CFP: [Victorian] Victorian Disability: A Special Issue of Victorian Review

full name / name of organization: 
Lisa Surridge
contact email: 

Special Issue: Victorian Disability
Fall 2009
Submission Date: 15 September 2008

The Victorian Review invites submissions for its forthcoming special issue
devoted to Victorian Disability. From the development of new sign systems
for the blind and deaf, to the growth of eugenics, from Dickens’ one-
legged man, Silas Wegg, to the disabled communities that populate the
fiction of Charlotte Yonge, the Victorians were creating and consolidating
ideas of ability, normalcy, difference, health, and illness. This special
issue seeks to explore the constructions of ability and disability that
circulated in Victorian Britain and abroad.

Recent critical work in Disability Studies has suggested disability as
another mode of analysis alongside class, race, gender and sexuality in
the understanding of culture. How can a focus on ableness complicate
traditional readings of gender, class, race, and sexuality in the period?
We particularly invite submissions that engage with the challenge that
Disability Studies poses for the future of Victorian Studies. To what
extent might Disability Studies pressure conventional disciplinary
boundaries? How might we approach Victorian Disability Studies while
recognizing that the term “disability” and the meanings we now grant to it
as a general category did not exist in the Victorian period?

Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):

The Representation of Disability in Victorian Literature
Disability and Cultural Production (blind poets, deaf artists)
Disability and the Practice of Reading
Disability Communities and Cultures
Medicine and Disability
Social Darwinism and Eugenics
Industrialization and Disability
The Materiality of Disability (canes, wheelchairs, ear trumpets)
The Languages of Disability (Braille, Sign)
Celebrity and Disability
The Spectacularisation of Disability
Health, Disability and Invalidism
The Institutionalization of Disability (educational, governmental and

Essays must be between 5000 and 8000 words and formatted according to MLA
guidelines. Please submit electronic copies of essays to both of the
issue’s guest editors by September 15, 2008:

Christopher Keep
Department of English
The University of Western Ontario

Jennifer Esmail
Department of English
Queen’s University

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Received on Thu Apr 24 2008 - 14:46:08 EDT