New book – Beholding Disability in Renaissance England, by Allison P. Hobgood – University of Michigan Press

Beholding Disability in Renaissance England

 
Allison P. Hobgood
 
How disability and ableism took shape in Renaissance England
 

Description

Human variation has always existed, though it has been conceived of and responded to variably. Beholding Disability in Renaissance England interprets sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature to explore the fraught distinctiveness of human bodyminds and the deliberate ways they were constructed in early modernity as able, and not. Hobgood examines early modern disability, ableism, and disability gain, purposefully employing these contemporary concepts to make clear how disability has historically been disavowed—and avowed too. Thus, this book models how modern ideas and terms make the weight of the past more visible as it marks the present, and cultivates dialogue in which early modern and contemporary theoretical models are mutually informative.

Beholding Disability also uncovers crucial counterdiscourses circulating in the English Renaissance that opposed cultural fantasies of ability and had a keen sensibility toward non-normative embodiments. Hobgood reads impairments as varied as epilepsy, stuttering, disfigurement, deafness, chronic pain, blindness, and castration in order to understand not just powerful fictions of ability present during the Renaissance but also the somewhat paradoxical, surprising ways these ableist ideals provided creative fodder for many Renaissance writers and thinkers. Ultimately, Beholding Disability asks us to reconsider what we think we know about being human both in early modernity, and today.
 

Allison P. Hobgood is an Affiliated Scholar at Willamette University.

More information on the editor website.

CFP – IMC Leeds – The Borders of Disability and Ability, Illhealth and Health

MS. Bodl. 264 – 191r

CfP: The Borders of Disability and Ability, Illhealth and Health

The study of Disability history has recently experienced substantial shifts in scholarly approach. Academics since the 2000s have recognised more clearly than ever that the meaning and experience of Disability changes over time, and within and between cultures (Turner and Pearman, 2010). It is now understood as a socio-cultural phenomenon, an embodied state which diverges from culturally constituted “norms” at a given moment in time (Barsch, Klein and Verstraete, 2013). Scholars have approached Disability/illhealth in different contexts, from social histories of communities of Disabled or chronically ill people; to cultural studies of Disability/illness across different genres; to identifying Disability as an intrinsically liminal position (Crawford and Leet, 2010; Eyler, 2010; Baker, Nijdam, and van’t Land, 2012; Metzler 2013). Recently, several publications have tried to better delimit the field of research with the aim of contributing to a deeper understanding of disease and Disability in medieval culture and thought (Künzel and Connelly, 2018; Hsy, Pearman and Eyler, 2020).

 The special thematic strand of the International Medieval Congress for 2022 invites scholars to question how notions of borders, variously defined, serve to limit communities and identities. We therefore seek to put together a session or sessions exploring the border(s) between Disability and ability, and/or health and illhealth.

 

Proposals may include (but are not confined to) the following:

  • How the definition and differentiation between Disability/illhealth and ability/health division varies in different contexts,  E.g. the suffering of a saint as part of their sanctity vs suffering as something to be cured by a saint; mysticism vs mental illness; sin as an ‘illness’ vs the redemptive opportunities of suffering; different physical expectations/requirements of different genders/occupations/social strata.
  • Where does the impact of Disability/illhealth end? Does it move beyond the borders of an individual/group to affect the wider society? E.g. impact of caring for Disabled/ill persons; opportunity for charity towards a Disabled/ill person.
  • How does Disability/illhealth fit within, on, or interact with the ‘borders’ of or in society? How does it fit with ideas of marginalization, or how does Disability/illhealth intersect with other  socio-economic experiences? E.g. experiences of Disability/illhealth in different social strata, ages, gender identities, cultural roles.
  • Where is the border between illhealth and Disability? How were they defined? Do definitions/descriptions differ across source materials? E.g. descriptions of Disability/illhealth in medical texts, literature, religious texts, legal texts.

 

Abstracts of no more than 300 words for a 20 minutes paper presentation should be submitted to the session organisers Adelheid Russenberger (a.v.s.russenberger@qmul.ac.uk) and Dr Ninon Dubourg (ninon.dubourg@gmail.com) by 31 August 2021.

