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Modernist Spectacles of Disability

Modernist Spectacles of Disability (MSA 14)

This panel invites papers that explore the representation of disability in modernist literature. Over the past ten years, modernist studies has embraced the development of critical literature that considers this topic. Scholars such as Michael Davidson have produced work that begins to question the normative assumptions underpinning our critical practices. This panel looks to build on their findings by presenting papers that provide unconventional readings of disability in modernist literature, either in lesser-known modernist texts or via untraditional methodological approaches. After World War I, physical and cognitive disabilities began to appear in literature and art with much greater frequency than ever before. For example, texts like William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury (1929) and Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway (1925) explore the cognitive states of individuals with disabilities in relation to those of “able-bodied” individuals. This panel looks to examine such formal approaches by incorporating contemporary scholarship from disability studies. What connections exist between modernist aesthetic (or, more specifically, literary) techniques and the increased presence of disability in modernist art? How do texts like these push the boundaries of literary representation? In general, modernist texts lead us to question the conventions that guide our practices for reading, writing, and interacting socially. What are these conventions, and what can knowledge about the experiences of disabled individuals reveal about our participation in these activities?

Please send an abstract of 250 words to Claire Barber at cbarber3@illinois.edu by April 2, 2012. Include your name, paper title, institutional affiliation and position, contact information, and a short scholarly bio.


Conference Location: Las Vegas, NV, USA
Conference Starts: October 18, 2012
Conference Ends: October 21, 2012

CFP Submission Deadline: April 02, 2012

For more information, contact: Claire Barber

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