Re-Orienting Disability, Seminar at New Chaucer Society, 16-14 July 2014 (proposals due Jun 1)
Here is the CFP for "Re-Orienting Disability" at next summer's New Chaucer Society conference in Reykjavík, organized by Jonathan Hsy and Julie Orlemanski. The two-hour format will be that of a "seminar," with pre-circulated papers of no more than 2000 words. Our time at the conference will be spent in conversation about new directions that might be taken in the study of disability in the Middle Ages.
Interested participants should submit one-paragraph abstracts outlining the most compelling, urgent, tricky, or exciting question(s) facing a medievalist disability studies at present. We welcome submissions from scholars who work in fields outside of English literature, including literature in other languages, as well as the history of medicine, music, art history, or materials outside the medieval Latin West.
The deadline for abstracts is June 1, 2013. The conference will take place 16-20 July, 2014.
Since the category of "disability" was not in circulation in the Middle Ages, what exactly does a medievalist disability studies investigate? The scholarship of the last decade suggests that such research begins with acts of translation: by moving between disability in the present and its analogues and precursors in the past; by crossing from disability's recent discursive contexts to distinctly medieval configurations of care, sensory experience, constructed environments, physical impairment, and notions of embodied difference; and by marking both the similitudes and the disjunctions between, say, blindness then and blindness now, between literal blindness and spiritual, between blindness as a narrative device and as a lived experience. Building on such insightful recent work, this seminar will bring together up to six participants engaged in "re-orienting" the study of disability in the Middle Ages. What questions and methodologies, we ask, promise to open up new lines of theoretical, historical, or literary-critical inquiry? How do disability approaches (re)constitute and (re)configure social relations and modes of analysis?
Interested participants should submit one-paragraph abstracts outlining the most compelling, urgent, tricky, or exciting question(s) facing a medievalist disability studies. We welcome submissions from scholars who work in fields outside of English literature, including literature in other languages, as well as the history of medicine, music, art history, or materials outside the medieval Latin West.
Selected participants will be asked to submit papers of no more than 2000 words prior to the conference, concerning new directions (in methodology, subject matter, or theoretical conceptualization) in the study of disability in the age of Chaucer (broadly conceived). In the interest of being "oriented" as well as "re-oriented" within disability studies, we will also ask participants each to recommend an essay or book chapter that s/he considers essential reading in the field. Participants' papers as well as their recommended readings will be available to prospective audience members registered for the conference. The conversation at NCS, informed by our shared reading, will explore the new possibilities for studying medieval disability.