CFP – Experiences of Dis/ability from the Late Middle Ages to the Mid-Twentieth Century 22 – 23 August 2019, Tampere University, Finland

Keynote speakers: David Lederer, Maynooth University; Donna Trembinski, St. Francis Xavier University; David Turner, Swansea University

In recent decades, dis/ability history has become an important field in its own right, standing at the crossroads of the social history of medicine, the history of minorities and the history of everyday life. Conceptions of and attitudes to physical and mental wellbeing and to difference are and have always been key elements in any human society, while the lived experience of dis/ability has varied across societies and time periods, but also depending on the person’s socioeconomic status, age, gender, and the nature of the impairment. Experiences of disability, whether personal or communal, have long continuities in the past, but they have also changed dramatically with the development of medical science and institutionalized care.

This conference aims to concentrate on the experiences of those with physical or mental impairments and chronic illnesses, with special reference to the period between the late Middle Ages and the mid-twentieth century. We understand dis/ability in a broad sense, covering a wide range of physical, mental and intellectual impairments and chronic illnesses. How, then, were various dis/abilities lived and experienced, how did communities shape these experiences, and what similarities and changes can we detect over the course of time? An important viewpoint is also that of methodology: how can a modern scholar approach the experience of those living in the past?

We thus invite papers that explore the ways in which ‘disabilities’ have been lived and experienced, in all stages of life, and by people of different social status and background. The conference aims to promote dialogue between disability historians across national and chronological borders and we welcome papers presenting new research and work in progress.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • How to approach the experience of dis/ability (sources, methodology)?
  • Different categories of dis/ability experience, or what counts as experience of disability?
  • How have society, religion and practices of care and cure defined the experience of disability?
  • Lived religion and dis/ability
  • Medicalization, institutionalization and everyday life
  • The impact of gender, age and social status on the experience of dis/ability
  • Lived welfare and everyday experiences of people with disabilities, e.g. living at home, in a workhouse or mental institution, the impact of various welfare systems.

To submit a proposal, please send title and abstract of 200 words, with your contact information and affiliation by February 15, 2019, at https://www.lyyti.in/disabilityexperience2019_callforpapers

Conference website: https://events.uta.fi/disabilityexperience2019/

Participation is free of charge, and includes lunches and coffees for speakers.

The conference is organized by the Academy of Finland Centre of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX, https://research.uta.fi/hex/) at the University of Tampere and the group “Lived Religion” and has received funding from The Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (https://wihurinrahasto.fi/?lang=en) and HEX. For more information, please write to the organizers (jenni.kuuliala@uta.fi and riikka.miettinen@uta.fi)

CFP – VariAbilities III – The Same Only Different? – University of London – 6 & 7th June 2017

Call For Papers – VariAbilities III:

The Same Only Different?

Senate House, University of London (Malet Street, London, WC1E, England)

Tuesday and Wednesday 6 & 7th June 2017

In the third iteration of the Variabilities Series, we will take stock of the academic work done on the “body” in “history”.

When we study the “Body” should we restrict ourselves to impaired bodies or make comparisons with sports bodies? Or should a conference discussing the body entertain papers on both impaired and sports bodies?

When we consider “history” we must ask ourselves when did history begin, and has it ended? Variabilities III is casting its nets as widely as possible, with no methodological assumptions, beginning or end dates, with as wide scope for dialogue as possible.

Come and tell us what the “body” in “history” means to you.

Organiser announce that Prof. Miriam Wallace of New College Florida will be the keynote at Variabilities III: “The Spector of the Singular Body in Frankenstein (1818): Difference and Constructed Community”.

For accessibility purposes we welcome Skype Presentations

Please send your proposal (300 words) by November 30th 2016 [extended dealine th january 2017] to

chris.mounsey@winchester.ac.uk

and stan.booth@winchester.ac.uk

 

More information here on the UCLA website !

and on the event website !