In Colonizing Bodies: Aboriginal Health and Healing in British Columbia 1900-1950, a Nisga’a elder implores the historian Mary Ellen Kelm: “When we talk about the poor health of our people, remember it all began with the white man” (xv). This special issue of JLCDS invites scholars to consider two interrelated phenomena: on the one hand, colonialism has produced indigenous disability and illness—through the depletion of traditional sources of food and medicine, enforced containment in boarding schools and substandard reservation housing, trauma, poverty and so on.
On the other hand, colonial discourse also pathologizes Native people—construing them as genetically prone to certain illnesses, for instance. Given these colonial phenomena, scholarship is particularly welcome that considers how Native people indigenize the famous disability-rights call, “nothing about us without us”—bringing tribally situated responses, adaptations, and resistance to disability and illness.
JLCDS seeks essays that conjoin the methodologies and content of Disability Studies with Native American/Indigenous Studies. The texts under consideration can range from literature and film, in any genre, to non-print and non-alphabetic media. Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:
Tribally specific understandings/representations of illness and disability;
Applications of Disability Studies to indigenous texts;
Applications of indigenous methodologies to disability literature;
Colonization, medicalization, and the construction of disability;
Indigenous nationalisms, feminisms, and Two-Spirited resistance to the non-Native construction of disability;
Illnesses/disabilities more emic to the American Indian experience (i.e., tuberculosis, diabetes, PTSD, Split Feather syndrome);
Environmental degradation and racism and community health;
Representations of substance abuse and other community health concerns in colonial contexts;
Representations of indigenous disability vis-à-vis nation or community.
Proposals and queries should be sent to Siobhan.Senier@unh.edu and Penelope.Kelsey@colorado.edu Proposals are due by March 15, 2011, and proposal selections will be made by May 30, 2011. Completed essays for those selected are due October 1, 2011, and articles will be selected in December of 2011.
Dr. David Bolt
Lecturer, Disability Studies
Director, Centre for Culture & Disability Studies
Editor, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies
Telephone 0151 291 3346
Postal address@ Faculty of Education, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool,