Disability Studies 

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Accepts undergraduate submissions
Call for papers: 

Popular Culture Association (PCA) National Conference

June 2-5, 2021


Disability Studies

We invite presentations on all aspects of disability: in lived experiences, public discourse, popular media, rhetorics of health and wellness, educational institutions, and built environments. Although we identify “intersectionality” as a subtopic below, we encourage all presenters to consider their work in intersectional ways. We also encourage papers that deal with Disability Studies topics, theories, and themes, but do not adhere to the topics proposed below.


Possible subtopics/panels:

Intersectional Disability Studies:

What will it take, and what would it mean, for Disability Studies to become truly intersectional? How should we theorize the different areas of Disability Studies (e.g., Autism, Deaf Studies, mental illness, physical disability, etc?), and how should we incorporate other aspects of identity (e.g., gender, race, sexual orientation/identity) into Disability Studies? What would intersectional approaches bring to the field of disability, what challenges might they present, and how could this work make the field more impactful?


What does the present state of our knowledge about and social attitudes toward neuroatypicality mean for people with autism and for society as a whole? What does an intersectional lens add to debates about neurotypicality? How can popular representations of autism open doors or perpetuate negative stereotypes?

Disability in Literature, Film, and Television:

How is disability still deployed as a stereotypical trope, and how have representations of disability begun or attempted to reshape genres (e.g., comedic sit-coms, romcoms, “inspiration porn,” horror, etc.)? What popular texts are doing critical work with disability representations, and what patterns of representation remain present and problematic? How do mainstream, popular texts (from “Game of Thrones” to “Aytpical”) challenge or maintain current attitudes and beliefs about disability?

Political agency, protection, and safety in the post-ADA:

Recent legislative challenges suggest that the ADA may not be entirely secure as a bedrock principle of equal access for people with disabilities. More recently, difficult decisions about health, safety, economics, and education amidst the Covid-19 pandemic have illuminated persistent inequities and particular challenges for those who require particular kinds of social infrastructure. What can we learn from the pandemic about how we value and support disabled lives?

Submission Information

Please submit your 200-300 word abstract/proposal through the PCA database, https://pcaaca.org/, to the Disability Studies area. PCA requires proposals to be submitted to only one subject area at a time. Please include your name, email address, and (if applicable) your academic affiliation on the site so that we may contact you. Individuals must be current, paid members to submit to the conference.


This area accepts undergraduate proposals.


Inquires? For further information about the Disability Studies area at the PCA/ACA national conference, please contact either of the co-chairs for the area:

Claude Desmarais

Department of Languages and World Literatures

University of British Columbia-Okanagan



Shannon Wooden

Department of English

Missouri State University



2021 Conference Dates and Deadlines

13-Aug-20 Submission Page Goes Live
28-Feb-28 Deadline for Proposals
10-Apr-21 Presenter Registration Ends at 11:59 pm: Non-registrants Dropped from Program
11-Apr-21 Non-presenter Registration Continues Through the Conference
15-Apr-21 Preliminary Schedule Available

June 2-5, 2021 

Virtual Conference


All presenters must be current, paid members of the PCA and registered for the conference. Non-presenters who attend the full conference must also pay membership fees.  

The last day for all refunds is February 15, 2021. No refund requests will be honored after this date. Membership fees are non-refundable and non-transferable.












Area chairs

Shannon R Wooden

Claude Desmarais