1. CFP: Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope

    Posted on August 26th, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Disability and Disciplines: The International Conference on Educational, Cultural, and Disability Studies

    5-6 July, 2017

    Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University

    Interdisciplinarity is pivotal in the development of the academy for many reasons, some of which form the conceptual framework of the Centre for Culture and Disability Studies. Although far from straightforward in practice, the thinking is that interdisciplinarity leads to curricular reform that itself leads to changes in social attitudes – or more specifically, that appreciation of disability studies within the various academic disciplines ultimately contributes to the erosion of ableism and disablism in culture and society.

    The organisers of the 4th biennial CCDS conference welcome proposals from professors, lecturers, students, and other interested parties for papers that explore the benefits of interdisciplinarity between Disability Studies and subjects such as Aesthetics, Art, Business Studies, Creative Writing, Cultural Studies, Education Studies, Film Studies, History, Holocaust Studies, International Studies, Literary Studies, Literacy Studies, Management Studies, Media Studies, Medical Humanities, Museum Studies, Philosophy, Professional Studies, Special Educational Needs,  Technology, and Women’s Studies. This list is meant to be suggestive rather than exhaustive.

    Paper proposals of 150-200 words should be sent to disciplines@hope.ac.uk on or before 1 February 2017.

    Paper presentations are allocated 20 minute slots and poster presentations, as well as themed panels of 3 papers are also encouraged.

    Booking information will be circulated in the coming weeks.

    Like Disability and Disciplines on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisciplinesConference

  2. CFP: The Medieval Brain Workshop, York

    Posted on August 26th, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    CFP: The Medieval Brain Workshop

    University of York

    10th – 11th March 2017

    As we research aspects of the medieval brain, we encounter complications generated by medieval thought and twenty-first century medicine and neurology alike. Our understanding of modern-day neurology, psychiatry, disability studies, and psychology rests on shifting sands. Not only do we struggle with medieval terminology concerning the brain, but we have to connect it with a constantly-moving target of modern understanding. Though we strive to avoid interpreting the past using presentist terms, it is difficult – or impossible – to work independently of the framework of our own modern understanding. This makes research into the medieval brain and ways of thinking both challenging and exciting. As we strive to know more about specifically medievalexperiences, while simultaneously widening our understanding of the brain today, we much negotiate a great deal of complexity.

    In this two-day workshop, to be held at the University of York on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th March 2017 under the auspices of the Centre for Chronic Diseases and Disorders, we will explore the topic of ‘the medieval brain’ in the widest possible sense. The ultimate aim is to provide a forum for discussion, stimulating new collaborations from a multitude of voices on, and approaches to, the theme.

    This call is for papers to comprise a series of themed sessions of papers and/or roundtables that approach the subject from a range of different, or an interweaving of, disciplines. Potential topics of discussion might include, but are not restricted to:

    • Mental health
    • Neurology
    • The history of emotions
    • Disability and impairment
    • Terminology and the brain
    • Ageing and thinking
    • Retrospective diagnosis and the Middle Ages
    • Interdisciplinary practice and the brain
    • The care of the sick
    • Herbals and medieval medical texts

    Research that grapples with terminology, combines unconventional disciplinary approaches, and/or parks debates around the themes is particularly welcome. We will be encouraging diversity, and welcome speakers from all backgrounds, including those from outside of traditional academia. All efforts will be made to ensure that the conference is made accessible to those who are not able to attend through live-tweeting and through this blog.

    Please send abstracts of up to 250 words for independent papers, or expressions of interest for roundtable topics/themed paper panels, by Friday 21st October 2016, to Deborah Thorpe at: deborah.thorpe@york.ac.uk.

  3. CFP: ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’, Glasgow

    Posted on August 23rd, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Monday 3rd April – Tues 4th April 2017

    University of Glasgow

    The Wellcome Trust-funded Conference ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’ brings contemporary Western expertise into dialogue with psychotherapeutic approaches from ‘other’ spatially, historically or otherwise ‘distant’ cultures. The Conference Committee invites abstracts of up to 300 words for 20-minute presentations, to be submitted by no later than 31st August 2016.

    Keynote Speakers:

    • Dr Chiara Thumiger, Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick: ‘Therapies of the word in ancient medicine’
    • Dr Jennifer Lea, Geography, University of Exeter: ‘Building “A Mindful Nation”? The use of mindfulness meditation in educational, health and criminal justice settings’
    • Dr Claudia Lang, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich: ‘Theory and practice in Ayurvedic psychotherapy’
    • Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh, Psychology, University of Northampton: ‘Anomalous experiences and mental health’

    University of Glasgow Organizing Committee:

    • Dr Gavin Miller (Chair), Medical Humanities Research Centre/English Literature
    • Dr Sofia Xenofontos, Classics
    • Dr Cheryl McGeachan, Geographical and Earth Sciences
    • Dr Ross White, Mental Health and Wellbeing

    Papers should address one or more of the conference’s four themes:

    1. Ancient approaches to psychotherapy
    This theme seeks to explore ancient and medieval approaches to psychotherapy from the Egyptian and Babylonian world, the Graeco-Roman antiquity, the Chinese and medieval Islamic and Jewish traditions. It aims to foreground various ancient practices used in ‘the cure of the soul’, investigating the extent to which modern psychiatric techniques draw upon such wisdom traditions. Other key goals will be to distinguish diverse conceptions of selfhood required or advanced in psychotherapeutic settings, and to consider the borders between religion, medicine, and philosophy.

    2. Geographies of Psychotherapy
    We invite papers that wish to examine the development of psychological ideas and practices and their transformative effect over a range of (global) spaces, sites and places. Although not limited to such themes, we encourage critical debates into the uneven development of psychological practices over time and space, the changing spatialities of caring practices, embodied practices of healing, and writing psychotherapeutic geographies.

    3. Postcolonial/Indigenous Psychotherapies
    The emergence of different, competing schools of Western psychotherapy has been accompanied by rapid development in the capacity to share knowledge globally. Western psychotherapies are juxtaposed with forms of healing based on markedly different epistemic and philosophical underpinnings. This theme considers whether indigenous forms of healing in LMICs can be viewed as de facto psychotherapies. Attention will focus on the dynamics of power in post-colonial contexts and how this has influenced the perceived credibility of western vs indigenous forms of therapeutic/healing interaction.

    4. Subcultural Psychotherapies
    We invite critical engagement with the propensity to see subcultural participation (bodybuilding, gaming, body modification, BDSM, Goth, Emo, etc.) as cause or predictor of psychopathology. While remaining open to subcultural pathogenesis, we encourage exploration of subculture’s therapeutic/salutogenic dimensions, including the recovery/survivor movement, popular/mass culture, new religious movements, and anomalous experiences such as mediumship and therianthropy.

    Abstract submission
    Abstracts (.doc, .docx, .rtf) should be emailed to arts-otherpsychs@glasgow.ac.uk by no later than 31 August 2016 along with a short biography (100 words or less). Abstracts will be considered by the conference organizing committee, and notifications will be communicated by no later than 30 September 2016.

    Journal Issue
    There will be an opportunity for a selection of papers presented at the conference to be developed into a thematic issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Transcultural Psychiatry (http://tps.sagepub.com/) that will be entitled ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’.

    Downloadable call
    A .pdf of this call may be downloaded: OtherpsychsCFP.

    Contact details

    If you have any queries, please contact us at arts-otherpsychs@glasgow.ac.uk or via Twitter on @otherpsychs.

  4. CFP: ‘Disability Studies’, Special Issue of Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation

    Posted on August 23rd, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation Special Disability Studies Themed Issue

    The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation is a peer-reviewed, multimedia, open-access journal. We are currently seeking submissions that can further the relationship and conversation between disability studies and the rehabilitation fields. We are particularly interested in pieces that explore the ways disability studies and rehabilitation can inform one another.

