Disability Studies: Exploring the Margins from the Center and from the Margins April 25-26, 2016 Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu

The conference Disability Studies: Exploring the Margins from the Center and the Center from the Margins will take place from April 25-26, 2016 at the Hawaii Convention Center, Honolulu, Hawaii. The due date for conference submissions is December 17, 2015. The following questions should be considered when responding to the call for proposals.

Disability-related issues are becoming more and more mainstreamed. For instance, several universities are starting to offer Disability Studies as an undergraduate major option. At the same time, people with various disabilities, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender issues, for example, expressly discuss how they remain at the margins and may be even at the margins of the margins.

Where does Disability Studies fit in these discussions of multiple oppressions/identities and social inequalities, and what are scholars doing to advance theories and understandings of intersectionality? We are interested in presentations that will address less discussed areas of 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?

Does it make sense for Disability Studies to be in its own academic department?

If not, where does it make sense for Disability Studies to be located?

Best practices for how Disability Studies can serve as a space to spawn and invigorate a new generation of critical thinkers?

What is to be learned from the current explosion of Disability Studies-related books? What audiences are being reached with Disability Studies?

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?

What is “Ability Studies”* and how does it intersect with Disability Studies?

”Ability Studies is an emerging field that investigates ability expectation (want stage) and ableism (need stage) hierarchies, preferences, and their impact on human-human, human-animal, and human-nature relationships.”( Gregor Wolbring). 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?

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?

Examples of different models would be welcomed; 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 socio-cultural 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 the topic chair, Steve Brown,