Extended Deadline: Call for Proposals for Stanford Disability Studies Conference

Brigitte Pawliw-Fry's picture
Call for Papers
February 25, 2019
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Cultural History / Studies, Humanities, Communication, Contemporary History, Public Health

The Disability Studies Committee at Stanford University is proud to present its first annual graduate student conference: Mediations: Disability, Technology, and the Arts, with Elizabeth Ellcessor as the keynote speaker. From the politics of assistive technologies, to the normative assumptions built into communicative formats, to the role of ableism in media production, disability studies in the last decade has further embraced thematic and methodological approaches from media studies and science and technology studies (STS), moving beyond the study of representations to better understand the myriad ways that media and disability intersect.

Despite this, many scholars argue that there remains much work to be done on more explicitly conceptualizing how media studies and STS might inform approaches to disability, and vice versa. In Disability Media Studies (2017), Elizabeth Ellcessor and Bill Kirkpatrick assert that media studies has largely ignored disability as a category of analysis, neglecting “the physical experiences and technological interactions that structure media use at a material level, [and] often silently assuming normative forms of spectatorship or sensory engagement” (18).

Meanwhile, they argue that disability studies could use a more nuanced appreciation of the “political economy of media production, and the industrial strategies, cultures, and practices that inform the creation and distribution of media representations” (17). Other scholars such as Jonathan Sterne, Laura Mauldin, and Mara Mills have made similar points, and the stage is set for methodological cross-pollination.

This conference seeks papers to take up the challenge of exploring the relationship between disability studies, media studies, and STS. Furthermore, in light of recent scholarship on media and self-expression, we encourage submissions that examine artistic representations relating to disability in light of these methodological considerations. We are interested in contributions that might explore, but are not limited to:

  • Disability and Assistive Technologies
  • Artistic Expression and Representation
  • Gender Studies and Disability
  • Queer/Crip Theory
  • Intersections with Critical Race Studies
  • Mental Health

Presenters need not be in a disability or media studies departments to apply but should offer research in conversation with the two fields.

Our day-long conference will host research presentations alongside workshops. In addition to academic panels and discussions, the venue will be filled with artwork and exhibitions by the local Stanford disability community. In the spirit of infrastructural and cultural accessibility, Mediations: Disability, Technology, and the Arts is open to public participation, and presenters are encouraged to prepare to speak to both colleagues and non-specialists.

Conference participants should look forward to a unique experience that brings together critical discussion and public engagement.  

Please submit to disabilitystudiescommittee@gmail.com:

  • A 300 word abstract of your paper
  • A 100 word brief bio
  • Any accessibility concerns or comments
Contact Info: 

For any inquiries, please contact the conference organizers: Frank Mondelli (frankvm@stanford.edu), Brigitte Pawliw-Fry (bpf@stanford.edu), Anima Shrestha (anshres@stanford.edu), and Rachel Wallstrom (rjwall@stanford.edu).