CFP: Special Issue of C21, ‘Surveilling the Body: Ableism and Anglophone Literature’

C21 Call for Papers

Special Issue: “Surveilling the Body: Ableism and Anglophone Literature”

Guest edited by Dr Susan Flynn and Dr Antonia Mackay

Deadline for articles: 1st May 2019

Surveillance Studies has made a substantial contribution to interrogations of human rights offences by helping to document instances of discrimination in recent times. Indeed, examinations of the ‘culture’ of surveillance have been useful in examining the myriad occasions of human rights offences in issues such as race (Browne 2012; Flynn and Mackay 2018), yet surveillance practices via literature, especially those associated with the discourse of ableism, have been largely ignored. This special issue aims to initiate new discussions of ableism in the discourses of surveillance through literature and engage with the issues of the non-normate body, particularly as surveillance uses the normalizing technologies of power to monitor, control and regulate behaviours and mobilities of certain bodies.

In contemporary literature, the forms of agency and subjectivity available to those who are outside the hegemonic ‘norm’ are often limited; literature is most often written with a mainstream readership in mind and thus can be read as deeply ‘ableist’. Interrogating instances of ableism in characterisation and in narrative arcs calls for an examination of how (unearned) privilege attaches to those who can conform to the supposed norm. Such a lens interrogates the status quo as opposed to seeking the ‘inclusion’ of persons with disabilities within extant social structures. This special issue is particularly concerned with twenty-first century writing and its complex relationship both with surveillance and with representations of disability. We are aware of the tendency for dominant groups to project their own experiences as representative of all humanity thereby excluding other groups – we hope to preclude this by providing a broad range of readings and approaches from a diverse authorship. We are interested in readings of new texts which engage with the surveillance of disability or with radical readings of texts dealing with either intellectual, physical or acquired disability.

Papers might include topics such as:

  • The role of surveillance in (dis)abling bodies in contemporary fiction, poetry, short stories and drama
  • The complexity of the representation of the corporeal body in Twenty-First Century Anglophone writings
  • The manner in which surveillance can affect the marginalisation of groups of peoples in Anglophone literary discourse
  • The hypervisibility of the body with disability in poetry, drama and written narratives
  • Representations of surveilled spaces which impact upon the able and disabled characterisation of identity from within contemporary settings
  • Consideration of how the lens contributes to definitions of types of bodies in Anglophone writings
  • Hypertextual readings of contemporary literature which contribute to the enabling of otherwise marginalised bodily movement through narratoglical means
  • The impact of gender/race/sexuality on surveilling the body
  • The implications of ableist forms of surveillance in literature in our contemporary political climate
  • Digital storytelling and the visibility of disability rights and culture
  • Digital platforms as a means to re-vision the body with disability

Articles of 6000 – 8000 words along with a short bio (150 words) should be sent to Dr Susan Flynn (s.flynn@lcc.arts.ac.uk) and Dr Antonia Mackay (antoniamackay@brookes.ac.uk) by 1st May 2019.

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