2018 NeMLA CFP- Disability Studies and Postcolonial Literary Space

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Shubhangi Garg Mehrotra/ University at Buffalo
contact email: 


According to Sara Upstone, postcolonial novelists continuously wrestle with “attempting to capture a sense of action –and resistance –on a scale larger than the national, yet at the same time caught in the significance of place in order to reflect the geospecific impact of colonization” (57). As much as this “larger-than-national space” continues to haunt postcolonial authors, they also grapple with the biopolitics of “smaller-than-national locations” (Upstone, 85). The metaphor of “disabled identity” is frequently employed for the marginalized categories dwelling in these “liminal spaces;” however the materiality and phenomenology of being disabled and dependent in these tangible spaces relatively remains neglected in the postcolonial criticism. With an aim to remap disability in the postcolonial space as a crucial and integral identity-category, some example of questions that this panel is looking to find answers on, but not limited to, are: How is 'disability' as an identity negotiated and performed in the private/public, urban/domestic or the ‘liminal’ spaces of postcolonial literature? How do social-spaces reproduce the geographies of disability? How does the representation of disability challenge the postcolonial 'Self/Other' dichotomy? Are disabled characters included in the postcolonial ‘imagined community’? What boundaries do postcolonial authors merge or create in representing the disabled characters on the map of postcolonial literature? How are subjectivities of disabled population negotiated in the space and dynamics of the power-relations of the postcolonial sphere? How does disability permeate the postcolonial fiction- is it just used as a ‘Narrative Prosthesis’ as argued by Mitchell and Snyder or does it reflect beyond the metaphorical terrain of impairment?

Please submit a 300-350 word abstract by September 30, 2017 for 15-20 minutes paper presentation. Priority will be given to proposals that examine recent postcolonial fictions and employ an interdisciplinary approach. All abstracts must be submitted through this link: https://www.cfplist.com/nemla/Home/S/17155.



Upstone, Sara. Spatial Politics in the Postcolonial Novel. Ashgate Publishing, 2009.