CFP: Intellectual Disability in Literature (10/01/02; collection of essays)

full name / name of organization: 
John J. Han & Carol Austin

Previously unpublished critical essays are being sought for a new volume tentatively entitled Intellectual Disability in Literature: Critical Essays. Disability studies is a rapidly emerging academic discipline, as is evidenced by the increasing number of degree programs in disability across the United States. An area of study within disability studies is the representation of disability in literature. Imaginative texts are replete with intellectually challenged characters. Novels such as Dostoyevsky's The Idiots, Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, and O'Connor's The Violent Bear It Away include developmentally delayed characters. Other types of prose also include characters called in variously disparaging terms.

Although mentally disabled characters have received some critical attention from literary scholars, the amount of in-depth research has been sporadic. Indeed, the intersection of intellectual disability and literature has been the area of study mostly for specialists in disability. Intellectual Disability in Literature aims to fill gaps by compiling academic essays on various issues related to mental disability in literature.

The volume will consist of 15-20 critical essays which are divided into 3-5 thematic categories such as "The Function of Characters with Intellectual Disability," "The Representation of Intellectual Disability in Literature," "Portrayal of Normality versus Disability in Literary Texts," and "Issues of Gender, Race, and Class in Intellectual Impairments in Literature." (The section titles may change based on the types of papers we receive from our contributors.)

We welcome submissions from both literary scholars and nonliterary academics who have some background in literature and the humanities. Interested scholars should submit a 500-word abstract and a professional vita, as e-mail attachments, to John J. Han ( by October 1, 2012. Deadline for completed essays of 15-20 pages is April 1, 2013. We plan to finish editing accepted submissions by September 1, 2013. An academic publisher in Amsterdam responded positively to our proposal and is willing to consider the entire manuscript.

John J. Han, Ph.D.
Professor of English and Creative Writing
Missouri Baptist University
St. Louis, MO 63141-8660
(314) 392-2311

Carol Austin, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Counseling and Human Services
Missouri Baptist University
St. Louis, MO 63141-8660
(314) 744-5324

Han and Austin are co-authors of the essay "Portrayal of Intellectual Disability in John Steinbeck's Fiction: Tularecito, Lennie, and Johnny Bear" (Kansas English, Fall 2008) and are collaborating on an essay on intellectually challenged characters in Flannery O'Connor's fiction.