Archive for April, 2017

CfP Different Bodies: (Self-)Representation, Disability and the Media

April 21, 2017

University of Westminster, London, United Kingdom
23 June 2017

Keynote speaker: Professor Lisa Blackman (Goldsmiths, University of London)

This one-day conference seeks to explore representations of the body as strange, shameful, wrong, impaired, wounded, scarred, disabled, lacking, different or ‘other’ in contemporary media.

We encourage interdisciplinary paper presentations of 15 minutes that aim to explore how narratives and images of other bodies are constructed in the media and what their aesthetic, social, cultural, epistemological and political implications are.

Possible themes include but are not limited to:
– Researching bodies and the media: frameworks and methodologies
– Journalism and practices of othering the body
– The mediated body as spectacle
– Celebrity bodies and the spectacles of transformation
– The abject body
– Stigma and the body
– De-colonizing and de-westernising the mediated body
– Neoliberalism, policy and austerity politics
– (Dis)Empowerments of the disabled body
– The objectification of the disabled body in the media
– Contemporary coverage of disability in print/online/television/radio
– Reality television and the body
– Auto-ethnographic accounts of the body in / through digital media
– The medicalised body in the media
– Representing wounds and scars
– Affective labour of bodies
– The body and trauma

Invited speakers also include Henrietta Spalding, Head of Advocacy at the UK charity Changing Faces.

Please send in abstracts of no longer than 500 words to both Jacob Johanssen ( and Diana Garrisi ( by 28th April 2017. Conference attendance will be free. Registration will open in late May. We seek to provide an open and inclusive space for everyone.


D4D – July event, Bristol

April 19, 2017

‘Co-creating Cities and Communities’ event – we’ve had a proposal accepted for the Summer Forum in Bristol (12-13 July). More information is at the AHRC Connected Community website, Link.

D4D Part 1. Best Laid Plans: Connection, Visibility and Loss on the D4D Project.
D.Carr, E.Fox, A.Sutherland and M Levinson
Panel Format: 4 connecting short talks

During the development of the D4D project’s design we did not discuss cities at length. Yet we frequently relied on architectural analogies. Building a framework that would support shifting relationships, connections and collaboration, we spoke of streams, bridges, threads and pods. In retrospect, these analogies recall de Certeau’s work on cities. Especially the gulf that he describes between the city as dream or blueprint, and the chaotic, messy, ephemeral, everyday complexities of the city as it is actually lived (de Certeau, 1984).

At the beginning of 2017 we lost a key member of our team, Sue Porter. By that stage most of D4D’s team of academics and artists had worked together for more than 2 years. For this panel, members of the team will reflect the impact of this loss in light of the conference’s themes of the unheard and the invisible, and consider the implications for reflexive research practice and embodied knowledge. These issues are central to D4D, not least because people with experience of disability have had few opportunities to design research about disability, and a long history of being positioned as “the objects of an inexhaustible research machine […] that wantonly uses up their bodies, their energies, and their time” (Snyder and Mitchell, 2006 p 187).

In part one, we describe D4D’s design and draw on de Certeau’s descriptions of plans v. practice, and Law’s (2006) account of mess in social research, to raise questions about reflexivity and forms of ‘making visible’. (Carr). We describe recent work to adapt the project design in order for it to remain coherent in the face of loss (Levinson and Fox). We share an example of the work emerging from D4D, including a reading from “‘Thalidomide Acts’: Transcription poems from the words of Mat Fraser’” (Sutherland), part of the work for the ‘Electric Bodies’ strand of D4D. Finally, we will share aspects of the work that is still to come, with a particular focus on the themes of lost possible futures. This element of the research focuses on ‘new’ eugenics and science fictions, exploring the implications for disability in relation to community, population and governance (Fox and Carr).

D4D – Literature on prosthetics, augmentation, implants…

April 19, 2017

D4D project contributors and advisors have been compiling a list of literature on prosthetics, looking for work that moves between critical disability studies, and the more general transhuman or posthuman perspectives.

Here’s our list so far.

Thanks to Lucy Burke, David Bolt, Praminda Caleb-Solly and Martin Levinson.

Mitchell, David T., and Sharon L. Snyder. Narrative prosthesis: Disability and the dependencies of discourse. University of Michigan Press, 2000.

Lucy Burke (Manchester Metropolitan): Roberto Esposito writes a very interesting – if problematic – piece on ‘the implant’ in Immunitas. Esposito seeks to reorient the immunity/contagion paradigm by thinking about communitas and the ‘taking in’ of the other. His work is informed by Foucault but he argues that Foucault’s conception of the biopolitical is wedded to a notion of the body that is no longer viable:

“… the body is experiencing a state of profound alteration, down to its essential fabric. The body demands to be thought of as a text written in code whose genomic key must be found, or the terminal of a planetary wide computer network, or as an object that is modifiable through plastic surgery … In all cases it enters into a direct, or actually symbiotic, relationship with what is other than itself; in the specific and literal sense that it carries its other within itself” (pp.148-149)

Andrew Goffey’s critique of the ‘immunological turn’ is also worth a look:

Dan Goodley, Rebecca Lawthom and Katherine Runswick Cole have written on Braidotti and the posthuman from a disability studies perspective –

Work by Vivian Sobchack.
Screen theorist (phenomenology and embodiment, science fiction) Sobchack identified some of the omissions in prosthetics discourse, drawing explicitly on her experiences of impairment.

Sobchack, A Leg to Stand On, LINK

Her essay on bodily integrity, LINK 

An interview,  LINK

Cachia, A. (2015) The (Narrative) Prosthesis Re-Fitted, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, 9, 3, 247-264.

Eyre, P. (2011) Comment from the Field: Transforming Bodies: Prosthetics Seminar, Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, 5, 1, 109-112.

Savulescu & Bostrom 2009 – Human Enhancement

Smith & Morra Eds. 2007 – The Prosthetic Impulse

Neicu, M. 2012 – Prosthetics Imagery: Negotiating the Identity of Enhanced Bodies

Agar, N. 2014: Truly Human Enhancement

Praminda Caleb-Solly (UWE) contributed these suggestions:
There’s an interesting dialog to be had on 3d printing, open source initiatives and the ‘democratisation of design’ – putting the power back into the hands of the people (literally and metaphorically) to produce and define their own designs. For more on this topic, see Liarokapis, M.V., Zisimatos, A.G., Mavrogiannis, C.I. and Kyriakopoulos, K.J., (2014 February) Openbionics: An open-source initiative for the creation of affordable, modular, light-weight, underactuated robot hands and prosthetic devices. In 2nd ASU Rehabilitation Robotics Workshop.


April 5, 2017