8th Annual Conference of
ALTER – European Society for Disability Research

koeln germny

Cologne, Germany // 5 & 6 September 2019

Disability is a multidimensional phenomenon: it is understood as a lived experience, a social practice, a cultural trope and an international policy issue. A growing body of scholars investigates disability as a historical, social, political and cultural construction. In the age of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), discourses on disability can be traced throughout a multiplicity of histories, narratives, practices and policies.

The existing landscape of innovative disability research and political interventions consists of a broad spectrum of theoretical concepts, methodological and empirical approaches and ethical foundations, and draws from the political and social sciences, historical research as well as the cultural studies approaches. Studying disability as a multifaceted object of research raises the following questions:

  • How is historical, socio-political and cultural knowledge about embodiment, health, normality, impairment and dis/ability produced and transformed?
  • How are theories and concepts of disability translated into empirical methodology (e.g. participatory and/or emancipatory research), and how can disability research and critical disability studies inform general academia and political practice?
  • How do individual and social identities, self-conceptions and body images intersect with societal structures, social institutions, identity politics, political governance and cultural representations?
  • What are the political, social and cultural consequences of a disability research that relates to general debates on historical legacies, social inequality, post-colonialism, human diversity, fundamental rights, participation, exclusion and inclusion?

This conference aims to contribute to the thriving discourse of international, comparative and transdisciplinary disability research. It offers a platform for debates and conversations between regions, disciplines and theoretical perspectives. It presents an opportunity for exchange between young scholars and senior researchers in disability research and critical disability studies.

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