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CFP: Body Matters!: Disability in English Literature to 1800

December 1, 2023

deadline for submissions:
November 17, 2023 December 1, 2023
full name / name of organization:
University of California – Santa Barbara (Early Modern Center)
contact email:

The Early Modern Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, invites paper proposals for its 2024 conference, “Body Matters!: Disability in English Literature to 1800,” to be held at UCSB on March 1 and 2, 2024. Attending to the presence of disability in the premodern world, this interdisciplinary conference invites proposals that address medieval, early modern, and eighteenth-century literary and cultural texts.

We invite papers that explore a variety of “body matters,” including representations of disability or ability in premodern literature, the continuum of embodiment explored by premodern authors, and the relation of literary bodies to the political and social realm. Questions under consideration may include how a body comes to matter from the medieval period to the eighteenth century, how the boundaries of disability change in different periods, and how forms of literature construct normative and divergent embodiments. Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • disability vs. (dis)ability
  • forms: literary and disability
  • historical and contemporary performances of disability
  • prosthesis and technologies of embodiment
  • the materiality of disability
  • disability in the archive
  • disability across media
  • medical and humoral theory
  • disability, natural philosophy, and ecocriticism
  • ethics of care and caring for premodern bodies
  • disability historiography and disability policy
  • neurodiversity, neurodivergence, and neurotypicality
  • intersections of race, critical race theory, and disability
  • intersections of coloniality, postcolonial theory, and disability
  • intersections of gender, feminist theory, and disability
  • intersections of sexuality, queer theory, and disability

Proposals for 15 to 20-minute papers should be 300 words or less.  Please submit the proposal along with a one page CV by November 17th, 2023 using our online submission form: https://tinyurl.com/EMCBodyMatters. Please direct questions and concerns to emcfellow@gmail.com.