Archaeology and Disability: Critical Perspectives and Inclusive Practices. TAG 2012.

full name / name of organization: 
William Southwell-Wright

Dear all,

Please find below a call for papers for a proposed TAG session, 'Disability and Archaeology: Critical Perspectives and Inclusive Practices'. The 34th Annual Meeting of the Theoretical Archaeology Group will be held at the University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, from the 17th-19th of December 2012. You can view the conference website at:

Abstract: Disability and Archaeology: Critical Perspectives and Inclusive Practices.
Impairment, ill health and disease is a constant of all human societies, yet social reactions to such conditions have varied considerably based on the organisation and attitudes of a given society. Whilst throughout the academy and wider activism a vibrant range of Disability Studies have arisen to look at the differences between impairment and its social reception in both contemporary and past societies, archaeology has for the most part had little impact on these debates and the construction of disability theory. Whilst many archaeological narratives take heed of the importance of age, gender, ethnicity and social status in reconstructing past societies, disability is rarely considered and the past we reconstruct is often all-too able-bodied. Whilst there has been an intermittent body of literature relating to disability in archaeology, much discussion and use of the term outside of this still uses 'disability' in a reductive and bio-medically oriented manner that ignore its socially-constructed character. This session aims to look at ways in which Archaeology can better understand and incorporate disability and difference in both our understandings of the past and in our current working and academic practices, and to identity future directions that work on disability could take.

Papers for the session could address the following themes:
• Ways in which inter-disciplinary and critical perspectives on disability such as the Social and Cultural Models can be incorporated into Archaeological interpretations.
• The applicability of archaeological evidence to key questions within wider Disability Studies.
• The past social status of impairment, bodily difference and disability as interpreted through bioarchaeological and funerary evidence and/or material culture.
• Disabling practices within Archaeology and more inclusive models in both work and community outreach.

If you wish to submit to the session, please email by the 22nd of June with the following:
• Paper title (maximum of 20 words)
• Paper abstract (150 words max)
• Your name, affiliation and contact details

If you have any queries or problems, please feel free to contact me.

Will Southwell-Wright
PhD candidate
Department of Archaeology, Durham University