CFP: The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife; “Living with Disabilities in New England, 1600–1900”

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife (founded 1976) is pleased to announce the subject of this year’s conference, “Living with Disabilities in New England, 1600–1900,” to be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, in June 19–21, 2020. The purpose of the Dublin Seminar is to serve as a meeting place where scholars, students, and committed avocational researchers who share an interest in a specific subject can pool their knowledge and exchange ideas and methods.

The Dublin Seminar is now accepting proposals for papers and presentations that address the history of people living with disabilities in New England and adjacent areas of New York and Canada from 1600 to 1900. The principal topic examined by this conference is how children and adults with disabilities experienced disability in everyday life.

Proposals might address the following questions:

  • How was disability defined during this period?
  • How did gender, race, and class intersect with the experience and meaning of disability?
  • What was the relationship between the law and disability?
  • How did people with disabilities interact with institutions ranging from religious organizations to state-sponsored hospitals to schools?
  • What is the history of disability within the context of military or industrial settings?
  • How did people with disabilities interact with material culture and technology, including but not limited to assistive technologies such as artificial limbs and hearing aids; clothing; landscapes and buildings; and service animals?
  • What is the relationship between medical history and disability history?

The Seminar encourages papers that reflect interdisciplinary approaches and original research, especially those based on material culture, archaeological artifacts, letters and diaries, vital records, federal and state censuses, as well as newspapers, visual culture, business records, recollections, autobiographies, and public history practice or advocacy at museums, archives, and elsewhere.

“Living with Disabilities in New England, 1600–1900,” will be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the weekend of June 19–21, 2020, and will consist of approximately seventeen lectures of twentyminutes each. Professional development points will be available for public school teachers. Selected papers will appear as the 2020 Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar to be published about eighteen months after the conference.

The Dublin Seminar will be held in the Deerfield Community Center (DCC), Historic Deerfield’s public lecture facility. The DCC is wheelchair accessible via a ramp and has an accessible restroom. For information or questions regarding accessibility and/or the program or requests concerning other forms of accommodation, call Julie Orvis, Special Events Coordinator, (413) 775-7179 or email

To submit a paper proposal for this conference, please submit (as a single email attachment, in Word or as a pdf) a one-page prospectus that describes the paper and its sources and a one-page vita or biography by March 10, 2020.

Please send proposals to:

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Posted: January 21, 2020
Tagged: Calls for Papers