Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

  • ISSN (Online) : 1757-6466
  • ISSN (Print) : 1757-6458
  • Language : English
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Focusing on representations of disability, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies publishes a wide variety of textual analyses that are informed by disability theory and, by extension, experiences of disability. 

Instrumental in the interdisciplinarity of literary studies, cultural studies, and disability studies, It is an essential disability studies journal for scholars whose work concentrates on the portrayal of disability.

With an editorial board of 65 internationally renowned scholars, the journal is edited by Professor David Bolt, Director of the Centre for Culture & Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University.  

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies is indexed/abstracted in SCOPUS.  

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LUP is committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards. We therefore ask that all contributors and reviewers adhere to the COPE Core Practices. More info can be found on the COPE website.

1) Special Issue: Cripistemologies Now      

Guest Editors:  

Merri Lisa Johnson and Robert McRuer,  University of South Carolina-Upstate and George Washington University      

Outline: 

When the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies first issued a call for papers for a special issue on Cripistemologies ten years ago, the world was in the throes of a global financial crisis but also on the cusp of an unprecedented year of anger and hope, as the Arab Spring; los Indignados in Spain; student movements in Chile, Mexico, and Quebec; Occupy Wall Street; and other insurrections brought to light not only the abuses of neoliberalism, capitalism more generally, and authoritarianism, but also the power of diverse voices in solidarity to demand change and imagine alternative futures. Disabled or crip voices were part of all of these movements; indeed, the anti-austerity movement in Spain directly adapted concepts of a shared vulnerability and a capacious “we” from a decade’s worth of activism in the disability movement.  In that same year, uprisings across the United Kingdom erupted in the wake of the killing of Mark Dugan, an unarmed Black man, both echoing and anticipating the collective outrage around countless similar deaths in the UK, US, Latin America, and elsewhere, outrage that has arguably crystalized globally in 2020 following the police murder, in Minneapolis, of George Floyd, a Black and disabled man.  “Cripistemologies,” as a concept, emerged out of a historical moment of crisis and hope, centralizing not only the idea that disabled ways of knowing must always be part of our theorizing of exploitation, inequality, and suffering, but also that disability culture and history already has germinated countless ways of thinking about bodies and minds caught up in, and actively and creatively resisting, injustice.    


Of course, as we enter the second decade of the 21st century, we now face challenges that were virtually unimaginable ten years ago.  And yet, in the face of increasing police and state violence against Black lives, the rise of authoritarian populism, the entrenchment of global logics of austerity, and a global pandemic that has devastated poor, marginalized, aging, disabled, and chronically ill communities, disabled/crip anger, hope, solidarity, community, and resistance continue to flourish.  This ten-year anniversary issue of JLCDS, “Cripistemologies Now (More Than Ever),” hopes to attend to and extend this flourishing.  Disability justice, led by disabled and queer people of color, has increasingly taken hold as a way of thinking in North America and elsewhere, ensuring that Black, Brown, and Indigenous cripistemologies are now central to the disability movement; cross-border artistic, activist, and scholarly crip solidarity is stronger than ever and fueled by inventive uses of social media; feminist, queer, and trans perspectives continue to shape and reshape disability studies and the disability movement.  In our first set of two issues on Cripistemologies, we sought to center marginalized voices: ways of knowing that emerged from non-urban or rural locations, mental disability, chronic pain, trans experiences, or historical experiences—such as post-socialist contexts—that triumphalist narratives of neoliberal capitalism would locate firmly in the past.  In this new special issue, we again look to the margins to disrupt or challenge the mainstream, including the mainstream of the disability movement or disability studies, while acknowledging that many of these issues have in fact shifted to the absolute center of our crip consciousness.   

We welcome all topics in the orbit of Cripistemologies Now.       

