Loading Events

« All Events

CFP Disability History: New Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Approaches

April 30

Disability History: New Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Approaches

November 6, 2024 – November 8, 2024
In-person symposium
Münster (Germany)

In recent years, the exploration of disability has increasingly gained importance within historical research. Disability history has particularly emphasized the social and cultural dimensions of disabilities, advocating for the recognition of disability as a central historical category alongside others such as gender or class. This perspective highlights how societal norms, values, and institutions shape the experiences and identities of people with disabilities. It questions traditional narratives in which the experiences of disabled people have been marginalized or overlooked, and advocates for an inclusive and nuanced historical analysis of the non-normative mind and body.

The dynamics and development of this field of research in recent years, its interdisciplinary reach, and its potential to broaden our historical understanding of human diversity are among its most important characteristics.[1] At the same time, there are still many unexplored topics, unused sources, and promising approaches that have the potential to enrich historiography with new perspectives. The upcoming symposium intends to address these very topics of disability history.

We welcome submissions that delve into the historical aspects of social negotiation processes surrounding disability. We welcome both regional and national case studies as well as transnational perspectives. Furthermore, we are particularly interested in the interactions between various disciplinary approaches and the intersections of disability history with visual history, microhistory, the history of knowledge, medical history, and the history of education.

Among others, we are interested in the following questions:

  • How was disability conceptualized outside of Western societies?
  • What alternative perspectives can be found that challenge Euro-American concepts of normality and ablebodiedness?
  • How did conceptions of disability circulate among different social actors? What factors and events enabled or hampered exchanges and transfers?
  • What forms of cooperation and antagonisms between groups, organizations, and associations can be found on a national and international level?
  • What strategies of empowerment can be found in the context of institutional settings?
  • What role do self-testimonies of people with disabilities play in reconstructing those life-worlds?
  • How did visual arts and media contribute to the conception of disability, and how can they be interrogated as mirrors of societal norms and perceptions?

The conference language is both German and English, with abstracts provided in both languages.

We welcome scholars from all levels of academia and encourage contributions spanning the full spectrum of academic disciplines. Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the organizers, and catering and a conference dinner will be provided. However, expenses must be advanced and will be reimbursed. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. Also, please indicate any necessary support requirements (e.g., sign language interpreter) in your application so we can arrange for early booking. Please send us an abstract of the planned contribution of approximately 250 words along with a short biography to the following email addresses by April 30, 2024: