Call for Submissions: Disability and Antislavery Activism Anthology (DEADLINE EXTENDED)

Dea Boster's picture
Call for Publications
September 16, 2020 to October 2, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Atlantic History / Studies, African American History / Studies, Black History / Studies, Slavery, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology

We are extending the deadline to submit proposals for a project examining historical intersections between disability and antislavery activism, both broadly defined. The goal of this edited volume is to revisit the history of antislavery movements with a focus on disability, thereby illuminating patterns and interactions that have been largely overlooked in cultural assumptions as well as scholarship. In many ways, constructs of disability and ableism were prominent in antislavery discourse throughout Europe and the Americas for centuries, even if many participants in that discourse did not question their own assumptions about disability, racial constructs, and enslaved bodies.


This collection will offer a variety of historical perspectives on the intersections between race, disability, and slavery in antislavery movements. We welcome academic research that addresses histories of disability in antislavery discourse and activism across the Atlantic world, not limited to any specific culture or time period. Ideally, our volume would feature a wide variety of perspectives and topics, including (but not limited to):

  • Discussions of slave “fitness” for freedom and/or citizenship
  • Issues of authenticity in antislavery discourse and propaganda
  • Religious dimensions of antislavery activism and disability constructs
  • Political and/or legal concerns about disabled former slaves as “public burdens”
  • Intersections of race and/or gender and disability in abolitionism
  • Medical/scientific perspectives on race, chronic illness, and debility among slaves that served as justification for antislavery movements
  • Disability as “damage imagery” to emphasize the cruelty of bondage in music, poetry, and visual media
  • Embodied experiences of slaves and/or antislavery activists
  • Crosscultural or transnational comparisons of disability constructs in antislavery movements
  • Evolution and/or continuity of disability constructs over time



Dea H. Boster and Nathaniel Kogan


Target Audience

We anticipate that this volume would be useful for students and scholars of disability history and theory, as well as the histories of slavery and abolitionism. We intend to submit our proposal to the University of Illinois Press as part of their Disability Histories series.



We invite proposals for original chapters between 5,000-8,000 words. Proposals should include:

  • A proposed title and 300-500 word abstract
  • Author name(s), affiliation(s), and contact information

Please email proposals to Dea Boster ( by Friday, October 2, 2020

Contact Info: 

Dea H. Boster, Ph.D.

Humanities Department, Columbus State Community College


Nathaniel Kogan, Ph.D.

Rowland Hall-St. Mark's School, Chair, Department of History

Contact Email: