Criptic Identities. Historicizing the identity formation of persons with disabilities across the globe
Leiden University, Institute for History, 21 – 22 March 2019
Download the program here (pdf)
Wednesday | 20 March | Location: Museum Volkenkunde
14:30-16:00 — Launch event DISPLACE
DisPLACE is an online platform with stories about living with disabilities. These stories are told from the perspective of people with disabilities and brought in an accessible way.
The main language of this event is Dutch, with ASL and NGT interpreting.
16:30-17:30 — Keynote lecture by Prof. dr. Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven)
“Silence, history & identity: Reflections on the value of silence for persons (with disabilities)”
Pieter Verstraete is a professor in educational history and director of the Centre for the History of Education (Centrum voor Historische Pedagogiek) at Leuven University in Belgium.
Discussant: Sam De Schutter (Leiden University)
The lecture will be in English, with ASL and NGT interpreting.
18:00-20:00 — Film screening Doof Kind/Deaf Child
Deaf Child is a documentary film by Alex de Ronde in which he portrays the life of his son, a charismatic young man who happens to be deaf.
The language of the film is Dutch, with English subtitles.
Thursday | 21 March | Location: Academiegebouw Leiden
There will be NGT and ASL interpreters throughout the whole day.
09:30-10:00 — Arrival & registration __ room 01
10:00–10:30 — Introduction by the organizers
10:30–12:00 — Panel stream 1
1A. Constructing & deconstructing disabled identities __ room 01
Chair: Andries Hiskes (Leiden University)
Sebastian Schlund (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), Disability and identity construction through an intersectional lens
Akriti Mehta (King’s College London), Cripping Madness: Historicising the identities of persons with psychosocial disabilities in the Global South
Octavian E. Robinson (St. Catherine University), Construction of deaf culture in the US, 19th-20th century
1B. Disability & race __ Faculteitskamer Rechten
Chair: Sara Polak (Leiden University)
Esme Cleall (University of Sheffield), Tilly Aston (1873-1947): disability and identity in colonial Australia
Laurel Daen (College of William & Mary), Race, disability, and taxes in American history
Marion Schmidt (University Medical Center Göttingen), The “cripple as negro”: Leonard Kriegel’s “Uncle Tom and Tiny Tim” as a reflection on disability, minority and identity in 1960s America
12:00-13:30 — Lunch break
13:30–15:00 — Panel stream 2
2A. (Post-) Socialist visions __ room 01
Chair: Monika Baar (Leiden University)
Ina Dimitrova (Plovdiv University Paisii Hilendarski), Desiring economization: disability identities in Bulgaria and the work utopia
Cristina Popescu (Universität Bielefeld), (In)visible citizenships. A socio-historical approach to disability in Romania
Filip Herza (Charles University), Socialist humanism between a promise of social improvement and commitment to normative social order: Integration of Roma and people with disabilities in 1970s-1980s Czechoslovakia
2B. Intersecting identities __ Faculteitskamer Rechten
Chair: Anna Derksen (Leiden University)
Katarzyna Ojrzyńska (University of Łódź), Commemorating the disabled victims of the Nazi regime in contemporary Polish culture: Remembrance, empowerment, and responsibility
Hanna Lindberg (Tampere University), Constructing “the Finland-Swedish Deaf”: Deaf identification in the intersection of ethnicity and disability among the Finland-Swedish Deaf, c. 1950-2000
Raphael Rössel (Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel), Gendered childhoods and disabilities in West German parental discourse from the 1960s to 1980s
15:00–15:30 — Coffee & tea break
15:30–17:00 — Panel stream 3
3A. Institutional witnessing __ room 01
Chair: Paul van Trigt (Leiden University)
Nathanje Dijkstra (Utrecht University), Making up disability? Disability benefit legislation and disability identity formation in cases of traumatic neurosis in the Netherlands (1901-1921)
Erwin Dijkstra (Leiden University), Governing identities: Interactions between institutional assumptions and the identity of the impaired
Jen Rinaldi (University of Ontario Institute of Technology), Kate Rossiter (Wilfrid Laurier University) & Siobhán Saravanamuttu (York University), The responsibility of the witness in institutional survivors’ testimonial & identity work
3B. Disability & the nation __ Faculteitskamer Rechten
Anna Derksen (Leiden University), Disability in postcolonial Greenland
Stephanie Wright (University of Sheffield), Rethinking war disability: the case of Francoist Spain, 1936-1975
Kateřina Kolářová (Charles University), Rehabilitative citizenship and the inarticulate post-socialist crip
17:30-18:30 — Keynote lecture by Prof. dr. Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova (NRU Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
“Dis/Abling the Russian Public Sphere”
Elena Iarskaia-Smirnova is professor in the department of General Sociology at the faculty of Social Sciences of the NRU Higher School of Economics in Moscow.
Discussant: Anaïs van Ertvelde (Leiden University)
Venue: Academiegebouw Leiden, room 01
18:30-20:30 — Drinks & bites (aka ‘borrel’)
We will end the day in typical Dutch manner with a ‘borrel’, which means as much as having some drinks and bites. This will take place at the Hortus, which is located near the conference venue.
Friday | 22 March | Location: Academiegebouw Leiden
There will be NGT and ASL interpreters throughout the whole day.
