CfP: De-colonizing Disability Theory I. Cripping Development

Inter­na­tio­nal inter­di­sci­pli­na­ry con­fe­rence orga­ni­zed joint­ly by the Depart­ment of Gen­der Stu­dies, Facul­ty of Huma­nities, Charles Uni­ver­si­ty in Pra­gue, the Gen­der Rese­arch Office, Uni­ver­si­ty of Vien­na and with sup­port of the Czech Aca­de­my of Sci­ence and the Depart­ment for Deve­lop­ment Stu­dies, Uni­ver­si­ty of Vien­na.

Dates: Sep­tem­ber 19–21, 2013
Venue: Czech Aca­de­my of Sci­ence, Pra­gue
Pro­po­sal Dead­line: June 30, 2013
Con­fir­ma­ti­on of accep­tan­ce: July 15, 2013

The orga­ni­zers of the con­fe­rence wish to pro­vi­de space for cri­ti­cal dia­lo­gue bet­ween disa­bi­li­ty stu­dies and stu­dies of Cen­tral and Eas­tern Euro­pe, post­co­lo­ni­al stu­dies, glo­bal and deve­lop­ment stu­dies. This year’s inter­di­sci­pli­na­ry mee­ting focu­ses on map­ping out the ways in which deve­lop­ment poli­ci­es and stra­te­gies as well as the very con­cept its­elf allow for or con­tri­bu­te to uphol­ding glo­bal ine­qua­li­ties.For instan­ce, a gro­wing num­ber of both disa­bi­li­ty scho­l­ars and activists is cal­ling for a sustai­ned and cri­ti­cal enga­ge­ment with the ways in which disa­bi­li­ty poli­ci­es and rights agen­das car­ri­ed out in the name of glo­bal deve­lop­ment rein­scri­be the hege­mo­ny of the glo­bal North. This dia­gno­sis howe­ver does not only app­ly to a pre­su­med North/South axes. Simi­lar cri­tique has been direc­ted at the nar­ra­ti­ves of deve­lop­ment that frame the trans­for­ma­ti­on of the Eas­tern and Cen­tral European coun­tries from communism/socialism into capi­ta­lism (and their sub­se­quent inclu­si­on into the European Uni­on); such nar­ra­ti­ves have ser­ved to repro­du­ce the hege­mo­nic noti­on of the „pro­gres­si­ve West” and the „back­wards Eas­tern” peri­phe­ries and were instru­men­ta­li­zed in trans­mis­si­on of neo­li­be­ral capi­ta­lism. The­se pro­ces­ses have had very spe­ci­fic impact on lives of peop­le with disa­bi­li­ties, on their political/activist for­ma­ti­ons as well as on sta­te disa­bi­li­ty poli­ci­es and their recent aus­teri­ty cuts.

Fur­ther­mo­re, on the level of the epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal, con­cep­tu­al and poli­ti­cal foun­da­ti­ons the field of disa­bi­li­ty stu­dies is impli­ca­ted in glo­bal hege­mo­ny. As Helen Mee­ko­sha phra­ses it, disa­bi­li­ty stu­dies prac­tice „scho­l­ar­ly colo­nia­lism” by lea­ving the spaces of the glo­bal South „assu­med.” As a result, the soci­al and mate­ri­al rea­li­ties of many dis­ab­led and crip lives remain under-theo­ri­zed. Moreo­ver, both in the post-socia­list spaces and in the glo­bal South, the absence of disa­bi­li­ty iden­ti­ty-frame­works and reco­gniz­ab­le (i.e. „wes­tern”) poli­ti­cal agen­das is often per­cei­ved as a lack of poli­ti­cal con­scious­ness. Thus, a tho­rough enga­ge­ment of disa­bi­li­ty theo­ry with „sou­thern dis­ab­led bodies” (Con­nell) and the „post-socia­list crip” is long over­due.

