Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Call for proposals out for Society for Disability Studies 2016 conference in Phoenix

SDS Phoenix 2016 – Call for Proposals
Disability in the Public Sphere

29th Annual Meeting: June 8-11, 2016
Phoenix, Arizona
Hyatt Regency Phoenix

The program committee of the 29th annual meeting of the Society for Disability Studies invites you to consider the multiple and significant possibilities at the intersections of disability, media, education, and public policy.


As Arizona’s fraught political history reminds us, the public sphere can be a vibrant space filled not only with contestation and conflicting ideas and agendas, but also with camaraderie and interdependence. Please join us in Phoenix and make your voice heard.

Disability in most societies has left the shadows to become a visible part of the larger culture. Through news and entertainment media, through changing public policies, through attention in teaching at all levels, focus on disability is becoming more vibrant. These public areas help shape meanings and representations of disability, and disability in turn shapes the public sphere.

Many international disability organizations now acknowledge the influence of mass media and other societal representations on what a society believes about disability. The UN’s International Labour Organization in Geneva, Switzerland reports: “How people with disabilities are portrayed and the frequency with which they appear in the media has enormous impact on how they are regarded in society. Portraying people with disabilities with dignity and respect in the media can help promote more inclusive and tolerant societies and stimulate a climate of non-discrimination and equal opportunity.”

Disability presents in the public sphere in many ways that intersect with Disability Studies research. What is being (or not being) taught about disability at all grade levels and in higher education?  How are disability rights reflected (or not reflected) in public policies? What are the varied mediated representations of disability in a society? How do those mediated representations affect the lived experiences of people with disabilities? How are people with disabilities able to (or not able to) access public activities and forums of various kinds?

Communities, activists, artists, advocates and allies - local, national, international – are encouraged to participate in the SDS conference. We strongly encourage full panel submissions, including 3-4 presenters with a designated moderator/discussant. Individual paper submissions are welcomed as well.  

We welcome proposals in all areas of disability studies, but especially those submissions premised on this year's theme.

The deadline for proposals is December 1, 2015.

Multiple Submissions
Participants MAY NOT appear in more than ONE major role (peer-reviewed presentation), excluding evening performances, non-presenting organizer, non-presenting moderator, New Book/Work Reception. Conference participants submitting more than one proposal must rank-order their preferences for participation. The program committee will prioritize spreading program slots across the membership before offering multiple slots to any one participant.

If you intend to participate in multiple events, please complete the submission process for each event.

This years program committee is continuing the idea of specific “strands” that relate to the larger more general theme of the SDS conference. Each strand may have 3 or 4 related events (e.g. panels, workshops), organized to occur throughout the conference in a way that will eliminate any overlap of sessions.

Our planned strands this year are as follows; each is accompanied by possible prompts related to this year’s theme:

Communities and Cultures
With an emphasis on disability and native peoples, First Nations, aboriginal peoples, and American Indians, these papers and sessions explore challenges and possibilities that shape collaboration, culture, and community. How are relations negotiated within intersecting identities, cultures, and disabilities? What are the terms of community self-definition? How do identities, intersectional locations, and/or community definitions become codified in policy and law? 

Critical Design, Media, & Technology Studies
Papers and sessions that explore object studies, architecture, sustainability, design in professional contexts, military tech, material culture, robotics, etc. How do we think about personhood, life, humanness, and the ways that mobility devices, prosthetics, and wheelchairs can be experienced as integral to living bodies? In what ways does media influence our interactions with and understandings of various technologies? How do gender, race, class, sexuality, and living location affect access to and experiences with disability technologies?

Power, privilege and state policies
SDS recognizes Arizona’s troubled relationship with immigrants and other minoritized communities. This strand seeks to encourage constructive dialogue that engages with intersecting state oppressions at all levels that affect people with disabilities and all of their allies in the fight for civil and human rights. How do various disability organizations (including SDS) carry out, contest, complicate, and contextualize power and privilege?

Professional development
Papers and sessions that explore professional matters such as locating funding, pursuing academic and non-academic jobs, managing non-tenured careers, networking, surviving the tenure track, etc. How does the changing and developing “institutionality” of disability studies impact professional development and the way they get represented in the public sphere?

