Conference ‚Contact Zones‘

Conference Information:

Culture, Disability, Theory
Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies
University of Cologne, October 25 – 27, 2012

Disability Studies conceptualizes disability as a social and cultural construction that can be traced throughout a multiplicity of cultural practices. Cultural Studies, however, has yet to fully incorporate disability as an object of inquiry and a framework for critical analyses. A continuing dialogue between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies paves the way for insightful resonances and demonstrates ways to critically consider the conceptual pair of normalcy and disability with respect to strategies of cultural interpretation and production.

The systematic understanding of disability as ‘naturalized construction’ promises insights not only for those who are currently subsumed under the label ‘disabled.’ How is cultural knowledge about embodiment and subjectivity produced, transformed and reinforced? What are the political consequences for an analysis of ‘disability’ that arise from a critique of neoliberal mechanisms of differentiation and exclusion? How are individual and social identities, self-conceptions, and body-images (trans-)formed through the reflection of cultural representation? Which theoretical frameworks of contemporary cultural criticism can be employed to rethink disability in terms of an affirmative conceptualization of socio-cultural difference?

This conference brings together scholars who are working at the interface of Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Presentations will be complemented with comments by researchers and graduate students of, among others, sociology, literature, art history and philosophy based at the University of Cologne. The conference will address the multitude of possible overlaps between both disciplines and aims to contribute to the thriving discourse of ‘Cultural Disability Studies.’

Confirmed keynote speakers are:

Dr Ria Cheyne, Liverpool Hope University
Professor Lennard Davis, University of Illinois, Chicago
Professor Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University, Atlanta
Professor Dan Goodley, Manchester Metropolitan University
Katerina Kolarova Ph.D., Charles University, Prague
Professor Robert McRuer, George Washington University, Washington DC
Dr Heike Raab, University of Innsbruck
Professor Margrit Shildrick, Linköping University
Professor Tobin Siebers, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
There is no conference fee, but registration is necessary (until October 10, 2012).

Please see link above to find the registration form.


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