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Literary, Cultural, and Disability Studies: A Tripartite Approach to Poststructuralism

Date: 8 June 2009 Time: 10.00-16.00 pm

SEMINAR INVITATION: This is the second seminar in the series Literary, Cultural, and Disability Studies: A Tripartite Approach to Criticism and Theory, funded by the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences and the Centre for Disability Research, chaired by Professor Carol Thomas, and organised by Hannah Morgan and Dr. David Bolt at Lancaster University.

DATE: Monday 8 June 2009.

PLACE: Bowland North Seminar Room 6

GUEST SPEAKERS: Professor Robert McRuer (George Washington University) and Professor Dan Goodley (Manchester Metropolitan University).

PAPER PRESENTATION: If you would like to present a paper about disability and poststructuralism, please send a proposal (250 words max) by email on or before 1 March 2009 to Dr. Bolt (

REGISTRATION: To register for the seminar, please contact Dr. Bolt ( by 1 April 2009. Lancaster attendees will be given priority.

PURPOSE: The reading lists of literary and cultural studies departments throughout the world are abundant with primary texts that represent disability in one way or another. Yet few of these departments approach the primary texts from a perspective that is informed by disability studies. Unlike the conceptually comparable constructs of ethnicity, gender, class, and sexuality, those of disability are generally deemed beyond the scope of literary and cultural studies.

The seminar will contribute to the discourse around the modernisation of this taxonomy by demonstrating the value of literary and cultural criticism and theory that are informed by the discipline of disability studies. More specifically, the seminar will explore some of the ways in which the work of poststructuralism can benefit from disability studies.

Conversely, the seminar will also address a concern expressed in Petra Kuppers and James Overboe's CFP for the forthcoming Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies: Deleuze, Disability and Difference, that many disability scholars have been reluctant to use poststructuralism to disrupt ableism. This reluctance is far from typical in the emerging field of literary and cultural disability studies. Indeed, many contributors to the Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies draw on poststructuralism in the study of representational politics. In one issue, Professor McRuer follows Derrida in claiming solidarity, whenever necessary, with those who are "threatened, marginalized, minoritized, [and] delegitimated" (vol. 1.2). In another issue, Professor Goodley revisits a metaphor from Deleuze and Guattari, the body with/out organs, in order to consider possibilities for thinking of disability studies across the disciplinary lines of the social sciences and the humanities (forthcoming). Taking inspiration from these and other such scholars, the seminar will explore some of the ways in which the work of poststructuralism can benefit from disability studies, but also how the work of disability studies can benefit from poststructuralism.>


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: David Bolt, Hannah Morgan, Carol Thomas

Organising departments and research centres: Applied Social Science, Centre for Disability Research CeDR, Division of Health Research


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