Sun, May. 1st, 2016 09:19 pm
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I’m hoping that if I walk through some of the more common misconceptions, I can move the needle a little–or at least save myself some time in the future, because I’ll be able to give people a link instead of explaining all this again.
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The science fiction community tends to take this diluted version of the medical model to extremes. Because we’re used to speculating about abilities that humans could have if certain fictitious conditions were met, some of us consider all human bodies fundamentally broken. It’s easy for us to fall into the trap of thinking that, for example, since being able to fly unaided would be really cool and convenient, we must all be disabled because we can’t fly.
Here’s the thing, though. Because we can’t fly, we have built a world that is accessible to people who cannot fly. We build roads and sidewalks to facilitate ground travel and elevators to provide access to tall buildings.
She asked for access, but look how she asked. (Too quietly, too loudly, too soon, too late, she was rude, too wishy-washy, too oblique, too pushy, she asked the wrong people, she did not write an essay about it, she wrote essays in all the wrong places, we did not see the links, she sent emails to the wrong people, we lost the emails, conrunners work very hard).
However, disability and accessibility have not been explored in either academic or fan scholarship as crucial aspects of fanfiction practices, and disabled fans and fanfiction writers have not been included as significant contributors to online fanfiction communities.
Yet, disability and fanfiction are in a complicated relationship with one another. Fanfiction loves its disabled characters ( Stiles from Teen Wolf, Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon, Homestuck, House, River Tam from Firefly), and loves to disable its characters (Harry Potter is iconic in this respect), to get all the feels, to explore all the possibilities, and because you hurt those you love, a lot, especially in fanfic.
Many fans and fan creators have identified online as disabled and/or people with disabilities/impairments. Fans are sharing their experiences and having discussions about disability representation in fandoms and fanfiction, about ableism and accessibility. How disability manifests in online fanfiction works and communities remains to be brought into play in critical disability studies and in fan studies.
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We welcome single and multiple authored pieces. Formats can be written, video (must be captioned), audio (must include transcript).
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Submissions are due 15 April 2016 and can be emailed to
Cath Duchastel de M. at: firstname.lastname@example.org