Volume IV, Spring 2014

“Constructing (Dis)Ability”

Journal Publication Date: May 29, 2014

Deadline for the submission of abstracts/papers: January 31, 2014

Trans-Scripts– the interdisciplinary online journal in the Humanities and Social Sciences based at the University of California, Irvine – invites graduate students to submit their work for publication. The theme of our fourth volume will be “Constructing (Dis)Ability.”

Who is “able” and who is “disabled?” Who decides, and based upon what criteria? In exploring the multiple and intersecting matrices of power these questions evoke, it becomes clear that discourses of ability are as ubiquitous as they are overlooked, as protean as they are embedded.

On the one hand, we recognize the common distinction between “impairment” and “disability” advanced by disability studies scholars and codified in W.H.O., U.N., U.S., and U.K. disability laws. This distinction posits “impairment” as the reality of physical, emotional, or cognitive difference, and “disability” as the social understanding and implications of that difference. On the other hand, we acknowledge that ability is, in many ways, as elastic a concept as disability, and encourage submissions that problematize both sides of the binary, as well as the binary itself.

The aging process and aleatory events alike render impairment a near certainty for the majority of the population. The experience of disability is—to a certain extent—blind to privilege. However, it is in examining disability that some of the most intransigent social justice issues come to the fore. What it means to be “disabled” is contingent on questions of access, be it access to healthcare, education, political representation or the judicial system. In the United States and around the world, race, class, and gender often function as gatekeepers, either facilitating or restricting that access.

While the field of disability studies continues to gain traction within the academy, Trans-Scripts understands ability as a lens of analysis that resists compartmentalization. Accordingly, we encourage scholars from a wide range of backgrounds to contribute their ideas. We appreciate and will consider pieces that speak not only to the social construction of disability, but also to the material—and political—consequences of that construction. Our editorial collective will read submissions from disciplines including (but not limited to): history, art history, literature, philosophy, theology, psychology, education, political science, anthropology, sociology, informatics, public policy, public health, and bioethics. We also eagerly seek the perspectives of scholars working in fat studies, queer studies, women’s and gender studies, film and visual studies, urban studies, science and technology studies, cultural studies, and critical race studies. “We are happy to consider co-authored submissions, and especially welcome faculty-graduate student collaborations.”

Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The gendering of disability
  • The ethics of accommodations—specifically in sports
  • Cochlear implants and Deaf culture
  • The racialization of disability
  • Norms and pathologization in the concepts of impairment, ability, disability
  • Sexual norms and the "disabled" body
  • The concept of normal functioning
  • Disability and social justice
  • Ontologies and epistemologies of disability
  • Educating people with disabilities: challenges and opportunities
  • The New Disability History
  • Ability as rhetoric
  • “Crip Studies” and Alison Kafer's Feminist Queer Crip
  • Rendering the subaltern body
  • Self-identification and self-advocacy
  • The disabled body in virtual space(s)
  • Built environments as conditioning bodily norms and expectations
  • The neurodiversity movement
  • The relationship between transgender studies and disability studies 
  • The politics of designer babies
  • Ethnographies of ability and disability
  • The metaphysics and/or phenomenology of embodiment
  • Disability as socioeconomic indicator
  • Discussions of the recent US failure to ratify the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
  • The politics of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • The therapy/enhancement distinction
  • Recent changes to the DSM
  • “Obamacare” and the disability community
  • Theories of pain

Trans-Scripts welcomes all submissions that engage topics related to “Constructing (Dis)Ability.” They may, but certainly need not, address the examples listed above. As we believe that scholarship from a variety of approaches can help inform contemporary understandings, submissions need not conform to any disciplinary, methodological, temporal, or other criteria. They need only be original, well researched, and properly cited. English language contributions from all universities in all countries will be considered.

Faculty Contributors

Selected graduate student work will appear alongside contributions from renowned faculty members, including editorial pieces and scholarly articles.Past contributors have included Étienne Balibar, Hortense Spillers, Lee Edelman, Roderick Ferguson, and Temple Grandin.

Submission Guidelines and Review Process

The deadline for submission is January 31 2014.

All submissions should be written in English. The total word count should be between 3,000 and 12,000 words, including footnotes. Explanatory footnotes should be kept to a minimum. All pieces should be submitted as a Word document attached in an email to transscriptsjournal@gmail.com. The email should include your name, institution, program/department, and an email address at which you can be contacted. Please also include a short abstract of less than 300 words describing the content and argument of the piece.

Submissions should employ the MLA style of citation. For in text citations see the following style sheet from the University of Georgia. For bibliographic citations see the style sheet compiled by the Macon State College Library. For further help with MLA style, please refer to the MLA Handbook for Research Writers, 7th Edition, 2009, or view the Purdue MLA style guide online at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/.

Each piece will be reviewed by both members of the editorial collective and one of the journal’s faculty advisors from the relevant discipline(s). Pieces accepted for publication will then be returned to the author with editorial suggestions. When a successful agreement has been reached between authors and editors about the content of a piece, it will be published in the journal. The editors will do all they can to give authors as much time as possible to make changes to their submissions after review.

Comments and General Inquiries

Please direct all general inquiries about the journal or any comments on published pieces to our 2014 volume’s Editor-in-Chief, Andrea Milne, at milnea@uci.edu.