    A few potential submissions may include, but are not limited to:

    • An exploration of accommodation and access in the workplace for rehabilitation professionals with disabilities
    • Patient and family experiences and perspectives from a disability studies perspective
    • The history of disability studies and rehabilitation
    • Approaches to art or literature in rehabilitation education through the lens of disability studies
    • Book and film reviews pertaining to the subject of disability studies and rehabilitation
    • Rehabilitation technology and disability studies.

    The purpose of The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation is to increase awareness and foster the integration of humanities in the rehabilitation sciences.  Our mission is to encourage dialogue among rehabilitation professionals, patients, families and caregivers that describe the human condition as it experiences the impact of illness or disability.

    In that spirit, The Journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation publishes work that reflects and analyzes the physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual resources that comprise humanism in the rehabilitation.  We publish work in several genres, including perspectives pieces, personal narratives, reflections, poetry, video or photo essays, or original research articles.  We are also looking for reviews of films or books that may be relevant to this topic, or a personal blog/reflection that describes an interaction and provides a learning experience between a healthcare provider and an individual living with disabilities.  Accordingly, clinicians, researchers, students, patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and administrators are all challenged to submit creative works to the journal of Humanities in Rehabilitation to raise the consciousness and deepen the intellect of the humanistic dimension in rehabilitation.

    Submissions are due by 5th April 2017.

    For questions, please contact: jhrsubmissions@listserv.cc.emory.edu

    Sarah Blanton, PT, DPT, NCS
    Associate Professor
    Division of Physical Therapy
    Department of Rehabilitation
    Emory University School of Medicine

  5. CFP: ‘Autism Narratives’, Special Issue of Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies

    Posted on August 23rd, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies – Call for Papers

    Special Issue: Autism Narratives

    Guest Editors: Stuart Murray (English, University of Leeds) & Mark Osteen (English, Loyola University Maryland)

    2018 will mark the 10th anniversary of the publication of two major studies on the cultural representations of autism, Stuart Murray’s monographRepresenting Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination and Mark Osteen’s edited collection Autism and Representation. In the intervening years, autism representation has proliferated across media and been re-configured diagnostically in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-V. This special issue asks: what current topics shape the cultural conversations around autism? Has the greater profile of the condition over the last ten years led to improvements in the ways it is discussed and greater sophistication in its representations? Have increases in cross-and multi-disciplinary academic work produced more nuanced accounts of autism experiences? Where does the condition fit in recent developments in Disability Studies? In short, do we now know better what is meant by an ‘autism narrative’?

    Possible topics include (but are not limited to):

    • Autism in fiction, film, and life-narratives
    • Autism and the visual arts
    • Music and autism
    • DSM-V and changes in autism diagnosis; the ‘disappearance’ of Asperger’s syndrome
    • Autism and popular media
    • Theorising autism
    • Medical discourses of autism
    • Autism and social communities
    • Autism and technology
    • Autism and inter/dependence and care
    • Autism and cultural, ethnic and racial diversity

    Please email a one-page proposal to s.f.murray@leeds.ac.uk and mosteen@loyola.edu by 28th February 2017. Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by 31st March 2017. (Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on December 15, 2017). Please direct any questions to either guest editor. We welcome contributions from autistic/neuro-atypical persons.

  6. CFP: ‘Cultural contexts of health in the European Region’, Public Health Panorama

    Posted on July 24th, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Deadline for proposals: 30th September 2016

    Public Health Panorama (March 2017 Issue) calls for submission of papers for a special issue on the “cultural contexts of health (CCH) in the European Region”. This issue will be published in March 2017 in conjunction with the third WHO Expert Advisory Group meeting on CCH.

