CfP/CfA events

Perceiving Disability (GSA 2020)

Abstract submission deadline

Call for Papers: “Perceiving Disability” Panel Series
German Studies Association Conference; 1-4 October, 2020; Washington, D.C. (Crystal City)
Deadline: February 3, 2020
Please note updated abstract length: 350-400 words

To a large extent, the cultural construct referred to as “disability” depends on perception, both of a myriad of objects and from a myriad of perspectives. People with disabilities, people who are temporarily able-bodied, people seeking simply to understand the human bodymind – all of these groups participate in what Tobin Siebers (Disability Theory, 2009) has termed the “disability masquerade” in an effort to represent the variety of embodied human experience both to themselves and to others.
This interdisciplinary panel series will investigate how perception has mediated disability in a variety of German-related contexts, including the arts, medicine, natural sciences, politics, architecture, the legal system, and the academy. Here we also seek opportunities for disciplinary self-reflection, given that theoretical traditions important to the humanities such as aesthetics still typically center the normate. For the purposes of this panel, “disability” is broadly understood to refer to physical, sensory, and/or cognitive variations that are, in the words of Petra Kuppers (“Performance,” 2015), “different enough to be remarkable” in mainstream culture. Following Nirmala Erevelles and Andrea Minnear (“Unspeakable Offenses,” 2010), the organizers are also interested in moments when other aspects of identity, e.g., race, gender, age, and class, come to be perceived as disabilities.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • aesthetic experience and the non-normate body
  • representations of sensory, corporeal, or cognitive experiences associated with disability
  • scientific/statistical definitions and/or representations of human ability
  • histories of media accessibility and exclusion
  • disability in theories of aesthetics/media/communication/literacy/spectatorship
  • sensory disability and the built environment
  • perceptions of disability studies within German studies

February 3: Abstracts (350-400 words), short bios, and moderator/commentator availability* sent to Paul Dobryden ( and Caroline Weist (
February 10-12: notifications from organizers
No later than February 14: all participants must be active members of the GSA

*In order to encourage discussion among participants and between panels, we will attempt to fill moderator and commentator roles with presenters from other panels. If you are already committed to a role on a separate panel, please indicate that in your e-mail. We also welcome inquiries from those interested solely in moderating and/or commentating.

Source of description: Information from the provider

Fields of research

Literature from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Aesthetics
Disability Studies




German Studies Association (GSA)
Date of publication: 24.01.2020
Last edited: 24.01.2020