Disability Studies and Modern Languages Research

Disability Studies and Modern Languages Research
24 February 2021, 2.00pm - 4.00pm
Research Training

Session leader: Eleanor Jones (Southampton)

Government and institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed in stark terms the prioritisation of certain lives and the disposability of others. This structuring of society around the ‘tolerable death’ of those with bodies and minds that exist outside of typicality has long been a central concern of disability studies. Engagement with this methodology is, then, more urgent and important than ever. In this session, I outline some of the central theoretical strands of this approach, showing how it can cast new light on global historical and cultural studies. In particular, I ask how we might begin to see disability as fundamental to our work as Modern Languages researchers, drawing on its intersections — and, perhaps, synonymities — with race, sexuality and gender. 

Recommended reading:

· Henri-Jacques Stiker, ’The birth of rehabilitation’, in A History of Disability, trans. William Sayers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999; orig. pub. as Corps infirmes et sociétés, 1982), pp. 121-89

· Ellen Samuels, ‘The crisis of identification’, in Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race (New York: New York University Press, 2014), pp. 1-23

· Mitchell, David T., and Sharon Snyder, ‘Introduction: disability as narrative supplement’, in Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000), pp. 1-14

This event is part of the Institute of Modern Languages Research’s training programme, which provides free training on methods, skills, and current and emerging approaches to languages- and cultures-focused research. These sessions are open to researchers at all levels in the UK and beyond, but advance registration is essential.

Live captions will be available for this session.

This event will be held online via Zoom. Participation is free; however, advance registration is required. Details about how to join the virtual meet-up will be circulated via email to registered attendees.


Kremena Velinova
020 7664 4884