland (University of Warwick)

Dr. Claire Brock (University of Leicester)

The conference Picturing Women’s Health 1750-1910 will explore the interface of diverse discourses that constructed ideas about women’s health during the Romantic and Victorian periods. In these years, writers and artists documented extraordinary discoveries and advancements in science, anatomy, and medicine. This inter-disciplinary and multi-disciplinary conference will examine the vicissitudes of attitudes towards women’s ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ bodies over the one-hundred-and-sixty year period. In particular, conference papers will consider representations of the female body in fictional/non-fictional literature, fine arts, and visual media and how they reflected or influenced women’s understandings and experiences of their own health and bodies.

Possible approaches could include:

How did different women’s testimonies or documentations of health relate to each other? How accurately or inaccurately did men and women artistically portray the female body in health and illness? How were scientific and artistic ideas about women’s health in dialogue? What is the relationship between the representation of woman’s body and her (in)ability to perform certain familial and social roles? How are contemporary critical debates on Romantic and Victorian public and private spheres complicated by the periods’ representations of women’s health?

Key topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • Madness and hysteria
  • Prostitution
  • Virginity
  • Sexuality
  • Motherhood and wifehood
  • Birth and breast-feeding
  • Pregnancy, birth-control, and abortion
  • Fashion (dress, cosmetics, decoration)
  • Exercise and well-being
  • Un/healthy spaces (including spa and resort towns, hospitals, slums, factories, home)
  • Age (childhood, puberty, menopause)
  • Illness and disease (venereal diseases, disabilities, disfigurations)
  • Death and grief (terminal illness, death of spouse or child, execution)
  • Medicine (diagnosis, prescription, treatment)
  • Medication and surgery
  • Health and superstition
  • Metaphors of health
  • Definitions of health
Submit an abstract of 250-300 words for a 20-minute paper either by the online form at the website, or to, with your name, affiliation, e-mail address, and title of paper.

Monday, November 01, 2010

CFP: Body in History/Body in Space (Harvard, 26 March 2011)

Posted to the H-Net this week, by Jana Cephas of the Harvard Graduate School of Design:

The Body in History / The Body in Space

Graduate Student Symposium
March 26, 2011
Barker Center for the Humanities, Harvard University

The history of the body has been a locus of prolific research in the past several decades, engaging scholars from disciplines as diverse as history of medicine, cultural history, literature, sociology, and anthropology. The body's experience of health and sickness, histories of the senses, changing standards of civility, the body as political instrument – these and other approaches have recovered the centrality of the human subject in studies of the past and present. Yet current scholarship on the body often relegates issues of space to the background, treating it as a neutral setting against which bodies interact. Conversely, treatments of the body and its history are scant in disciplines focused on space and the built environment. In fields like architectural history, geography, and urban studies, the presence of the body is taken for granted and its history rarely emerges as a critical contribution to the history of space. 

This conference aims to question such a facile body-space relationship by positing that the history of the body must also be a history of the body in space, and that the history of spatial practices must involve a history of the body. By bringing together scholars from a range of disciplines, we hope to interrogate the material specificity of architecture and the body through a range of questions linking the two:

-What role does the built environment play in our understandings of the body?
-How have past regulatory practices of the body influenced the design of spaces?
-How can we reclaim human agency while acknowledging the limits imposed on the body by spatial constructs?

The Body in History / The Body in Space Graduate Student Symposium is occurring in conjunction with Cambridge Talks V, an annual conference dedicated to the exploration of interdisciplinary topics that engage issues of space. We welcome paper proposals from graduate students in various fields and disciplines. Proposals should include an abstract (500 words) and a brief CV. Materials should be sent to by Monday November 22, 2010. Authors will be notified of acceptance by December 15.