  • #BlackLivesMatter and Disability 
  • #BlackDisabledLivesMatter 
  • Crip Indigeneities 
  • Disability and/in the Borderlands 
  • Crip Translations: New Languages for Disability 
  • Crip Theory in the Global South 
  • Anti-Capitalist Cripistemologies 
  • Cripping/Defunding the Police: Disabled Anti-Police Activism Cripping Authoritarian Neoliberalism 
  • Cagey/Caged Cripistemologies: Children in Cages 
  • Crip Temporalities 
  • Crip Futures, Mad Futures 
  • Pandemic Futures / Future Pandemics 
  • Cripistemologies of Quarantine 
  • Disabled Quaranteaming 
  • Epistemological Dizziness 
  • Illness and Activism / Protesting (or Not Protesting) in Pandemic Times 
  • Resistance and/in the Nursing Home Industrial Complex
  • Masked Cripistemologies / Cripping the Mask / Fragile Mask-ulinities 
  • Disability and Disposability: Pandemics and Eugenics, Disabled Deaths, DNRs for Disabled COVID-19 Cases 
  • Disability and/in the Wet Market 
  • Disability and Contemporary Orientalism: the “China Virus,” “Kung Flu,” and Proliferating Anti-Asian Discrimination 
  • Cripistemologies of Pain 
  • Care Work 
  • Crip Materiality 
  • Crip Ecologies 
  • Disability and Animal Studies 
  • Crip Historiographies 
  • Trans Theory/Disability Theory 
  • Queer/Crip Tensions and Emergent Resolutions 
  • New Directions in Disability Performance 
  • New Directions in Feminist Disability Studies 
  • New Directions in Fat Studies and Disability Studies     

Timetable: 

1 February 2021: Deadline for submissions of 500-word proposal for articles and a short biography to the guest editors Merri Lisa Johnson and Robert McRuer 

1 May 2021: Authors will be notified of proposal status 

1 February 2022: Full versions of selected papers to be submitted to guest editors 

1 May 2022: Authors will be notified of final decisions with suggestions for revisions on papers 

1 February 2023: Deadline for submitting final, revised papers to guest editors     


2) Call for Papers for a Special Issue of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 

Title of Special Issue: Cripping Graphic Medicine: Approaching Comics from a Disability Studies Perspective 

Guest Editors: Gesine Wegner (Leipzig University) and Dorothee Marx (Kiel University)   

At first glance, a wider public may find the connection between comics and disability rather counterintuitive, as Rosemarie Garland-Thomson remarks: “Most of us assume that comics and disability exist in two completely different worlds. […]  Comics are light; disability is heavy. Comics are inviting; disability is forbidding. Comics are cheerful; disability is dismal” (Garland-Thomson 2016: x). Yet, as a growing amount of scholarship in recent years has shown (Squier and Krüger-Fürhoff 2020; Foss et al. 2016), explorations of the connection between comics and disability can spark productive analyses that enrich both comic and disability studies. In a broader sense, graphic disability narratives hold the potential to simultaneously challenge popular misconceptions of comics and of experiences of disability. As a scoping review by Matthew N. Noe and Leonard L. Levin reveals, questions of healthcare have, indeed, pertained to the study of comics for many decades, with first explorations on the topic dating back to 1958 (Noe and Levin 2020: 11). While these early studies looked at disability and illness from a purely medical gaze, the 21st-century emergence of the interdisciplinary field of “graphic medicine” (Williams) has shifted scholars, artists and medical practitioners’ attention towards comics’ potential to narrate experiences of disability and illness from “the inside out” – following in the footsteps of disabled activists and writers of the 1990s (Fries 1997).  