    Culture and Health

    Experiences of health are strongly influenced by their cultural contexts. Culture influences health outcomes by affecting the choices that people make; the beliefs and attitudes of policy-makers, health care professionals and members of the public; and the ways in which health systems operate.

    Exploring CCH requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, such as the one outlined in Health 2020. It means empowering people to find their own meanings of disease and health and creating more people-centred, culturally grounded health systems. A CCH approach also focuses on the role of culture in making communities resilient to health challenges, recognizing and engaging with culture as a potentially positive resource for well-being and exploring the extent to which case studies of cultural resilience can be translated elsewhere in the European Region. Last but not least, a CCH focus should also enable more holistic and nuanced health and well-being reporting that takes into account the subjective and diverse perspectives at the individual, community and national levels.

    Guidelines for Submitting Papers

    We invite conceptual and methodological papers that examine how culturally informed evidence can be used to advise and deliver effective health policy and intervention within the WHO European Region. Papers that draw on mixed methods and/or multi/interdisciplinary approaches from the health-related humanities and social sciences are particularly welcomed. Submitted papers should fall within the four broad WHO CCH focus areas:

    • well-being and mental health
    • migration
    • environment
    • nutrition.

    Examples of the kinds of issue that might be covered include:

    • the ways that narrative and other types of qualitative methodologies can be applied within a public health setting;
    • how concepts of cultural competency and communities of care can be incorporated practically into an applied health setting;
    • how culture can be a positive resource for health and well-being;
    • how culturally informed evidence can be used to inform a life-course approach to health and health care;
    • the mechanisms by which health and well-being reporting can be augmented through the use of cultural narratives;
    • the extent to which case studies of cultural resilience can be translated to other contexts and/or social groups within the European Region.

    Public Health Panorama welcomes papers that document experience and lessons learned in low-resource and transitional economies. Manuscripts may be submitted in either Russian or English. They should respect the guidelines for contributors and mention this call for papers in a covering letter. All submissions will be peer reviewed. Please contact the Public Health Panorama for further information.

  7. Exhibition: ‘Phantom Limb’, Liverpool, 9 July – 3 December 2016

    Posted on July 24th, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Phantom Limb is an interactive exhibition focusing on medicine, memory and the treatment process. It features around twenty works by nine artists, most of whom work from their own personal experiences of operations and illnesses.

    The exhibition is a partnership project between award-winning artist, Euan Gray, and Dr Daniel Whistler, from Liverpool University’s Centre for Health, Arts and Science.

    The exhibition highlights medicine and the psychological impact of the treatment process. In particular, it explores how memory physically and mentally affects illness, how pain impacts on memory and cognitive functioning and how memory impacts on pain physically (e.g. phantom pain) and mentally through trauma. It also considers the effect memory has on mental illness.

    The exhibition is being held at the University of Liverpool Victoria Gallery and Museum. It features as part of theLiverpool Biennial 2016 Fringe.

  8. CFP: ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’, Glasgow

    Posted on June 20th, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Monday 3rd April – Tues 4th April 2017

    University of Glasgow

    The Wellcome Trust-funded Conference ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’ brings contemporary Western expertise into dialogue with psychotherapeutic approaches from ‘other’ spatially, historically or otherwise ‘distant’ cultures. The Conference Committee invites abstracts of up to 300 words for 20-minute presentations, to be submitted by no later than 31st August 2016.

