Call for Papers: Session Sponsored by the Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession, MLA Annual Convention, San Francisco, Calif. --
December 27-30, 2008
"Disability and Human Rights"
In recent years, disability scholars and activists have increasingly turned to the language of human rights as a framework for advocating and understanding the ethical claims of the disability rights movement and the aims of politicizing disability as a social justice project. For many, the appeal of such an approach lies in large part with its explicitly inclusive reach; for to speak of "disability rights" as "human rights" insists that disability matters are universal concerns rather than "special needs." Correlatively, this holistic and integrative approach to disability has also been promoted by the international human rights community. For their political project, incorporating disability under the rubric of human rights consolidates a more robust and expansive framework for the politics of "rights", as it reflects the postulate that, in the words of a 2002 report on Disability and Human Rights sponsored by the United Nations, "civil and political rights, on the one hand, and economic, social and cultural rights, on the other, are interdependent and interrelated."
This special session, sponsored by the MLA's standing committee on Disability Issues in the Professions, invites papers that explore the intersections of disability rights and analysis in terms of the political language of human rights. We seek papers that historicize, theorize, or chronicle this development in any national or global contexts. We are especially interested in papers that consider the linkage of disability and human rights as it implicates or is implicated in the contemporary critique of the human rights political project as implicitly individualistic, universalizing, Western, and colonial.
Papers may address cultural histories, legal discourse, critical theory, literature, visual culture, public policy, and/or the academic profession. We are especially interested in considerations that engage global concerns and would additionally welcome responses to from feminist, queer, or postcolonial theoretical perspectives.
Possible topics include:
-- the language of "disability", the language of "human rights"
-- disability-based response to the challenge of cultural relativism and other critiques of international human rights project
-- representations of "disability rights" as "human rights" in literature, art, performance, or film
-- disability rights in academic contexts
-- legal texts, such as treaties, constitutions, cases, etc.
-- disability and the construction of the human
-- conceptualizations of the post-human or non-human
-- issues of political and cultural praxis
-- transnational contexts and comparative approaches
-- cultural historical and critical legal approaches
-- discourses of "dignity" and "inclusion"
-- the critical/political limits of "rights" discourse (i.e., how "rights" function as "norms")
-- human rights, civil rights, and citizenship
Please send abstracts of 250-300 words and a short (2 page) CV with updated contact information by March 28 to:
Dr. Eden Osucha (English, Bates College) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Panelists must become members of the MLA by April 7.
Dr. Eden Osucha
Department of English
305 College St.
Lewiston, ME 04240
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