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Call for Proposals—Due November 30, 2020

SDS@OSU Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion, and Disability
April 17-20, 2021
Virtual Conference


 Abstracts were due November 30, 2020.

The Society for Disability Studies (SDS) is pleased to co-conference for the 4th time with The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Multiple Perspectives on Access, Inclusion, and Disability conference in April 2021. SDS plans to schedule conference events April 17-20, 2021.

Generously funded by The Ohio State University and the Ethel Louise Armstrong Endowment, the OSU Multiple Perspectives Conference is extending its support to include SDS. Now in its 21st year, the OSU conference, running April 19-20, 2021, expands perspectives on disability and enhances community resources for a broad and diverse audience.

The SDS@OSU activities, which begin April 17, 2021, are open to all to attend but will be arranged, proposed, peer-reviewed, and presented only by SDS Members. For information about becoming an SDS member or renewing for 2021 (no one is turned away for an inability to pay), please visit our membership page.

We welcome proposals in all areas of disability studies, but especially those submissions premised on the SDS@OSU theme. We strongly encourage folks to collaborate as a form of community care during these times, and to submit works in progress. We typically accept one presentation per person or as lead author, but additional submissions may be considered if there is space on the program.

The Society for Disability Studies SDS@OSU Conference
(Re)Centering Activism, Healing, Radical Love, Emotional Connection and Breathing Spaces in Intersectional Communities

During these turbulent times of racial injustice and disappointing leadership(s), amplified by the current pandemic and climate crisis, the world is (has been, and continues to be) hurting, while some have been thriving at the expense of ‘others’. Right now, we need to take a step back and listen and learn from those who are members of some of the most vulnerable communities, in particular historically multiply marginalized communities. Pain, trauma, and vulnerability manifest in a myriad of ways. Rather than sweeping these issues under the rug, we want to invite folks to breathe for a moment and take space/time to (re)connect with their surroundings and with each other, while becoming attuned to the aches, tightness, and tweaks that our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies convey.

This is a moment for a deep sigh,
a moment of ‘I am present,’
a moment of becoming aware of how much wear and tear our mind, body, and spirit have embodied, toiled over,
especially in the past several months of ‘what just happened?!’

We all have a collection of spoons of different sizes within reach. We all have experienced trauma and pain. We all co-exist in structures of systemic intersectional oppression. We are weary in bodymind and spirits. Acknowledging this is way overdue: we need to embolden community spaces where the voices and lived experiences of those who are most vulnerable are amplified—disabled immigrants, transpeople, BIPOC, queer communities, gender non-conforming identities and expression, non-binary sexual identities and expression, and disabled folks who are houseless, incarcerated or practice a maligned religion. It is imperative to center the voices and lived experiences of ostracized groups by hearing/reading/watching them roar. RIGHT NOW, this is not about another academic piece, another line on the resume, another polarizing conversation (you are right and I’m wrong), but rather about the recognition of life and death, access, dignity, justice, and humanity, with passion and humor.
How can we actively engage with one another in a way that acknowledges our different levels of privilege, power, oppression, energy, resilience, and access to resources and opportunities? When does one speak out, and when does one listen, avoiding performative allyship? How can we build networks of care and community resources in a toxic capitalistic climate and a world of pollution, global warming, and wildfires, which gradually contaminates, weaponizes, and transforms everything into commodities based on a vicious cycle of supply and demand? Collectively, let’s cease allowing this atmosphere to silo us, creating a deep cold spell of isolation. These issues impact us all. There is nothing wrong with us! That’s just what we are led to think and feel. Let’s take a long deep inhale and then exhale out the cold spell lodged within by coming together and sharing what spoons we can spare—living and breathing compassion. Let’s consider not only our struggles, but also the possibilities already blossoming in the present, and cocoon each other with love, compassion, and fresh air.


We welcome proposals in all areas of disability studies, but especially those submissions premised on the SDS@OSU theme. Preference will be given to proposals that encourage discussions across the social, emotional, spiritual, cultural, spatial, and disciplinary boundaries; connect individuals to local, national, international, or transnational communities in order to build collaborative insurgent networks across the world; consider parallels, distinctions, and intersections with disability, race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexuality, immigration status, language, religion, nationality, and age. Priorities will be given to 1) pieces written by disabled folks who embody historically multiply marginalized identities, and 2) pieces that center around community partnership and activism.