    Keynote Speakers:

    • Dr Chiara Thumiger, Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick: ‘Therapies of the word in ancient medicine’
    • Dr Jennifer Lea, Geography, University of Exeter: ‘Building “A Mindful Nation”? The use of mindfulness meditation in educational, health and criminal justice settings’
    • Dr Claudia Lang, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich: ‘Theory and practice in Ayurvedic psychotherapy’
    • Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh, Psychology, University of Northampton: ‘Anomalous experiences and mental health’

    University of Glasgow Organizing Committee:

    • Dr Gavin Miller (Chair), Medical Humanities Research Centre/English Literature
    • Dr Sofia Xenofontos, Classics
    • Dr Cheryl McGeachan, Geographical and Earth Sciences
    • Dr Ross White, Mental Health and Wellbeing

    Papers should address one or more of the conference’s four themes:

    1. Ancient approaches to psychotherapy
    This theme seeks to explore ancient and medieval approaches to psychotherapy from the Egyptian and Babylonian world, the Graeco-Roman antiquity, the Chinese and medieval Islamic and Jewish traditions. It aims to foreground various ancient practices used in ‘the cure of the soul’, investigating the extent to which modern psychiatric techniques draw upon such wisdom traditions. Other key goals will be to distinguish diverse conceptions of selfhood required or advanced in psychotherapeutic settings, and to consider the borders between religion, medicine, and philosophy.

    2. Geographies of Psychotherapy
    We invite papers that wish to examine the development of psychological ideas and practices and their transformative effect over a range of (global) spaces, sites and places. Although not limited to such themes, we encourage critical debates into the uneven development of psychological practices over time and space, the changing spatialities of caring practices, embodied practices of healing, and writing psychotherapeutic geographies.

    3. Postcolonial/Indigenous Psychotherapies
    The emergence of different, competing schools of Western psychotherapy has been accompanied by rapid development in the capacity to share knowledge globally. Western psychotherapies are juxtaposed with forms of healing based on markedly different epistemic and philosophical underpinnings. This theme considers whether indigenous forms of healing in LMICs can be viewed as de facto psychotherapies. Attention will focus on the dynamics of power in post-colonial contexts and how this has influenced the perceived credibility of western vs indigenous forms of therapeutic/healing interaction.

    4. Subcultural Psychotherapies
    We invite critical engagement with the propensity to see subcultural participation (bodybuilding, gaming, body modification, BDSM, Goth, Emo, etc.) as cause or predictor of psychopathology. While remaining open to subcultural pathogenesis, we encourage exploration of subculture’s therapeutic/salutogenic dimensions, including the recovery/survivor movement, popular/mass culture, new religious movements, and anomalous experiences such as mediumship and therianthropy.

    Abstract submission
    Abstracts (.doc, .docx, .rtf) should be emailed to arts-otherpsychs@glasgow.ac.uk by no later than 31 August 2016along with a short biography (100 words or less). Abstracts will be considered by the conference organizing committee, and notifications will be communicated by no later than 30 September 2016.

    Journal Issue
    There will be an opportunity for a selection of papers presented at the conference to be developed into a thematic issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Transcultural Psychiatry (http://tps.sagepub.com/) that will be entitled ‘Other Psychotherapies – across time, space, and cultures’.

    Downloadable call
    A .pdf of this call may be downloaded: OtherpsychsCFP

  9. ‘[O]ur wits are so diversely coloured’: Thoughts on the 2016 Disability and Shakespearean Theatre Symposium at Glasgow University

    Posted on June 3rd, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    By Jessi Parrot (@messijessijumps)

    In the public imagination, it would seem, disability and Shakespeare are not the most obvious pairing – that is, if the recent adaptation of the London tube map to feature all of Shakespeare’s characters in place of station names is anything to go by. Indeed, according to the image, commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company and to be found here, Richard III provides the only example of disability representation, which is denoted by the presence of the wheelchair symbol that usually signifies an accessible station. To the casual observer, then, convening a full day conference on the meeting points of these two subjects would be a futile exercise – not least because the most frequent references to impairment come in the form of (potentially offensive) metaphors like the following one, taken from one of the Chorus’ Prologue speeches in Henry V, referring to the impatient French:

    And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night
    Who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp
    So tediously away. (Henry V – Act IV, Prologue, ll. 21-23)

