Culture, Disability, Theory –
Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies

University of Cologne, October 25 – 27, 2012

In Cooperation with the English Seminar of the University of Cologne, Institute for American Literature and Culture, Prof. Hanjo Berressem.

Disability Studies conceptualizes disability as a social and cultural construction that can be traced throughout a multiplicity of cultural practices. Cultural Studies, however, has yet to fully incorporate disability as an object of inquiry and a framework for critical analyses. A continuing dialogue between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies paves the way for insightful resonances and demonstrates ways to critically consider the conceptual pair of normalcy and disability with respect to strategies of cultural interpretation and production.

poster_contact-zones_webThe systematic understanding of disability as ‘naturalized construction’ promises insights not only for those who are currently subsumed under the label ‘disabled.’ How is cultural knowledge about embodiment and subjectivity produced, transformed and reinforced? What are the political consequences for an analysis of ‘disability’ that arise from a critique of neoliberal mechanisms of differentiation and exclusion? How are individual and social identities, self-conceptions, and body-images (trans-)formed through the reflection of cultural representation? Which theoretical frameworks of contemporary cultural criticism can be employed to rethink disability in terms of an affirmative conceptualization of socio-cultural difference?

This conference brought together scholars who are working at the interface of Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Presentations were complemented with comments by researchers and graduate students of, among others, sociology, literature, art history and philosophy based at the University of Cologne. The conference addressed the multiplicity of possible overlaps between both disciplines and aimed to contribute to the thriving discourse of ‘Cultural Disability Studies.’

Confirmed keynote speakers were:

For more information send an email to:

Published by Shadi Heinrich @ May 9, 2012