Vol. 14, No.1, SPRING 2024         


The journal is now inviting articles                                

  • Submission date-30 April 2024



Vol. 14, No.2, Autumn 2024

  • Submission date-30 June 2024
  • Note-Please ensure that the subject line specifies the thematic issue for your submission.
  • THEME -Deconstructing Disability: Shifting Paradigms in Literature, Culture and History
  • Guest Editors: Dr. Brati Biswas and Dr. Sumadhura Roy


The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), 2006, brought about a paradigmatic shift in the way persons with disabilities are perceived at the global level. While earlier the medical and charity models of disability were widely prevalent, the convention foregrounded their status as “subjects”, and as equal and active members of society, who have equal rights, and an autonomous, independent identity. India upheld the provisions and rights granted under UNCRPD in 2016 with the introduction of the The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act. The main objective of the Act was to ensure that people with disability lead dignified lives, without any discrimination. However, to remedy a history of oppression, misrepresentation, erasure and denial requires measures beyond the legal framework, encompassing conceptual shifts within the literary, cultural and social consciousness. This is where interventions made by the field of Disability Studies become critical.

Simi Linton writes, “Disability Studies takes for its subject matter not simply the variations that exist in human behaviour, appearance, functioning, sensory acuity, and cognitive processing but, more crucially, the meaning we make of those variations. The field explores the critical divisions our society makes in creating the normal versus the pathological, the insider versus the outsider, or the competent citizen versus the ward of the state. … Disability Studies has emerged as a logical base for examination of the construction and function of disability” (185-186). Renu Addlakha agrees with Linton’s definition of Disability Studies and sheds light on the need to establish this interdisciplinary academic terrain in India where the first hand experiences, history and culture of persons with disabilities would become visible (2-8).

While the charity model viewed persons with disabilities as objects of pity, and disability as a signifier of sin, and the medical model perceived them as pathological, diseased bodies in need of cure, the social model departs from this trajectory of essentialist and biologically deterministic paradigms. It makes a crucial distinction between impairment and disability, recasts disability as a social problem rather than a biological one, and shifts the understanding of disability as an individual problem. With this we discover a new perspective of understanding disability as a hegemonic, ideological construction of ableism. Seen from this lens, disability is comparable to other experiences of marginalisation and oppression like gender, race and caste.

Historically dominant knowledge systems have either exclude and erased experiences of disability, or produced stereotypical, stigmatised, deterministic accounts of people with disability, a majority of which resulted in their objectification in dominant and popular narratives. In the contemporary time, however, the field of Disability Studies has emerged as a counter hegemonic space of assertion. G.J.V. Prasad and Someshwar Sati draw our attention to the rise of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies that shed light on “the relationship between the aesthetic, political and ethical aspects of disability representation” (13). From indicating problems, erasures and gap within cultural and literary productions, there has been a shift in reading practices where literature and culture is reevaluated and interpreted from the lens of disability studies. Additionally, new literary and cultural productions have followed, which reflect a new sensibility and disability consciousness missing from earlier works. With these developments, the problem of marginalisation of disability studies within the humanities and liberal arts has also been addressed. Disability Studies is a nascent field of study in India; courses on disability have been incorporated into the higher education curriculum in the past decade. And, there is a thrust towards developing inclusive pedagogy, research paradigms and methodologies.

This special issue aims to open up a space for critically engaging with the field of Disability Studies and the notion of disability. We invite research papers which will work towards recasting dominant and popular perceptions of disability as pathology and inferiority, and generate new counter hegemonic discourses of disability that will push us to rethink and reevaluate conventional ideas of normalcy and deviance.

Submissions may be based on topics covering but not limited to the following:

  • Literary representation of disability
  • Disability Literature in Translation
  • Cultural understandings and representations of disability
  • Cinematic depictions of persons with disability
  • Language and Disability
  • Disability, Gender and Sexuality
  • Disability as an intersectional identity
  • Disability in the Indian context
  • Disability and inclusive pedagogy
  • Disability and inclusive methodologies
  • Epistemologies of disability
  • Theory and Disability Studies
  • Interdisciplinary and Disability
  • Disability and Digital Humanties



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