Tuesday, February 23, 2016

CFP: Disability, Work and Representation: New Perspectives (DSQ Fall 2017)

Call for Papers
Disability, Work and Representation: New Perspectives
Special Issue: Disability Studies Quarterly (Fall 2017)
Editors: David Turner, Kirsti Bohata, Steven Thompson, Swansea University

In/ability to work plays a critical role in definitions of dis/ability, but the complexities of the relationship between people with disabilities and the world of work have only recently started to gain scholarly attention.  Contributions are sought for a special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly
that will showcase new interdisciplinary perspectives on disability, work and its representation in both contemporary and historical perspective. The issue will take a long and interdisciplinary view of the relationship between disability and work and encourages contributions that explore
different national experiences and impairment perspectives. We aim to foster critical thinking about how dis/ability has been defined in relation to work and about how factors such as changing hiring processes, legislation and working environments have impacted upon participation. Contributions are
also sought that will explore ways in which disability has been represented in relation to work culturally and artistically, or the impact of literary, artistic or media representations on policy. Contributors are invited to think about work broadly, to include paid and unpaid employment, emotional and intellectual as well as physical labor. Subjects might include, but are
not limited to:

•       Changing historical experiences of disability and work
•       Dis/ability and the aesthetics of work
•       The impact of age, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity on experiences and employment prospects of workers with disabilities
•       The role of economic systems in the inclusion or exclusion of workers with disabilities
•       The relationship between work and citizenship
•       Cultural representations of disability and un/employment
•       Disability and employment laws
•       Disability and unpaid work
•       Disability and occupational health/medicine
•       Rehabilitation and returning to work
•       Disability and labor relations
•       Current and historical perspectives on welfare and work

Please send an abstract (max 200 words) and a short biography (100 words) to Professor David Turner (d.m.turner@swansea.ac.uk) by July 1st 2016. The final deadline for submission for articles selected for inclusion in the Special Issue (max. 8000 words) will be January 31st 2017 with publication scheduled for September 2017. Final acceptance of manuscripts is subject to peer review.

Friday, February 05, 2016

For Stacey

Stacey asked me to keep a lookout for historical people who had muscular dystrophy--and I said "sure!" because that's right up my alley.  So I started poking around on Wikipedia, of course. Some stories that caught my attention this morning are below, in chronological order by date of birth. As usual, it isn't the most diverse list; there's definitely room for a wider array of stories on Wikipedia. Suggested additions are most welcome! (I'm only counting deceased people as "historical"--just to have some kind of cutoff.)

Richard Lindsay Batten (1920-1974) was a British orthopaedic surgeon who established the first blood bank in Nigeria, and advocated effectively for motorcycle helmets in the UK. He had myotonic dystrophy, a progressive form of muscular dystrophy that affected him more in his later life.

Mel Powell (1923-1998) was an American jazz pianist and composer who worked with Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, and Django Reinhardt, among other greats. He began using a wheelchair (sometimes a cane) in his twenties, and focused on composition when he needed to stop touring. He was the founding dean of the school of music at California Institute of the Arts.  He won the Pulitzer Prize in Composition in 1990. (You've probably heard music by Mel Powell if you've watched enough old Tom and Jerry cartoons--he composed for those, in addition to his more serious work.)

Quentin Crewe (1926-1998) was an English travel writer and restaurant critic whose New York Times obituary carried the remarkable headline "Quentin Crewe, 72, Bon Vivant Who Was Unfazed by Disability", with the further explanation that he had "not so much suffered from, as gloried in" his muscular dystrophy. He traveled in his customized wheelchair -- including two years crossing the Sahara, and two years living in Kyoto -- and wrote his books by typing one-handed. He wrote a gossipy memoir, Well, I Forget the Rest: The Autobiography of an Optimist (1991), of his adventures.

Alfredino Ferrari
Alfredo "Dino" Ferrari (1932-1956), yes, from that Ferrari family.  Alfredo was the son of company founder Enzo Ferrari, and an automotive engineer too, before he died at 24, from complications of his Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The "Dino" car series was named in his honor. There's also a Formula One racing venue named for him and for his father.

Sister Mary Louise St. John (1943-2003) was an American Catholic gay rights activist and a Benedictine nun who used a wheelchair from her youth. She studied world literature and psychology at Skidmore College before entering her religious order. At a conference in 1989, she declared, 'To alienate my lesbian identity from the identity of the Godness within me would be to dismember myself.'' At the same event, she spoke about the challenge of claiming her sexuality as a wheelchair user. She was cofounder of the Womynspace coffeehouse in Erie, and spoke at that city's first gay rights rally in 1998. Sister Mary Louise served as a business manager, tutor, and retreat guide at her motherhouse. She was also on the board of the local Community Resources for Independence.  Here's her obituary in the Erie Gay News, with a small blurry photo of her using a power wheelchair.