CFP – Children and Deaf Culture in Literature and Other Modes of Representation

Children and Deaf Culture in Literature and Other Modes of Representation

The aim of this collection is to explore literary and cultural representations of d/Deaf culture, and so we invite a wide variety of scholarly studies with specific attention to the cultures of the deaf, deafness and experiences of deafness. We welcome approaches that examine the subject from various perspectives – examination of different genres in writing and multimedia, situation of deaf characters in varying backgrounds, including able bodied, ethnic and racial cultures, strategic modes of representation of visual lives, the implications of specific genres (the Bildungsroman, for example), and so on. Historically, deafness has been regarded as a sub-category of disability and, in relation to children’s literature and culture, scholarly writing has mostly fallen under that umbrella, although the nexus is often challenged. The general field of disability studies scholarship has had a long history in the social sciences, entered the humanities around thirty years ago, but has had a shorter existence in children’s literature. Landmark twenty-first century events have been themed issues in Disability Studies Quarterly in 2004 (issue 24.1), in ChLAQ in 2013 (issue 38.3), and in interjuli in 2017, although only one article in these three volumes focused on deafness. While considerable interest has been shown in children and deafness and children in deaf culture in creative literature and film, scholarship has been somewhat sporadic. A common focus of attention has been the problem of representation: is there an emphasis on the “otherness” of deaf characters? Is representation from a hearing perspective? Do deaf characters occupy a central role and function, or are they subordinated to hearing characters? Are authors drawn to the motif of the “supercrip”? What kind of links are portrayed between deaf characters and animals? Does representation explain specific characteristics of a character’s deafness and is this grounded in an accurate understanding of deafness? How are characters positioned in relationship to “the sense of an ending”? Do texts assume a cultural divide between deaf and hearing people, and if so, what does this imply? What is the relationship of Deaf culture to other social cultures? Do texts acknowledge the complexity of d/Deaf cultures?

We are looking for contributions that focus on social and cultural representations of children and deafness, and the cultures of deafness, rather than studies in pathology or pedagogy. Contributions may not have been previously published. Some possible themes are set out below, but these are not exclusive and we are open to suggestions of other kinds:

  • Deafness in Children’s Literature: Historical Perspectives
  • Deaf Theory and Children’s Literature
  • Deaf culture in children’s books
  • Deafness, children and film
  • Film documentaries
  • The exploits of Superdeafy and other supercrips
  • Comparative studies: representation in various communities
  • Representations of cognitive processes in fiction and/or film
  • Representing identity development, and/or construction
  • Deafness and Bibliotherapy
  • Signed performance with children (poetry, drama, etc.)
  • Biography and Autobiography
  • Turning a Deaf Ear: Deafness as a Metaphor

This project was suggested by the University Press of Mississippi, with whom we have an agreement to publish the collection, subject to a satisfactory peer review.

Please send proposals of no longer than 300 words plus a short CV (up to 300 words) to: Vivian Yenika-Agbaw:
Deadline for proposals: 24 November 2017
The editors will respond to proposals by: 15 December 2017
Full submissions of no more than 6000 words and conforming to the Publishers’ house style will then be due with the Editors by April 1, 2018.

The editors are:

Dr. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw
Professor of Education (Literature & Literacy)
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
The Pennsylvania State University

Prof John Stephens
Emeritus Professor in English
Macquarie University