Translational research in health sciences and disability studies
Translational research refers to research that translates between disciplines, and from basic research to applied research and to practice, the goals of this strand are: (1) to demonstrate how disability studies theory contributes to the conception of health sciences research and practice; (2) to provide best practice examples of disability studies translational research and practice; and (3) to mentor a new generation of federally funded disability studies researchers and practitioners. We particularly welcome submissions from clinicians/clinical researchers close to disability (whether disabled or not) who are interested in cutting edge disability studies perspectives.

Disability History (Sponsored by the Disability History Association (DHA))
Historical presentations from a variety of research perspectives that explore the history of disability and disabled people in the public sphere.

If you would like your proposal to be considered as part of one of these thematic strands, please note the strand in your submission information.

Other strands may emerge from member proposals as we receive them. 


Important Note on Virtual Presentations: 
These will NOT be available for the Phoenix 2016 conference.  The accessibility and infrastructure is not available to us given the location as well as the predicted size and scope of this year’s conference.

Important Note on Multiple Submissions
Participants MAY NOT appear in more than ONE major role (peer-reviewed presentation), excluding evening performances, non-presenting organizer, non-presenting moderator, New Book/Work Reception. Conference participants submitting more than one proposal must rank-order their preferences for participation. The program committee will prioritize spreading program slots across the membership before offering multiple slots to any one participant.

If you intend to participate in multiple events, please complete the submission process for each event.

All submissions are peer-reviewed, unless otherwise indicated below. All session formats are 90 minutes in length, including all introductions, presentations, discussion, and closure. Proposals may be submitted for presentations in any of the following formats:

·         Complete Panels:

·         Groups of 3-4 presenters (each with 15-20 minutes) and a designated organizer / contact person and moderator (need not be the same person), plus an optional discussant, are encouraged to submit proposals around a central topic, theme, or approach. Panel proposals require BOTH a 300-word proposal describing the panel AND a 300-word abstract for each paper/presentation. List all paper/presentation co-authors, identify the presenting author(s), and provide credentials for the discussant, if one is planned.

·         Individual Presentation:
Individual presentations will be placed alongside two or three other panelists with a similar topic and a moderator chosen by the Program Committee. In general, we assume 15-20-minute presentations (if you are requesting more time, please specify and explain why). Presenters are required to submit 300-word abstracts for individual papers/presentations. List all co-authors, if any, and designate the presenting author(s).

·         Discussion:
A topical discussion with a designated organizer / contact person and moderator (need not be the same person), but with only short (5-7 min.) presentations to start discussion, if any. Submit a 500-word proposal, including a description of how the time will be used, complete contact information for the designated organizer and each participant in the discussion, and a description of their roles.

·         Workshop:
Engaged application of a specific program or exercise involving a minimum of 4 planners / presenters. Proposals should include a 500-word proposal that addresses methodology and anticipated learning outcomes. Proposals must describe the format of the workshop. How will you use the time? Please describe the credentials and role of each workshop participant, designate a contact person/moderator, and provide complete contact information for each planner / presenter.

·         Poster:
Individuals or small teams will be provided a common space and time with an easel (and/or table if requested) to present a display of a research, training, service, or advocacy project, or other work. Presenters should be in attendance at the poster session. Submissions for the poster session require a 300-word abstract, complete contact information for anyone involved in the project who will attend SDS, and a designated lead contact person. Each year, SDS proudly awards the Tanis Doe Award for the best poster.

·         Performance or Art Event/Exhibit:
We encourage submissions of a creative/artistic event in any media by individuals and/or groups. All proposals should clearly list at least one person who will register for and attend the conference as the event presenter/host. Submissions must include a 500-word proposal, and sample of the proposed work (up to 2,500 words of text, ten images of artistic work, demo CD, YouTube or other Internet link, DVD, or other appropriate format). Send via email at SDSCONF2016@GMAIL.COM or postal mail to the SDS Executive Office at: Society for Disability Studies/ 538 Park Hall – History Dept / University at Buffalo / Buffalo, NY 14260-4130 / USA. Submissions must reach the SDS Executive Office by the submission deadline. Please describe the background and role of each artist/participant and designate a contact person / moderator.

Performers should be aware that SDS does not have the ability to provide theatrical and or stage settings. While every effort will be made to provide appropriate performance spaces, proposing performers are advised that special lighting, audiovisual equipment, and staging requests cannot be accommodated.