While disability studies has been an essential part of the various disciplines that come together in graphic medicine, the field’s complex yet fruitful relation to the medical humanities, in general, has yet to be addressed more openly in the study of comics and disability. This special issue wants to foreground the effects that a disability studies-centered approach to comics can have on the larger field of graphic medicine and comic studies in general. Inspired by Zach Whalen, Chris Foss, and Jonathan W. Gray’s groundbreaking collective volume Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives(2016), the issue aims to take into account and analyze a broad range of comics out of which a distinct disability studies perspective on comics ought to (further) emerge. Disability studies’ roots in the disability rights movement and its predominant resistance to medical understandings of disability make the interdisciplinary field a critical and valuable interlocutor within graphic medicine. Appreciating disability not (primarily) as a physical state but as a form of cultural difference, disability studies is uniquely situated to both challenge and enrich some of the work done in graphic medicine and the medical humanities more generally. Simultaneously, the interdisciplinary network of scholars, artists, and medical practitioners that constitutes graphic medicine promises to offer new insights and creative forms of collaboration for research pursued within disability studies. For this issue, we welcome proposals for papers that explore these various potentials and address any of the following (or related) questions:

  • How do approaches from disability studies complicate and enrich work done at the intersection of comics and healthcare?  
  • What insights can, in turn, be gained in disability studies from research pursued at this intersection? 
  • What can more recent theorizations within disability studies add to our understanding of the comics medium in general and its negotiation of disability and illness in particular? How do comics about disability and illness relate to practices of normalization? For instance, how is the omnipresence of the body in comics used to enforce, challenge, and comment on notions of “the normal” (McRuer 2014)? 
  • How do the different, often hierarchical positions in healthcare settings complicate renderings of illness and/or disability in comics? 
  • Which distinct, contrasting perspectives emerge in narratives told by healthcare providers, caregivers, or relatives, compared to the graphic stories told by patients themselves? And where do these perspectives overlap and enrich each other? 
  • How do questions of disability in sequential art intersect with other identity categories, such as gender, race, class or sexuality (see for example the recent publication Graphic Reproduction (Johnson 2018))? 
  • Which affective strategies do comics about disability or illness employ? 
  • How do comics evoke different affects and/or emotions, perhaps even such that were previously debated in disability studies (cf. Donaldson and Prendergast 2011; Kafer 2016), e.g. the “feelings and reactions— […] the mental and emotional distress—that do not yet fit within disability studies?” (Kafer 2016: 5). 
  • Which comic-specific strategies do graphic narratives employ to visualize ‘invisible’ disabilities, such as mental disabilities or the effects of trauma?
  • To what extent can comics provide a context that fosters explorations of the interconnectedness of disability and trauma? 
  • How can comics’ potential to engage conversations about disability and chronic illness be applied in (higher) education beyond graphic medicine’s application in the education of future medical staff?
  • Can comics help engage new audiences with disability studies? 
  • What effect do different genre conventions have on narrating disability and/or illness in comics? 
  • How can, for instance, previous work on disabled superheroes (Alaniz 2015; Smith and Alaniz 2019) be further expanded?  
  • How can comics be made accessible to different audiences (e.g. through tactile comics or image descriptions? (cf. Foss et al. 2016: 8-9).  
  • How can comics foreground marginalized voices in healthcare, such as those of indigenous, BiPOC, trans*, intersex, and/or otherwise impacted patients and healthcare professionals? 
  • In what ways do comics as well as comics studies address questions of the body and take into account the different embodiments of their characters and readers? 
  • How do new approaches to the body in disability studies (Mitchell et al. 2019) relate to the study of graphic narratives of disability and/or illness?  
  • How do comics respond to other aspects of lived disabled experience and the distinct knowledge it creates, as theorized in crip theory (e.g. crip time, critical rethinkings of concepts like pleasure and pain)? 
  • We explicitly welcome contributions that are based in experiential knowledge and/or use an autoethnographic approach to disability.  

Please email a 500-word proposal to gesine.wegner@tu-dresden.de and marx@anglistik.uni-kiel.de by February 1, 2021. Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by March 1, 2021. Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on August 15, 2021. Please do not hesitate to contact the guest editors if you have any questions regarding this special issue.  


