Bodies on the Line: Intersections between Gender and Dis|ability

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
gender forum: An Internet Journal for Gender Studies

For a long time the relationship between gender and dis|ability has been viewed in a subtractive or additive fashion, often pointing to the emasculation of men or double discrimination against women. The portrayal of dis|ability annihilating gender and exacerbating systems of oppression can be found in mainstream media and disciplinary scholarship alike. While identity is commonly explored through the axes of race, class, and gender, arguments have been put forward to include the category of the body or dis|ability (Smith & Hutchison 2006, Winker & Degele 2009, Walgenbach 2007). Be it Rosemarie Garland Thomson’s assertion of ‘feminist disability studies’ or Tom Shakespeare’s, Russell Shuttleworth’s, and Thomas Gerschick’s work on ‘disabled masculinities,’ or approaches within Queer Studies, the shared objective is to catalyze a negotiation of the interlocking of identity markers in subject formation and the resulting particularities of oppression that permeate all of these discourses. In tackling these questions, conceptualizations of bodily difference similarly move to address the construction of normalcy, heteropatriarchy and privilege. With a pointed interest in gender and dis|ability, this issue of gender forum investigates the mutually constitutive relationship between these analytical categories as well as their representation in the Arts. What are the transformative powers and vital concerns negotiated in the paintings of Frida Kahlo, the performance art of Bob Flanagan, the poems of Kay Ulandy Barrett, the athletic performances of Oscar Pistorius, or the pop songs of Victoria Modesta? With reference to Kimberly Crenshaw’s analytical framework of intersectionality, this issue intends to explore the complicated relationship between dis|ability and gender. How does dis|ability affect gender formation? How does gender play itself out in the lived experience of the dis|abled body? What role do gendered and ableist stereotypes play in shaping subject positions as well as social groups? What impact does the expansion of the traditional triad of race, class, gender have on questions of politics, human diversity and the materiality of the body? Potential topics may include:

  • literary and visual representations of gendered dis|ability or dis|ableist gender.
  • life writing and life narrative.
  • multi-abled / mixed-abled theatre productions and performance art.
  • bionics, prosthetics, human enhancement technologies.
  • current forms of eugenic practices in Western cultures.
  • right wing populism, border policies, welfare cuts as well as protest, activism and equal rights movements.
  • possible linkages to the fields of New materialism, Posthumanism, Ecocentrism or Animal Studies.
  • thinking dis|ability and gender through approaches such as grievablility(Judith Butler), ethics of care (Myriam Winance, Joan Tronto, A. Damamme, Susan Wendell) or vulnerability (Margrit Shildrick).

Abstracts of no more than 300 words and a brief biography should be submitted to gender-forum@uni-koeln.de and tarapata.olga@gmail.com by December 15, 2017. The deadline for the completed papers of 5000-8000 words (MLA 8, numbered paragraphs) is February 15, 2018.

(Publication date: Spring 2018)