THEMATIC AREA: Constructions

TOPIC AREA: Disability Studies: Cultivating Critical Narrative Consciousnesses


Final Submission Deadline: June 16, 2017

Oct. 9-11, 2017

The Modern Honolulu & Hilton Hawaiian Village and Resorts, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA


Disability Studies cultivates a critical narrative consciousness to unlock understandings of disability in the context of multiple disciplines, experiences, and perspectives. This topic area will explore and investigate ideas of cultural identity, social conditions, and social justice, including historical, socio-cultural, political, and economic perspectives about impairment; politics and legislation; diversity; and education.

We are interested in a variety of presentations offering contemplation, critical reflection and analysis. See below for some questions to spur ideas.

Examples of potential proposals include:

  • Is there a role for disability, and other, studies in academic situations to promote justice and equality?
  • Is there a need to foster political and educational alliances?
  • Are there best practices for how Disability Studies can serve as a space to spawn and invigorate critical thinkers?
  • What is to be learned from current Disability Studies scholarship? How does it reflect how Disability Studies has developed over the years or in different geographic locales?
  • What audiences are being reached with Disability Studies? How can we broaden our reach?
  • In what ways are scholars and activists measuring the impact of Disability Studies? Do we need to look at Disability Studies in innovative ways to understand whether it is having a broader impact on society? If so, what are some examples of these new means of measurement?
  • How does Disability Studies address the prevalent isms: ableism, racism, ethnocentrism, sexism and classism, and what might be done to go beyond and ameliorate these isms?
  • How are best practices, recent research, advocacy and training initiatives addressing intersectional systems and multiple systems of discrimination?
  • In what ways might Disability Studies make a positive impact on human life and activities?
  • How might Disability Studies, developed largely in western countries, be relevant in other countries and cultures with different histories and cultures? What are examples of different models?
  • Does media, including social media, bring disability into the center or move it back to the margins? How might Disability Studies impact all media to improve policy and social change? How do we know if it’s working (i.e. how do we measure whether the media is being impacted)?
  • What is the intersection of disability, diversity, and ethics? Does Disability Studies play a role, or have a role to play, in ethics discussions, policy implementation, or other socio­cultural intersections?

We welcome proposals that discuss these issues and more. If you have a proposal that may not fit in to the above targets, we will welcome them as part of our discussion. We welcome proposals in any presentation format. We also welcome presentations in innovative formats including readings, performance art, graphics and roundtables.

Please see presentation formats on our webpage at: Please check the criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: or send your proposals via email to

For more information about this topic area, contact topic chairs, Steve Brown,, or Megan Conway,

For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett 956-7539.

For registration questions, please contact the registration desk at (808) 956-8816, fax

(808) 956-4437 or email