WORKS CITED: 

Alaniz, José. Death, Disability, and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond. University Press of Mississippi, 2014. 

Alaniz, José and Scott T. Smith, editors. Uncanny Bodies. Superhero Comics and Disability. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2019.  

Donaldson, Elizabeth J., and Catherine Prendergast. “Introduction: Disability and Emotion: ‘There's No Crying in Disability Studies.’” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies vol. 5 no. 2, 2011, pp. 129–36. 

Foss, Chris, Jonathan W. Gray, and Zach Whalen, editors. Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives. Palgrave, 2016. 

Fries, Kenny, editor. Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out. Plume, 1997. 

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. “Foreword.” In: Disability in Comic Books and Graphic Narratives, edited by Chris Foss, Jonathan W. Gray, and Zach Whalen. Palgrave, 2016, pp. x-xiii.  

Jenell Johnson, editor. 2018. Graphic reproduction. A comics anthology. Vol. 11 of Graphic medicine. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press. 

Kafer, Alison. “Un/Safe Disclosures: Scenes of Disability and Trauma.” Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studiesvol. 10, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–20. 

McRuer, Robert. “Normal” Keywords for American Cultural Studies, edited by Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler. NY UP, 2014, pp. 184-187. 

Mitchell, David T., Susan Antebi, and Sharon L. Snyder, editors. The Matter of Disability. Materiality, Biopolitics, Crip Affect. U Michigan P, 2019. 

Noe, Matthew N. and Leonard L. Levin. “Mapping the use of comics in health education: A scoping review of the graphic medicine literature.” Graphic Medicine. https://www.graphicmedicine.org/mapping-comics-health-education/ 

Squier, Susan and Irmela Marei Krüger-Fürhoff, editors. PathoGraphics: Narrative, Aesthetics, Contention, Community. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2020.  

Williams, Ian. “Graphic Medicine: Comics as Medical Narrative.” Medical Humanities, vol. 38, no. 1, 2012, pp. 21-27.

Editor-in-Chief
David Bolt, Centre for Culture and Disability Studies, Liverpool Hope University 

Book Reviews Editor
Ann Fox, Davidson College 

Comments Editor
Owen Barden, Liverpool Hope University 

Editorial Support Worker
Heidi Mapley, Liverpool Hope University 

Editorial Advisers
Clare Barker, University of Leeds
Tammy Berberi, University of Minnesota, Morris
James Berger, Yale University
Michael Berube, Pennsylvania State University
Lucy Burke, Manchester Metropolitan University
Fiona Kumari Campbell, University of Dundee
Johnson Cheu, Michigan State University
Ria Cheyne, Liverpool Hope University
Tom Coogan, University of Birmingham
G. Thomas Couser, Hofstra University
Michael Davidson, University of California, San Diego
Lennard J. Davis, University of Illinois, Chicago
Helen Deutsch, University of California, Los Angeles
Jim Ferris, University of Toledo
Anne Finger, Oakland, California
Chris Foss, University of Mary Washington
Ann Fox, Davidson College
Chris Gabbard, University of North Florida
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University, Atlanta
Martin Halliwell, University of Leicester
Diane Price Herndl, University of South Florida
Christopher Krentz, University of Virginia
Miriamne Ara Krummel, University of Dayton
Petra Kuppers, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Stephen Kuusisto, Syracuse University
Robert McRuer, George Washington University
Susannah B. Mintz, Skidmore College
David T. Mitchell, George Washington University
Stuart Murray, University of Leeds
James Overboe, Wilfrid Laurier University
Catherine Prendergast, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Ato Quayson, University of Toronto
Susan Schweik, University of California, Berkeley
Margrit Shildrick, Linkoping University
Sharon L. Snyder, George Washington University
Tanya Titchkosky, University of Toronto

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Dr David Bolt
Graduate School
Education Faculty
Liverpool Hope University
Hope Park
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