Representing Disability in Literature, Film, and Television in Hispanic Cultures (NeMLA 2023 Roundtable)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Northeast Modern Languages Association (NeMLA)

54th NeMLA Annual Convention, March 23-26, 2023 in Niagara Falls, New York

While representations of disability can be found across creative fields throughout history, their study and sociopolitical implications in society’s popular imaginary only started gaining traction in the 1990s, namely in the United States and United Kingdom. Since then, pioneering scholarly work has paved the way for further critical attention to a reality that has been often instrumentalized to 1) advance ableist notions of “normalcy” through what Sally Chivers and Nicole Markotić (2010) term the “problem body;” and 2) to exclude from the social realm those who deviate from the established able-bodied norms. 

In the context of Hispanic Studies, the discussions on disability within Hispanic cultural production is relatively recent and rather atomized. However, an increasing body of work has emerged in the past decade, particularly thanks to what Benjamin Fraser (2013, 2016) notes as a global turn within the field of Disability Studies. These scholarly works bring critical attention to the need for cultural representations of disability, but also, and more importantly, to how disability is portrayed on paper and on screen.

This roundtable invites proposals that examine representations of disability in literature, film, and television in Hispanic cultures. We encourage submissions that analyze cultural products that problematize discourses and depictions of disability, aimed at reinforcing or disrupting ablenationalist cultural practices and social dynamics. Of particular interest are contributions that explore innovative ways in which creators employ generic and intersectional frameworks to subvert hegemonic representations of disability and delineate new discursive avenues to imagine non-ableist possibilities. Some of the questions we aim to address include, but are not limited to, the following: do cultural artifacts reinstate ableist discourses resorting to the disabled body, broadly understood, as a convenient rhetorical device? Do they subvert dominant ableist discourses to underline societal inequities? Do they envision differently abled bodies in a new way that invite us to question our current conceptual frameworks?

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words in Spanish or English by September 30, 2022, at 

Should you have any questions contact Felipe Pruneda Sentíes (pruneda@hendrix) and Ruth Z. Yuste-Alonso (