August 17, 2011

Legacy: Special issue, "Women Writing Disability"



Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers is soliciting papers for a special
issue devoted to the intersection of women, women writers, and disability.
Rosemarie Garland-Thomson observes that many parallels exist between the "social
meanings attributed to female bodies and those assigned to disabled bodies." To
this extent it would be hard to imagine early twentieth-century psychoanalysis
without "women's diseases" like hysteria or nervous disorders. Female sexuality
and reproduction have, historically, been monitored by a male medical and
psychoanalytic profession. Building design, fashion, and juridical definitions
of identity have reinforced the idea that, as Iris Marion Young says, "women in
sexist society are physically handicapped." Concepts of aesthetic perfection and
beauty are often figured around idealized (often naked) female bodies for which
marked or disabled bodies are considered aberrant. Much western literature is
formed around the volatile bodies of the Medusa, the madwoman in the attic, and
the consumptive heroine. Feminist and Queer theory have been at the forefront in
recognizing the ways that gender and sexual difference have been articulated
through the non-traditional, excessive, or abnormal body, making gender
/sexuality visible by positing an idealized norm of physical and mental
perfection.

This special issue of Legacy will feature scholarship on American women writers
dealing with issues of embodiment, illness, cognitive disability, deafness,
blindness, mobility, dependency, and other related issues. Our hope is to find
essays that cover the full range of American cultural production, from the
colonial period to WWII and across the Americas broadly defined. "Writing
Disability" implies both the representation of disability by women writers as
well as the role that disability plays in an author's writing. Topics might
include intersections between women and disability through any of the following
categories:

* The body of the aesthetic
* Women's work and workplace design
* Reproduction rights and disability
* Eugenics and reform
* Dependency work
* Women and d/Deaf education
* Manifest Destiny and mobility
* The Republican body
* Visibility, staring, stigma
* Immigration, race, and disease
* Communities of disability
* Slavery and structural violence
* Suffragism and disability
* Disability and the family

Deadline: Completed Papers must be submitted by 1 January 2012. Historical focus
may cover all periods prior to 1940; Page limit, 10,000 words (including
endnotes and list of works cited) using MLA format. Send hard-copy of papers to
Michael Davidson, Literature Department 0410, University of California, San
Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0410. Questions pertaining to the issue may be
addressed to mdavidson@ucsd.edu.

Department of Literature, 0410
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA 92093-0410