10:00-11:00 — Keynote lecture by Anahi Guedes de Mello (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina)
“My Cochlear Implant, My Crip Sex Toy”
Discussant: Gildas Bregain (EHESP)
Venue: Academiegebouw Leiden, room 01
11:00-11:30 — Coffee & tea break
11:30–13:00 — Panel 1. Disability protests __ room 01
Chair: Edit Zsadanyi (Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest)
Vassiliki Chalaza (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh) and University of the Aegean), C. Tsakas (AUTh), K. Kavoulakos (AUTh), From charity to social welfare: Blind people struggle for their rights in post-dictatorial Greece (1974–89)
Magdalena Zdrodowska (Jagiellonian University), Deaf/Disability protests in present-day Poland and the 1980s-era US: The convergence of strategies and differences in demands
Gildas Bregain (Ecole des hautes études en santé publique), Representations of disability in disability protests in Latin America. Comparative study of the 1968’s and the period 2001-2018
13:00-14:00 — Lunch break
14:00–15:30 — Panel 2. Commemorations & representations __ room 01
Chair: Pieter Verstraete (KU Leuven)
Diane Driedger (University of Manitoba), Paintings, poems and pain: Forging a disabled identity
Natalia Magdalena Pamula (University at Buffalo), Bodies in motion: Disability, work, and masculinity in Polish 1970s and 1980s young adult literature
Karla Garcia Luiz (Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina), The sexuality of people with disabilities on the cover of Sentidos Magazine: Inclusion or perpetuation of stigma?
15:30-16:00 — Coffee & tea break
16:00–17:00 — Wrap up
Call for Abstracts
In recent years, ‘identity politics’ has evolved as a controversial, but also prolific concept within political, academic and activist debates. A growing body of literature sheds light on different assumptions about identity as a concept that is as much related to expressions of individuality and subjectivity as it is to specific social groups, typically described as outsiders on the margins of society and the political mainstream. Various groups like women, ethnic minorities, queer or elderly have strategically used identity as a tool for creating a common culture and gaining agency to bring about social change (Bernstein 2005). Against current discussions – are identity politics still valuable, and if not, what could be the way forward for political organizing as well as more personal processes of emancipation – this workshop wants to delve into disability as an identity.
Historically, disability politics have included both the professional and institutional negotiation of individuals as socially ‘deviant’ and ‘unfit’, as well as organized collective action from within communities of persons with disabilities themselves. How did these differing identities of disability come about? And of equal importance, in which ways did disability not become an identity? What kinds of identity formation processes can we detect in different societal contexts as well as cultural settings, and do these follow comparable or diverging trajectories?
As Julie Livingston (2006) has pointed out: « As disability history and disability studies increasingly open up to non-Western histories, opportunities arise not only for gaining new empirical knowledge but also for rethinking the very categories that underlie the socially constructed models [of disability] on which so much analysis rests. Botswana is different from the United States or France. Yet these countries’ histories are entangled in one another in complex ways that we have yet to even begin to unpack.»
This begs the question of how to take into account specific local contexts, transnational entanglements and exchanges, as well as intersectionality with other ‘identities’ like gender, class, ethnicity or age? What have historical examples beyond the dominance of Anglo-Saxon narratives to offer to the thriving field of disability studies? With this workshop, we hope that new, evidence-based studies on the identities of disability and ‘the disabled person’ from various places around the globe will not only shed light on historical conceptualizations, but may provide new reflections and insights on how we as scholars conceptualize disability today, and in which ways these two might be related.
- Anahi Guedes de Mello / Federal University of Santa Catarina, Brazil
- Elena R. Iarskaia-Smirnova / NRU Higher School of Economics, Moscow, Russia
- Pieter Verstraete / KU Leuven, Belgium
We welcome original proposals that analyse the history of disability perceptions, expressions and identity formation processes within, beyond and across nation states and different cultural settings. The workshop is not confined in focus to any region, but encourages studies on areas that remain underrepresented in disability history, in particular Eastern Europe and the Global South.
A publication is envisaged on the basis of a selection of the papers presented during the workshop. However, the willingness to contribute to the publication is not a precondition for participation.
Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
- collective identities of disability, e.g. in the form of social movements, organizations, protests, communities and religious institutions
- cultural constructions and productions of disability, by persons with disabilities themselves and about persons with disabilities
- knowledge production, by persons with disabilities themselves, by government experts, academics or medical professionals
- disability in colonial and postcolonial settings, the Cold War, international development, neoliberalism and globalization
- disability in the context of health and rehabilitation, education, livelihoods, indigeneity
Applications are invited from historians and scholars from related fields working on the nexus of disability and identity at any stage of their careers and with diverse geographical backgrounds. We aim at providing an informal setting in which selected participants will present their research (up to 20 minutes) and engage in an open exchange of ideas and perspectives. If you wish to participate in the workshop, please send an abstract of about 350 words and a short CV no later than 1 November 2018 to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions to the organizers can be sent using the same address. Notification of acceptance will be given by the end of November 2018.
The conference will take place at Leiden University, in close vicinity to Amsterdam Airport (Schiphol). Catering will be offered to all selected participants at no cost, but participants will be expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. If you have any specific (accessibility) requirements, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate such requests. A small number of bursaries might be available on a competitive basis, an opportunity particularly intended for junior scholars and those without research funds from their own institutions. Please indicate when submitting your abstract if you would like to be considered for subsidy.
The workshop is initiated and hosted by the research team of the ERC project ‘Rethinking Disability: the Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective’, based in the Institute for History at Leiden University.
The Call for Papers can be downloaded in pdf-format here.