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Conference | Annual Cities, Migration, and Global Interdependence Seminar

Seminar on Disability History

Monday 30 October 2023
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden

The theme of this years seminar is “disability,” and we encourage fellow historians to present their on-going research through this lens. Disability history is a booming field that not only aims to (re)write the history of disabled people, but also adds (dis)ability as an analytical concept to the historian’s toolbox in addition to concepts such as gender, class, race, age and religion. Disability is not simply a bodily or mental condition, but is also a social construction. That is why historians can use the concept to shed light on how power and privilege operate(d) in a given (legal, political, socio-economic) context.

As historians, how do we see (dis)ability being deployed in our scholarly circles? How might we use the concept in our own research? We will discuss these questions in an informal setting with colleagues. We start the day with a keynote lecture by professor Lotta Vikstöm (Umeå University), followed by colleagues who present their work through the lens of (dis)ability (see preliminary program below).

If you want to join us, please register by sending an email to Sander Rooijakkers (s.m.j.rooijakkers@hum.leidenuniv.nl) by Friday, October 20. If you are interested to give a presentation, please contact Paul van Trigt (p.w.van.trigt@hum.leidenuniv.nl). A full paper will not be necessary. This is an opportunity to get feedback on any research, including work in progress. All colleagues are encouraged to bend their research to fit this flexible theme.

Preliminary programme

11:00 - Welcome & Keynote by Lotta Vikström: 'Long-term results on disability in human life and populations: Partnership, work, institutionalization and survival in Sweden during the 1800s and 1900s'
12:30 - Lunch
13.30 - Round of presentations, including:

  • Krista Milne, ‘Guide Dogs in Medieval Art and Writing’
  • Tessa de Boer & Jessica den Oudsten, ‘Seasick! Workplace accidents and disability at sea in the eighteenth century’
  • Gijs Dreijer, ‘“Red rubber” scandals in the Congo Free State and the history of (dis)ability: the case of the Compagnie du Kasaï (1899-1908)’
  • Evelien Walhout, ‘The treatment of single birth mothers with disabilities within the context of domestic relinquishment and adoption practices in the Netherlands, 1956-1984’

17:00 - Drinks

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