CFP: Disability Studies and Ecocriticism: Critical and Creative Intersections

Call for papers

This CFP calls for critical essays and creative works that address the intersection of disability studies and ecocriticism, or disability and the environment. In terms of critical essays, we will consider analyses of novels, poetry, comics, dance, art, and movies. We will also consider creative works (including creative nonfiction, poetry, and fiction) that center on an exploration of the relationship(s) between disability and the environment.

We are particularly interested in works that address the following broad questions in specific ways: What can be gained by investigating ecological issues through the lens of disability studies? What can be gained by investigating disability through the lens of ecocriticism? How can these two viewpoints be joined?

​In disability studies the environment is already an issue as the social model situates the impaired, and possibly disabled, body in the world. It is the social environment that disables after all. To state the obvious, this emphasis on the environment substantiates, to a degree, the major concern of ecocritics. However, there are also problems. As Tom Shakespeare points out, the social model is limited: Not every environment, human or not, can be made fully accessible. Can, truly, a mountainous terrain be made accessible to everyone? From the perspective of ecocriticism, making an environment accessible for humans, disabled or nondisabled, could be seen as anthropocentric and, hence, oppressive to nature: The social model in its attempt to eradicate one area of oppression has reinforced the objectification of nature. What would it take to be just to both humans and nature? What is lost or gained by those within the disability community by exercising this “deep social model” that respects all parties within an environmental context?

Questions that might be considered:

How does disability allow for a rethinking of ‘natural’ spaces?
How does ecology allow for a rethinking of “ability’ or ‘disability,’ of who we are as humans?
How is the social model revised through an intense look at how nature “disables” all of us in the end?
What might the study of ability and disability teach us about the ethics of living in the world?
How does disability allow for an opening out of an ableist humanity and into a way of being that embraces our animality?
How do cultural representations of disability rhetorically connect disability with animality?
How does the disabled or nondisabled posthuman interact with nature?

Please send 300-500 word proposals to Dr. Christine Junker (Wright State University) and Dr. Todd Comer (Defiance College) by this deadline: March 1, 2018. If your submission is creative, please contact Dr. Junker with any questions. Final critical essays should be around 6,000 words in length. Emails: tcomer@defiance.edu and christine.wilson@wright.edu.

This double issue is expected to be published in 2019.​

Deadline: March 1, 2018

Posted: February 07, 2018