    Those who read Shakespeare specifically in relation to disability know that such beliefs are reductive (and indeed false), of course – and what the symposium at Glasgow did so wonderfully was to bring together a group of people who shared the primary aim of debunking them. When thinking of the noun with which I might best encapsulate the day, which I was given the opportunity to attend through a bursary from the British Shakespeare Association, what came to mind was ‘spectrum’. Following a search of the concordance at Open Source Shakespeare, it seems that this is a word which, although documented as in use during at least part of his lifetime, is one of the few that is entirely absent from Shakespeare’s works. The phrase I have chosen for the half-title of this blog post (‘our wits are so diversely coloured’) was found by way of a synonym from the period, ‘compass’, and appears near the word in a speech from the Third Citizen in Coriolanus. It suited as a description because it not only evokes the diversity of the human condition (which was represented in microcosm by the presenters at the symposium) but the equally diverse nature of the topics we brought with us.

    The spectrum was evident from the opening moments of the keynote address, given by Prof Chris Mounsey of The University of Winchester, who began by stating that he felt both ironic and inadequate, being an eighteenth-centuryist positioned as the academic authority for a day focused around a sixteenth-century playwright. His presentation centred on the application of the concept of VariAbility to Shakespeare’s corpus (a word I have used here in full cognisance of its dual denotation of both physical and literary bodies). He asked us to consider alternative ways of reading the manner in which difference is presented in the works of the Bard. Whilst he had much to share that was definitely ironic, it was more than adequate, and set the tone for the rest of the day – a sort of enamoured and informed irreverence.

    The panels which followed were similarly eclectic. These comprised of papers with subjects ranging from an analysis of Growing Up Downs (the fairly recent BBC documentary on an amateur production of Hamlet involving people with learning disabilities); or the implications of choosing, perhaps, to cast ‘Hamlet in a wheelchair’; to the potential staging decisions regarding Lavinia’s prostheses in Titus Andronicus; and the suggestion of reading King Lear with Lennard Davis’ concept of the ‘dismodern’ (a postmodern understanding of bodies that is fully incorporative of disability) in mind. My own contribution involved an analysis of the use of Shakespeare’s texts, and especially The Tempest, during the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic and Paralympic Games of London 2012.

    Where these presentations explored the significance of a disability-based reading of characters easily identified in Shakespeare, others sought to emphasise an absence. For instance, in acknowledging the copious metaphorical references to deafness across his works, one recognises the comparative paucity of representation given to Deaf characters (as opposed to the deliberate deafness employed by hearing individuals for a purpose usually involving manipulation). Similarly, one might not at first notice the reliance on the literal structures of our musculoskeletal system that pervades the plays or, if it has been noted, it could easily (wrongly) be dismissed as unnecessary over-reading.

    These two apparent opposites of presence and absence found their propinquity in the final session, a presentation given by two co-ordinators of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, an annual UK-wide festival of performances of his plays by schoolchildren. This programme helps teachers and pupils to engage differently with the most prominent playwright on the school curriculum and, through the eventual productions, aims to bring together groups of people from the same areas who might never otherwise interact. In doing so, it offers me a helpful segue to the other aspect of the symposium that was extremely thought-provoking and helpful – the styles of delivery and teaching.

    For, just as disability both necessitates and offers alternative possibilities of reading, it both requires and allows inventive ways of disseminating the information that these readings discover. This was accepted by both organisers and attendees as a given, even before the day itself, and accommodations and adaptations were plentiful and managed with respect. Whether it was sudden travel difficulties which rendered physical presence impossible, repeated cancellations of sign-language interpreters, or difficulty handling materials, there was a solution. Each presenter was asked to provide a draft version of their paper for digital pre-circulation, which then allowed speedy access and editing during presentations and removed the need for an interpreter for at least the duration of the panels. Distance was quickly surmounted via the medium of Skype. As with the topics of presentations, the precedent for these alternatives was set by Chris Mounsey’s keynote, which he split with his assistant Stan, in order to minimise the strain on his eyes. This took the form of a quasi-Socratic dialogue, which meant that the digital version of his slides read much like the play scripts of his subject, and that their repartee was full of deliberately dramatic flair. For me, as a wheelchair user who, being a first year doctoral student, am just beginning my venture into the realms of teaching seminars, this was extremely confidence-boosting. I now know that it is not only possible, but perfectly acceptable, to incorporate (pun very much intended) my bodily difference into the way I interact with students.

