Call for Proposals
Take Away the Suit and What Are You?
"Cripping" the Comic Con 2014
April 9 and 10, 2014
participate in “Cripping” the Comic Con. Although some of the
language in this Call for Proposals is decidedly “academic,” and
some of the folks who participate may self-identify as “academics,”
this symposium is really for everyone, and we mean it. All are
welcomed; please feel free to submit your ideas for consideration.
We seek to promote a culture of inclusion.
Bérubé tells us that “every representation of disability has the
potential to shape the way ‘disability’ is understood in general
culture, and some of those representations can in fact do
extraordinary powerful—or harmful—cultural and political work”
(1997, p. B4). These representations encourage audience members to
come to an acceptance and understanding of the wide range of
differences that exist among us.
second annual symposium provides participants with the opportunity to
engage in a broad array of reflective discussions about the
representations of disability that exist “beneath the surface”
and explicitly within mainstream popular cultures both nationally and
internationally, particularly the popular culture phenomena that are
comic books, graphic novels, and manga.
incorporating genres that do not typically receive sustained
attention in mainstream scholarly spaces are encouraged. These
include but are not limited to the following:
comix, anime, motion comics
films, movies, videos, television shows (including reality TV,
advertising, newspapers, magazines
comic cons, dragon cons, geek cons, movie cons, cosplay, cult
fandom, the “geek syndrome”
visual arts, painting, photography, deviantART, alternative and
alternate art forms
poetry, expressive arts, popular fiction, imagetext, fanfic, slash,
alternative and alternate forms of literacies
material culture, multimedia, social media, Twitter, Facebook,
websites, blogs, memes, zines
games, gaming, toys, action figures
was the case with the first annual symposium, and will remain the
case each year, henceforth, one of our primary goals as symposium
organizers is to create opportunities for all
participants—particularly students and emerging scholars—to share
of our primary goals is to assure that all information associated
with the symposium is accessible and equitable. The symposium
organizers and the proposal review committee strongly support the
notion that “academics have a responsibility to make their work
relevant for the society they exist within” (Jurgenson, 2012), and
this of course includes making disability studies relevant and
accessible to the disability community (Ne’eman, 2012).
representations in popular culture are generally created outside of
academic environments, it is especially important for the general
public and not just “academics” to engage in conversations about
popular culture and disability. Representations have the potential
to affect everyone. We all benefit from discussing and learning
about disability and popular culture in ways that include and welcome
This event is meant not
only to address often unmet needs in scholarly spaces and beyond, but
also to address these vital areas/concerns:
Popular culture studies and literature do not pay consistent or
adequate attention to disability; when this attention is paid, it is
often via “special issues” of journals, etc.
Further, “Popular culture is…the discursive terrain on which
larger social issues are played out, often unobtrusively and masked
as entertainment–and this is precisely why pop culture needs to be
examined even more closely...” (Nayar, 2011, p. 172). These
issues include not only our understandings of diverse minds and
bodies, but representations of various social identities, including
but not limited to gender expression, race, class, ethnicity, size,
Popular culture studies and literature continue to have a mixed
reception within certain mainstream academic spaces. Because
popular culture is still sometimes not taken seriously within some
of these spaces (even among some disability studies scholars and
practitioners), its status remains, for some, “discounted” (at
times, popular culture studies may even be perceived as “deviant”).
Consequently, this symposium’s organizers aim to:
critique what is often described as “deviant”
question and disrupt what “counts” as academic, mainstream, and
The symposium will be consistent with values that underscore the
disability rights movement: we seek to make collective investments
in disability pride, identity, and cultures. In “cripping” the
status quo, we assert, purposefully, “Nothing about us without
us.” For more information on what we mean by “cripping,”
please visit this page on the “Cripping” the Comic Con website:
We especially welcome submissions based upon the variety of issues
and strategies that were identified during our 2013 post-symposium
session, “Disability Activism and Fandom: A Roundtable
Strategizing on Fandom as a Target of/Resource for Activism,”
including but not limited to the following topics and questions:
relationship between disability rights activism and fandom
of cons and fan-related spaces
engage fandom communities further in the disability rights movement
been opportunities for change in how fandom communities approach
disability? If so, how?
the discourses that are produced when “reboots” happen with
we all participate most fully at events during which disability is
or is not prevalent, especially when the events involve and in some
cases privilege popular culture?
How and in
what ways might cosplay choices be perceived and harnessed as forms
of activism, from a disability cultural standpoint?
we take advantage of “teachable moments” in the context of
addressing the intersections of disability, fandom, and popular
transformative potential of art, and considering ways for “creating
representations on our own terms”
of the ways in which gatekeepers to traditional media and large
independent media may prohibit access to disenfranchised
populations, including people with disabilities
many ways to be Deaf, Blind, Autistic, etc., and diverse experiences
need to be articulated and addressed by creators of comics, etc.
What are some strategies that can be used to politicize the comics
Guidelines and Instructions
and formats may include, among others:
Please note that other
forms of proposals are fully welcomed, and the above list is not
exhaustive. If you have something particular in mind, please explain
the details and parameters of what you imagine, via your proposal
submission(s). You are also welcomed and encouraged to submit
more than one proposal.
If your submission is a
performance/video/film/art entry, you are responsible for securing
permissions and rights for public viewing. Videos and films should
be open captioned and descriptions of any artwork will be required.
Audio descriptions of videos and films may also be required,
depending upon the nature and style of the videos/films being
SUBMISSION DEADLINE: January 13, 2014
information (including email and phone/video phone)
is more than one presenter, please indicate the main contact and
lead presenter (if these are two different individuals, please
indicate this information)
presentation/activity/etc. (15 words or less)
description (50 words or less)
description (1000 words or less)
How to submit
your proposal(s) -- please choose one
of the following options:
Submissions can be sent as an attachment (Word, Word Perfect, Text,
Rich Text Format or PDF) or with text pasted/embedded in the body of
your message. Please put CRIPCON SUBMISSION in the subject line.
315-443-4338. Please indicate CRIPCON SUBMISSION on Fax cover
“Cripping” the Comic Con 2014
c/o SU Disability Cultural
805 S Crouse Ave, 105 Hoople Bldg.
Information and content
produced as a result of this symposium will be published, with
participant and presenter consent, via Beneath the SURFACE
(BtS), an open source digital repository on disability and
popular culture. BtS is available to the academic
community as well as to the general public, and includes an array of
resources regarding disability and popular culture.
Each day of the
symposium, there will be a designated time slot during which poster
sessions will be offered concurrently with “open space.”
Open space will be an
opportunity for participants to create spontaneous and/or planned
topical interactions with other participants—in other words, open
space will be a venue for you to create your own symposium
“sessions,” during specific times and in specific locations.
There will also be tables, art stations, and other opportunities for
networking, gaming, etc. that will follow the thematic tracks of the
symposium. The particular tracks will be identified once all
submissions have been reviewed by the proposal review committee.
participants (whether presenting or not) will receive information on:
dietary preferences (some but not all meals will be included with
will be responsible for the cost of their own lodging and travel.
To keep informed,
please visit us online!
Comic Con on Twitter: @cripcon
Bérubé, M. (1997, May 30). The cultural representation of
people with disabilities affects us all. The Chronicle of
Higher Education, B4-B5.
Nayar, P. K. (2011). Haunted knights in spandex: Self and othering in
the superhero mythos. Mediterranean Journal of Humanities, 1/2,
Labels: academic, cfps, conferences, Cripping the Comic Con, disability, Syracuse