CFP: Anthology on Disability and Masculinities (7/30/05; collection)

full name / name of organization: 
J Ferris
contact email: 

(Our apologies for cross-postings. Please circulate widely. Thanks.)

We are seeking submissions for an edited volume on Disability and
While there has been a wide range of writing and research on gender that
takes account of disabled women's perspectives, there is relatively little
work on disabled masculinities. An analysis of how the experience of
disability is affected by the negotiation of masculinity and vice versa
would provide an important missing link in disability studies. This gap in
disability studies scholarship was starkly apparent with the recent
publication of the groundbreaking volume Gendering Disability, in which
only a few chapters dealt explicitly with the intersection of disability
and masculinities.

This imbalance should be redressed for several reasons. First, we need to
document the lived experiences of disabled men in order to show the common
and diverse everyday prejudices and barriers by which they are disabled and
the various forms of response and resistance to these disabling factors.
Also, it is vital to consider how disabled masculinities are constructed in
particular contexts, including work/career environments, school settings,
the academic world, intimate and romantic/sexual situations. Especially
relevant are interpersonal relations, sexuality and the negotiation of
sexually intimate relationships: how do the above barriers and prejudices
and those exclusions specifically constructed around various forms of
intimacy and sexual identity play out in these important arenas?

Second, we seek to apprehend the ways in which modes of cultural
representation such as literature, film and other communications media
represent disabled men. How are disabled men characterized in these various
media? How does the construction of their characterizations play out
against hegemonic forms of masculinity? Do they play foil to the
representation of typical masculinity? And what are the existential,
psychological, social and cultural consequences of these characterizations
of disabled masculinity? How can negative representations of disabled
masculinity be resisted, challenged and eventually transformed?

Third, we need to understand how disabled masculinities articulate with the
hierarchies of genders (especially the subordination of women) and other
masculinities (especially hegemonic forms that tend to oppress). Knowing
the ways in which disabled masculinities can both comply with hegemonic
forms of masculinity in their oppression of other genders and social groups
and how they can also sometimes diverge from hegemonic masculinities may be
useful in the ongoing struggle to transform gender relations. Disability
studies should especially be interested in the question, what kinds of
alternative masculinities do disabled men construct? Are these
masculinities pragmatic in the face of multiple barriers in everyday life?
Do they resist, challenge, invert or subvert the current hegemonic gender

In this volume we also welcome comparative perspectives on the construction
of masculinities, including cross-cultural and cross-impairment approaches.
Different impairments both in contemporary Western societies and across
non-Western societies and cultures call into play divergent beliefs and
values that often impact differently on men and women. Examination of the
cultural understanding and response to a particular impairment will be
enriched by analysis of how different gender beliefs, expectations and
practices in a society articulate with the values that underlie the
construction of disability. As documented particularly in Western cultures,
women are often disproportionately excluded from particular cultural
domains because of the interplay of the beliefs regarding their particular
impairments with feminine expectations. But this is not always the case
(see for example Ablon's research on the differential access to intimate
relationships for men and women with neurofibromatosis, 1996, 1999). Any
interrogation of disabled masculinities in terms of differential access
needs to ask: How are disabled men differentially included or excluded in
particular cultural domains vis-à-vis disabled women, given the divisive
terms that organize gender? If included, do the cultural terms of their
inclusion exclude disabled women? We also need analyses of multiple
identity intersections and oppressions in the lives of disabled men. For
example, how does the construction of masculinity differ for disabled black
men from that of disabled white men? For disabled gay men from that of
disabled straight men? Etc. How does a hierarchization of disabled
masculinities play out in particular cases?

Finally, we strongly urge methodological and theoretical diversity in the
scholarship and research on disability and masculinities. We believe that a
diversity of methodological and conceptual approaches can illuminate the
multiple ways that disabled masculinities are lived, constructed,
performed, represented, characterized, enacted and practiced. We seek
scholars and researchers utilizing methods and theories from social
science, ethnographic and humanities perspectives or any combination thereof.

Suggested topics and questions for papers include (list is not exhaustive):
-- Complex phenomenological reflection on the lived experience of
disabled masculinities.
-- Ethnographic research on disabled masculinities.
-- Analyses of representations of disabled masculinity in literature,
film and other communications media.
-- In what ways does language inform, perform, label, and interpret the
intersection of disability and masculinities?
-- The intersection of female masculinities and disability.
-- In what ways do class, race, age and other social categories of
experience and practice affect disabled masculinities and vice versa?
-- The construction of disabled masculinities in the face of everyday
-- The construction of disabled masculinities in particular everyday
contexts: in work/career environments, school settings and the academic
world, sexual situations, etc.
-- How are disabled masculinities constructed in the face of hegemonic
masculinities? How are they complicit with hegemonic masculinities? How do
they diverge? How do disabled men resist hegemonic forms of masculinity?
What kinds of alternative masculinities are constructed by disabled men?

Please send ideas and abstracts (no more than 500 words) to both Russell
Shuttleworth ( and Jim Ferris ( by
July 30.

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Received on Tue May 03 2005 - 21:22:21 EDT