·         Films (non peer-reviewed):
Ideally, film submissions do not exceed 60 minutes in length in order to allow for commentary and discussion. All film entries accepted for presentation at the 2016 Conference must be provided to the SDS Executive Office on DVD not less than 30 days prior to the start of the Conference in open-captioned format, and the films sponsor should be prepared to provide audio description as needed. As SDS cannot pay distribution rights for film screenings, the films sponsor is fully responsible for securing any necessary permissions from trade and copyright holders for public screening. Sponsors of accepted films must register for and attend the conference, host the screening, bring documentation of rights clearance to the Conference and make it available during the film screening. SDS may request the right to schedule more than one screening at the conference. SDS program committee may request more samples and cannot return materials that are submitted for consideration. Films and film clips may also be submitted as part of format categories A-F as described above and are subject to the same accessibility requirements as full-length film proposals.

·         Student and Other Interest Groups/Caucus/Other Meetings (non peer-reviewed):
Various ad hoc and organized SDS or other non-profit groups may wish to have business, organizational, or informational meetings or some other kind of non-peer-reviewed event or exhibit space at the meetings. Anyone hoping to host any such event should request space by December 1, 2015 by using the proposal submission form. After December 1, space will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. No meetings can be planned through SDS after the early-bird deadline of May 1, 2016. All presenters at such events must register for the conference. Requests from groups not affiliated with SDS may be assessed a share of cost for space and access arrangements. Please provide the name of group, a description of the group and/or meeting purpose and format (in 300 words), and contact information for at least one organizer and a designated moderator. SDS will provide ASL/CART as needed. Organizers should contact SDS to request catering or any other special arrangements.  Most of these meetings will take place in designated time blocks; be aware then that a proposed SIG or Caucus or Meeting will be scheduled against many others.

All participants must register and pay for the conference through the SDS website ( or the Executive Office by the early bird deadline: May 1, 2016, or they will be removed from the program. Early bird registration will begin Monday, March 7, 2016.

Participants will be notified of the status of their proposal and their paneling/place by Feb. 19, 2016.

Any cancellations and requests for refunds after May 1, 2016 (the early bird deadline) may incur a cancellation fee. Any participant unable to attend must notify SDS in a timely fashion.

Please note: low income/student/international member presenters are eligible for modest financial aid for meeting costs. Applications for financial assistance will be available via the SDS listserv in the coming months.

New Books/Materials:
Any participant with a book or other materials (e.g., DVD, CD) finished within the last three years (2013, 2014, 2015) is welcome to participate in the New Book/Work Reception. At least one person must register and be in attendance to host the reception display. You will be provided a table for display and the opportunity to interact with conference participants. The fee for representation in the New Book/Work Reception is $45.00. You will have the opportunity to register as an author attending the New Book Reception when you register for the conference.
Please indicate on the submission form whether you are willing to serve as moderator for a session.

In keeping with the philosophy of SDS, we ask that presenters attend carefully to the accessibility of their presentations. As a prospective presenter, you agree to follow the SDS Guidelines for accessible presentations found here:

AUDIO / VISUAL INFORMATION: Presentation rooms* for the SDS 2016 Conference will be equipped with:
2 (two) microphones for use by presenters;
1 (one) LCD projector, screen, power source, and cables;
Head table suitable to comfortably accommodate 4 (four) people;
Both table top and podium presentation spaces; and
Non-dedicated, WIFI Internet access (i.e. not functional for audio/video download reliably) Do NOT depend on WIFI access.  Have a back-up.
SDS does not provide computers, overhead projectors, or other audio/visual equipment as a matter of course. Presenters are responsible for ensuring that presentation structure and planning works well within these audio/visual parameters.

*This information may not be applicable to film showings and some other events.

By submitting to SDS 2016 in Phoenix, you give SDS permission to publish your abstracts, photograph you, publish such photographs on the SDS web site or other publications, audio or video record your presentation, transcribe the presentation for access needs, and transmit or post and archive such recordings and transcriptions via live-streaming, podcast form, or any other electronic means. If submitting on behalf of multiple presenters and authors, you certify that each presenter and author has granted his/her permission to Society for Disability Studies for purposes described in this paragraph. By giving this permission, you understand that you retain full rights to your work but give SDS the right to use your presentation in the context of the 2016 conference, including (but not limited to) charging attendees and others for access to derivative audio or video products, recordings or podcasts.

For further information contact the Program Committee at SDSCONF2016@GMAIL.COM