Edited Collection -- Disability and the Vampire

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Brooke Cameron / Queen's University

CFP: edited collection -- Disability and the Vampire

Dr. Brooke Cameron (Queen’s University), Peadar O’Dea (Maynooth University) and Adam Owsinski (Charles Darwin University) invite proposals for chapters that explore the connections between vampires and disability, from history to modern cultural and popular representations.

Project Description:

From its inception, the vampire has long been associated with disability and illness. Before it was named as “vampire” by western officials (eg the Arnold Paole case, c1726), the revenant was a figure well established in eastern folkloric traditions as a way to make sense of wasting diseases and chronic illnesses as well as the rampant and devastating effects of plague. And in naming and claiming this figure for its own literary and cultural tradition, Western officials and authors (from Germany to Britain) reproduced — if not outright invented and amplified — this narrative of the vampire as an outsider figure, an “Other” upon and through whom ableist fears and discriminatory narratives would propagate throughout the eighteenth century and after.  

This edited collection is interested in scholarly work that focuses on the role of disability and illness in the cultural and literary history of the vampire. Drawing from recent work in Critical Disability Studies as well as the postmodern turn in Monster Theory, we are especially interested in essays that centre disability and illness in order to challenge this cultural history. After all, as Jack Halberstam writes in Skin Shows (1995), we have grown “suspicious of monster hunters, monster makers,” and instead sympathize with, if not root for, the vampire. 

Chapters in this collection will encourage us to think about the central role that disability and illness have played in the formation of this particular Gothic monster, and will also therefore encourage us to ask who or what is the real “monster” in this history. We seek chapters on the range of disabilities and illnesses central (but also marginalized or caricatured) in the vampire’s story; and we also hope to see submissions that address this wide range of forms that encompass this cultural legacy – including submissions on vampires in literature and film, as well as chapters on folklore or Victorian science and the vampire. We also invite chapters that encourage our rethinking of the disabled vampire in the time of covid, or how the pandemic has given us yet another chance to engage with this Gothic figure and their legacy.    

We have currently secured chapters on: 

  • Cripping The Count: A Disability Studies Reading of Dracula. 
  • The Freak Show and Disgusting Cultural Transmissions
  • Neurodiversity and Vampire “Rules” in Late-Victorian Literature 
  • Peter Wolf’s Deafula: Deafness through the Lens of “Monstrosity”?

We are seeking chapter proposals on–but are not limited to–the following topics:

  • Chapter(s) on disability and vampirism in medical literature
  • Chapter(s) on disability and the vampire scares of the 18th and 19th centuries
  • Disability in nineteenth-century vampire literature, when the genre is born (?)
  • Chapter(s) on disability and vampirism in modern film
  • Disability and the vampire in contemporary politics, especially in light of the COVID pandemic
  • The visually-impaired Vampire
  • Vampirism and blood illnesses
  • the vampiric “turn” and critical disability 
  • Vampires and transhuman abilities/ableism
  • A MAD Studies approach to vampirism/ the vampire
  • Disability Activism and the Vampire  

Proposals of 400-500 words should be submitted along with a 60-word author biography and one-page cv to brooke.cameron@queensu.ca by 31 May 2023.

We will notify applicants of results by 31 July 2023. Following acceptance, final papers should be approximately 5,000-6,000 words long and will be due by 01 Dec 2023. Routledge has expressed interest in this collection.