In par­ti­cu­lar, the orga­ni­zers seek work that enga­ges with (but does not have to be limi­ted to) the fol­lo­wing ques­ti­ons and lines of inter­ro­ga­ti­ons:

  • What are the con­nec­tions and con­tin­gen­ci­es bet­ween the con­cepts of deve­lop­ment (but also back­ward­ness, sta­gna­ti­on, chro­ni­ci­ty), trans­na­tio­nal capi­ta­lism and disa­bi­li­ty?
  • How do deve­lop­ment agen­das that argu­ab­ly con­tri­bu­te to disa­bi­li­ty rights, poli­tics of pro­vi­si­on, nati­on buil­ding and cri­sis manage­ment, sustain or even exa­cer­ba­te glo­bal redis­tri­bu­ti­on of pover­ty and ine­qua­li­ties?
  • How does the ideo­lo­gy of deve­lop­ment legi­ti­mi­ze, and rely upon, pro­ces­ses of glo­ba­li­zing care and out­sour­cing care faci­li­ties towards the glo­bal South and/or Eas­tern Euro­pe?
  • How do struc­tures of neo­co­lo­nia­lism inform rela­ti­ons­hips bet­ween the dis­ab­led sub­jec­ts of the glo­bal North/West and the dis­ab­led sub­jec­ts of the glo­bal South/East?
  • And what would it mean to embrace noti­ons of chro­ni­ci­ty, sta­gna­ti­on and debi­li­ty (in this con­text)?
  • How would disa­bi­li­ty theo­ry enri­ched with various forms of situa­ted know­led­ges chal­len­ge scho­l­ar­ly colo­nia­lism and forms of North/Western hege­mo­ny?
  • Whe­re are the spaces for disa­bi­li­ty cri­tique? And how do the­se loca­ti­ons shape the thought and know­ledge wit­hin respec­tive disa­bi­li­ty theo­ries?
  • What rela­ti­ons­hips deve­lop bet­ween know­ledge pro­duc­tion and poli­ti­cal activism/agency on the one hand and poli­ti­cal insti­tu­ti­ons on the other hand?
  • What forms of epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal and poli­ti­cal alli­an­ces open at the inter­sec­tions of various cate­go­ries? What are the hurd­les to such alli­an­ces?
  • And final­ly, what would disability/crip stu­dies look like from the per­spec­tive of glo­bal „peri­phe­ries”? What forms of know­ledge might be pro­du­ced by the­se per­spec­tives?

The orga­ni­zers encou­ra­ge inter­sec­tio­n­al work that enga­ges with disa­bi­li­ty and crip­ness in rela­ti­on to race, eth­ni­ci­ty, gen­der, sexua­li­ty, age, class and other soci­al­ly pro­du­ced cate­go­ries of dif­fe­rence and hier­ar­chy.  We will con­si­der work that has import to the broa­der ques­ti­ons rai­sed by the call, even if it does not address the con­cept of deve­lop­ment in an expli­cit way.

The orga­ni­zers wish to make the con­fe­rence a non-hier­ar­chi­cal space of col­le­gi­al sup­port and we encou­ra­ge juni­or scho­l­ars to app­ly. The con­fe­rence lan­guage is Eng­lish and the con­fe­rence will be held in Pra­gue.

So far, the con­fir­med speakers are

  • Dar­ja Zaviršek, Pro­fes­sor at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Ljub­lja­na, Facul­ty of Soci­al Work, and
  • Mel Y. Chen, Asso­cia­te Pro­fes­sor of Gen­der & Women’s Stu­dies, Uni­ver­si­ty of Cali­for­nia, Ber­ke­ley.

Plea­se send a 500 Word abs­tract for indi­vi­du­al pre­sen­ta­ti­on, a work­shop or a the­ma­tic panel by June 30, 2013 to

For more infor­ma­ti­on visit the con­fe­rence web­site:

With fur­ther inqui­ries plea­se con­tact Kate­ri­na Koláro­vá at or Katha­ri­na Wied­lack at

De-colo­ni­zing Disa­bi­li­ty Theo­ry I: Crip­ping Deve­lop­ment wants to con­ti­nue in dis­cus­sions ope­ned by the con­fe­rence Crip­ping Neo­li­be­ra­lism (2010; Pra­gue).