The Society for Disability Studies Conference Strand, in addition to special events, will primarily be a series of 90-minute sessions with a minimum of three people presenting in any format: Individually or group submitted panels of 3-4 discrete papers, discussions with 3 to 6 panelists to start discussion, interactive workshops, full draft papers to read ahead of time and then workshop, performances, art events/films/etc., and new books or other work to display. If you want an alternative format or have fewer than 3 people, please fully describe your idea. Communication with the SDS Program Committee is important if you have an unusual format.

Please read instructions carefully.
Formats have changed from prior years.

SDS@OSU 2021 Submission Instructions
SDS proposals deadline is November 30, 2020

To Submit:

The Submission Portal is  Here:

Abstract SUBMISSION portal SDS@OSU - due 11/30/2020 for the 4/17-20/2021 conference



We will then notify you of the status of your proposal as soon as possible in January 2021.

Contact Information:

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Holly Pearson [holly at] and Joanne Woiak [joanne at].

Access Copies and Accessible Materials:

All presentations require advance submission of materials (manuscripts, slides, outlines, etc.) for accessibility for participants and for use by the ASL interpreters and captioners. You will submit your access copies at least a week before the beginning of the conference. All documents, videos, and audio material must be submitted in accessible formats. Additional requirements for advance materials preparation are described below.


All sessions are 90 minutes. You may propose one of many formats. If you do not have enough people to fill the format of your choice, we encourage you to seek participants via the SDS listserv. You may also submit an incomplete session and have SDS attempt to fill it for you. SDS may suggest that you modify your proposal by adding, deleting, moving, or changing some aspect.


This format involves paper presentations, workshop papers, and pre-recorded papers or performance pieces, with one or more authors. Anyone may submit an Individual Presentation and the Program Committee will place it in a relevant session by topic, method, format, or another organizing principle. The Corresponding Author needs to submit a 250-word ABSTRACT, and a 50-word BIO of each author. We would like you to prepare a presentation of no more than 10 minutes and then allow for discussion time. Below are three suggested options for how to prepare and present your work and ideas. Materials used, if any, should always be provided as access copies as described above, and all submitted materials (documents, videos, audio recordings, etc.) must be accessible.

Paper Presentation:

Following the traditional conference presentation model, in this format you will have a maximum of 10 minutes to present, followed by discussion. Presenters will be able to screenshare slides or other materials.

Workshop Paper:

If you have a full paper draft that you would like to get feedback on, the paper workshops provide an opportunity for this kind of interaction. You must submit your manuscript to SDS by 3 weeks before the meetings for people to read. Papers should be submitted in English, no more than 50 double-spaced pages including references and appendices, and in accessible formats. You can also include questions you would like to ask your readers in discussion. During the synchronous session you’ll briefly speak about your work with the bulk of the time open for discussion.

Pre-recorded Presentation:

This option allows you to pre-record a maximum 10-minute paper presentation/slide show/song/poetry reading/dance/artwork. The recording must be prepared in accessible formats. The recording must be submitted at least three weeks in advance for the participants to listen/read/watch. The session time will be dedicated to discussion.


The panel consists of of 3 or 4 Individual Presentations, and the organizer must designate a Moderator and possibly a Discussant. The set of Individual Presentations can be any of the 3 formats listed above and follows all of the same guidelines as above except they are submitted as a group by an Organizer. The Organizer is required to submit the following: A 500-word Panel Abstract, 250-word Paper Abstract for each individual presentation, and 50-word BIOs of each participant.


This is 3 or more speakers allocated 5-10 minutes each, followed by discussion. The Corresponding Author/Organizer submits a 750-1,000-word Panel Abstract, briefly describes the “Role/Expertise” of each participant and provides 50-word BIOs for all participants. The Abstract should also describe how the time will be used. A designated Moderator is required.


These may be grouped together or spread out during the conference. The lead Exhibitor submits a 250 to 500-word Abstract, 50-word BIOs for all participants, and any other materials such as images or video or audio files. These will have a designated time with attendees coming to you to see what you are sharing on your screen, watch short presentations, and engage in a discussion.


These must be between 15 and 90 minutes in length. Shorter presentations are encouraged. The Organizer Submits a 500-1,000-word Abstract, 50-word BIOs, and any other materials such as images or audio files. The Abstract should describe in detail how the time will be used. For Activity Workshop Abstracts, it must describe how attendees will actively participate, what preparation is advised, and the Workshop format in detail.


This usually occurs during a reception “Hallway” event and/or with the Posters. Lead Author submits a 250-word Abstract and 50-word BIOs. Preparation is the same as for Posters above.


If you want an alternative format please fully describe your idea and needs in an appropriate length Abstract with BIOs.

Society for Disability Studies
PO Box 5570
Eureka, CA 95502
Devva Kasnitz, Executive Director