Special Issue: Victorian Disability Fall 2009
Submission Date: 15 September 2008
The Victorian Review invites submissions for its forthcoming special issue devoted to Victorian Disability. From the development of new sign systems for the blind and deaf, to the growth of eugenics, from Dickens’ one-legged man, Silas Wegg, to the disabled communities that populate the fiction of Charlotte Yonge, the Victorians were creating and consolidating ideas of ability, normalcy, difference, health, and illness.
This special issue seeks to explore the constructions of ability and disability that circulated in Victorian Britain and abroad. Recent critical work in Disability Studies has suggested disability as another mode of analysis alongside class, race, gender and sexuality in the understanding of culture. How can a focus on ableness complicate traditional readings of gender, class, race, and sexuality in the period? We particularly invite submissions that engage with the challenge that Disability Studies poses for the future of Victorian Studies. To what extent might Disability Studies pressure conventional disciplinary boundaries? How might we approach Victorian Disability Studies while recognizing that the term “disability” and the meanings we now grant to it as a general category did not exist in the Victorian period?
Possible topics may include (but are not limited to):
The Representation of Disability in Victorian Literature
Disability and Cultural Production (blind poets, deaf artists)
Disability and the Practice of Reading
Disability Communities and Cultures
Medicine and Disability
Social Darwinism and Eugenics
Industrialization and Disability
The Materiality of Disability (canes, wheelchairs, ear trumpets)
The Languages of Disability (Braille, Sign)
Celebrity and Disability
The Spectacularisation of Disability
Health, Disability and Invalidism
The Institutionalization of Disability (educational, governmental and charitable)
Essays must be between 5000 and 8000 words and formatted according to MLA guidelines.
Please submit electronic copies of essays to both of the issue’s guest editors by September 15, 2008:
Department of English
The University of Western Ontario
Department of English Queen’s University