"Disability on the Cusp" Essay Cluster

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Cusp: Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century Cultures
contact email: 

Essay Cluster for Cusp: Late 19th-/Early 20th-Century Cultures


Disability on the Cusp:

Transitions, Transformations, Intersections


While Victorian studies and modernist studies have each developed substantial bodies of criticism on the subject of disability, these conversations have for the most part taken place separately, with their own distinct vocabularies and perspectives. Aimed at overcoming this critical divide, this essay cluster invites submissions that examine disability on the cusp—as it developed from the late nineteenth century up through the mid-twentieth. Consequently, the essays in this cluster will be especially attentive to the transitions, transformations, and intersections that belonged to disability during the long turn of the century. Topics include but are not limited to:

-The development of disability as a category within medical science

-The transformation of the social structures that defined and demarcated the experience of disability

-The changing relationship between disability and other identity categories like class, race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation

-The aesthetic revolutions in representing disability in literature and other media

-The cultural connections and divisions that emerged around disability within the international contexts of empire and globalization

-The differences in critical approaches to disability across historical fields (e.g., Victorian and modernist, nineteenth and twentieth century)

Essays for this cluster should be between 2,500 and 3,500 words. They should seek to make provocative, field-level claims, along the lines of a roundtable paper. Excerpts from larger projects will be acceptable if they are independently framed. Please send a brief scholarly bio and abstract to robertvolpicelli@rmc.edu by March 15th. Final essays will be approved through peer review.