    This link to my earlier mention of both the literary and literal uses of ‘corpus’, then, allows me to conclude with the overarching message I took from this wonderful day. What struck me throughout this symposium was just how much our bodies inform the way we read and, equally, how much what we read can inform the ways we consider our bodies. I learnt so much from the day and the people I met there, and am still reaping the benefits nearly two months later. I could not have wished for a better or more supportive fit for my first conference, and I will be eternally grateful to everyone who helped introduce me to, to use the words of The Tempest that were central to my paper, this ‘brave new world’ where disability earns its rightful place as a frame of reference.

  10. Visiting speaker, Glasgow, Prof. Julia Watts Belser: ‘Disability and the Destruction of Jerusalem’

    Posted on June 3rd, 2016 by Hannah Tweed

    Date: Monday, June 27, 2016 from 12.30pm to 2pm (lecture starts at 12.45pm)

    Location: Wolfson Medical Building, Yudowitz Lecture Theatre, Glasgow, G11 6PB (View Map)

    Register: via our Eventbrite page 

    Prof. Julia Watts Belser (Georgetown University) will be presenting a guest lecture on ‘Disability and the Destruction of Jerusalem: Gender, Sex, and Flesh in Early Jewish Narrative’ on Monday 27th June 2016 at the University of Glasgow. Coffee and cake will be provided in the Wolfson atrium at 12.30pm, before the lecture starting at 12.45pm in the Yudowitz lecture theatre. The lecture is free to attend, but please register via our Eventbrite page for catering purposes. All are welcome!

    Disability and the Destruction of Jerusalem: Gender, Sex, and Flesh in Early Jewish Narrative 

    This lecture examines rabbinic tales of the destruction of Jerusalem through the lens of scarred and wounded flesh.  Rabbinic accounts of Roman conquest are saturated with sexual violence, enslavement, and the brutal corporeal cost of imperial ambition.   Bringing disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, and feminist materialist theory to bear on rabbinic narrative, this lecture argues that disability affords the rabbis a potent symbolic discourse with which to think through the ruin of Jerusalem.  Yet even as the rabbis use disablement to expresses trauma and violation, disabled figures also flip the conventional script of loss and vulnerability.  At the same time that subjugated bodies bear the material costs of opposition to Roman dominance, these very bodies can also become potent sites of resistance, sites through which communities can critique colonial power—and articulate the subversive potency of dissident bodies that refuse to perform as desired beneath the imperial regime.

    Biography

    Julia Watts Belser is Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Theology Department at Georgetown University.  She studies rabbinic Jewish culture in late antiquity, with expertise in disability studies, gender and sexuality studies, queer theory, and ecological criticism.  She is the author of Power, Ethics, and Ecology in Jewish Late Antiquity: Rabbinic Responses to Drought and Disaster (Cambridge University Press, 2015).  Her current book project,Corporeal Catastrophe: Gender, Sex, and Disability in Rabbinic Stories of Destruction, will be forthcoming from Oxford University Press.  A passionate lecturer and teacher, Belser held a visiting faculty fellowship in the Women’s Studies and Religion at Harvard Divinity School and previously taught in the Religious Studies Department at Missouri State University.  She received her Ph.D. in Jewish Studies from UC Berkeley and the Graduate Theological Union, as well as rabbinic ordination from the Academy of Jewish Religion California.  Belser can be contacted at jwb84@georgetown.edu.