Call for Proposals

Northern Relations 

18th Annual Conference of the Canadian Disability Studies Association/Association canadienne d’études sur le handicap (CDSA-ACÈH)

  • Date: May 31 – June 2, 2021 
  • Hosted by: University of Alberta 
  • Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences Deadline for Proposals due: Extended to February 15, 2021!
  • Results will be announced by the end of February
  • Location: Our conference will be held virtually this year.

CDSA-ACÉH invites presentations, panels, workshops, posters, performances, and artistic contributions for our 2021 conference. We are pleased to welcome submissions related to the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences theme “Northern Relations” and the 2020 theme, “Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism.” While the 2020 CDSA congress was cancelled, this theme will be carried over to give space to examine the ways in which the pandemic has exposed and intensified structural inequalities that dehumanize Indigenous peoples and persons of colour in Canada, delegitimize their knowledges, and uphold violent dislocations and erasures from histories and land. In addition to the 2020-20201 Congress themes, we also welcome broad ranging submissions grounded in Disability Studies, Deaf Studies, and/or Mad Studies perspectives.

Thematic Streams

1. Northern Relations I: Bodies, Territories, and Communities 

This thematic stream invites proposals that explore matters of relation (to ourselves, to each other, to animals, to nature, to nonliving things, and to the land). How can we understand relations and connections? How might we approach the ways in which disability is complexly produced in the ways we communicate, organize knowledge, and situate ourselves in the world? Possible topics for exploration include, but are not limited to:

  • Unstable and disputed boundaries (of bodies of various sorts)  
  • Governance and sovereignty 
  • Decolonizing disability (e.g. decolonizing epistemologies)
  • Relating otherwise (e.g. relations of care) 
  • Situated knowledges of disability 
  • Indigenous perspectives of differences and disability
  • Representations of disabled bodies in Northern arts, stories, literature, and popular cultures 
  • Safety and access of Indigenous, disabled, racialized bodies
  • Climate change/climate crisis
  • The role of land/environment/geography in disabled subjectivities 
  • Disability and environmental racism 
  • Corporeal and material vulnerabilities, intergenerational trauma and body burdens
  • Disability, dislocation, and land dispossession 
  • Land-based pedagogies of resistance

2. Northern Relations II: Disability in the Global North and Global South 

This thematic stream invites proposals that explore the production and experience of disability in the Global South and the tangled relationships between the Global North and Global South. “While most of the world’s disabled people are said to reside in the global South (courtesy of very dubious WHO numbers too), disability studies remains as global North centric as it is global North focused” (Grech and Soldatic 2014). Possible topics for exploration include, but are not limited to:

  • Intersections of oppression and social justice
  • Coalitional politics 
  • Transnational capitalism and disability 
  • Migration and disability 
  • Immigration and ableism 
  • Landscape of disability theory in Global North and Global South
  • South-North dialogues and knowledge transfer
  • Disability activism and collaborations

3. Bridging Divides: Confronting Racism and White Supremacy

This thematic stream invites proposals exploring how disability, illness, Deafhood, and madness are produced, positioned and lived in Canada’s ongoing racist history. Possible topics for exploration include, but are not limited to:

  • Relationships between (constructions of) disability and race 
  • Disability justice and racial justice
  • Legacies of racism in institutionalization 
  • Disability, race, and state violence 
  • Disability, racialization, and incarceration
  • Racism and/or racialization in the DSM/mental healthcare 
  • Health disparities among Indigenous populations
  • Racial inequality in access to health care services
  • Lack of voice/perspectives of people of color in Health Sciences research
  • Confronting racism and/or white supremacy within Disability Studies and/or within disabled people’s everyday lives
  • Disability, labour, poverty 
  • Disability cultures in racialized or ethnic communities
  • Leadership of disabled BIPOC
  • Black Disabled Lives Matter Movement

4. Open Call for Submissions

These proposals adopt Disability Studies, Deaf Studies, and/or Mad Studies perspectives and/or are situated in these fields even though they do not relate directly to the overarching conference theme.

Submission Guidelines

As part of our commitment to simplify the application process to CDSA-ACEH’s annual conference, abstracts will be submitted through an online form, which can be found here.

If you are resubmitting a proposal that was accepted last year, please email with your name and title of proposal, using the subject line “CDSA-ACÉH 2021 RESUBMISSION.”

If you are submitting a new proposal please complete the form by clicking “Submit Proposal” below.

If you encounter issues with the online application system, you may alternatively email two Word document attachments without personal identifiers to by February 15, 2021: “CDSA-ACÉH 2021 Proposal” in the subject line.

Proposal and presentation requirements:

  1. Each author should have no more than one first-authored submission.
  2. All papers will be virtually offered as synchronous presentations, unless an asynchronous presentation, panel, performance, or exhibition is requested by the submitting author. Details about the conference presentation platform will be announced after adjudication.
  3. An anonymized document that includes the following information: your title, abstract, and 4-5 keywords (or collection of panel titles, abstracts, and keywords).
  4. A submission (template) must include the following information:
    • Presentation Title (for panels, list panel and presentation titles);
    • Proposed Format (Presentation, Panel, Workshop, Performance, Visual Art);
    • Thematic Stream (Northern Relations I, Northern Relations II, Bridging Divides, Open Call);
    • Author name(s):
    • Affiliation(s)/Organization(s):
    • Current Status: Student (undergraduate, graduate, post-doctoral fellow), Instructor/Professor (instructor, sessional, professor), Independent scholar/artist, or Community Member;
    • Email(s):
    • Biographical Note(s) (100-150 words per author):
    • Language of Presentation (ENG, FRE, ASL, LSQ):
    • Audiovisual Needs (Powerpoint, etc).

Your submission will be adjudicated based on the following criteria:

  • the clarity of the stated purpose and outline of the proposal
  • the explicit engagement with theory, perspectives, or concepts from Disability Studies, Mad Studies, and/or Deaf Studies
  • familiarity with relevant literature
  • contribution to research, theory, activism, advocacy, or social change.

Proposal Format

Authors can submit multiple proposals, but can only be listed as first author on one presentation in the conference program.

1. Panels

We especially encourage the submission of panels. People (3-4 persons) submitting a panel must submit proposals around a central topic, theme, or approach. The proposal must include the following, all in a single document:

  • a panel title and 100-word abstract that illustrates the coherence between each of the panel presentations.
  • for each presentation—title for 250 -word abstract, and 4-5 keywords (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria).
  • panels will be 60 minutes in duration.

2. Presentations

Presentations must include a title, 250-word abstract, and 4-5 keywords. The abstract must include the following:

  • stated purpose
  • relevant literature 
  • explicit use of Disability Studies theory, perspective, or concepts
  • contributions to research, theory, activism, advocacy, or social change.
  • presentations will be 15-20 minutes in length.

3. Workshops

Interactive sessions must be organized around a central theme. The proposal must include the following:

  • a workshop title, 250-word abstract, and 4-5 keywords (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria).
  • workshops will last 60 or 90 minutes. (Please indicate your preference.)

4. Performances

This may include virtual poetry reading, dance, or an installation (artwork, poetry, zine, etc.). The proposal must include the following:

  • a performance title, 250-word abstract, and 4-5 keywords (see Presentation guidelines for abstract criteria).
  • maximum of 90 minutes. Please indicate your preference for the amount of time you will need.
  • A performance title, 250 word abstract, and 4-5 keywords.