10th Annual CDSSA Conference

CFP: “Disability and Intersectionality: Practices, Theories, and Frameworks” (CDSSA, York University, Toronto, Canada; 8-9 April, 2015  September 26th 2015)

The Critical Disability Studies Student Association is happy to announce that we will be hosting our 10th annual interdisciplinary graduate student conference on April 8th and 9th 2015 at York University in Toronto. The CDSSA encourages graduate students to submit works or works in progress.

Keynote Speaker:

Our keynote address will be delivered by Dr Nirmala Erevelles (University of Alabama), a leading scholar in the areas of disability and intersectionality.

Conference Theme:

“Disability and Intersectionality: Practices, Theories, and Frameworks” invites you to consider the multiple possibilities and complications of intersectionality. Intersectionality has been hailed as an analytic framethat allows for a more nuanced understanding of how oppression and privileges are distributed (Yuval Davis 2006, p. 201). According to Catherine Mackinnon, “intersectionality both notices and contends with the realities of multiple inequalities as it thinks about “the interaction of” those inequalities in a way that captures the distinctive dynamics at their multidimensionalinterface” (Crenshaw 1989, 140).The CDSSA feels that intersectionality is a concept researchers need to engage with in their work and which facilitates contestation of normative discourses and practices.

Kimberlé Crenshaw intended her use of ‘intersectionality’ in 1989 (Yuval-Davis 2006, p. 193) to examine the ways in which “the most privileged group members marginalizes those who are multiply-burdened and obscures claims that cannot be understood as resulting from discrete sources of discrimination” (1989, p. 140). More recently, Carbado et al. (2013) contend that intersectionality has “moved internationally both as a means to frame dynamics that have been historically distinct.., and also as a way to contest material and political realities that are…part of global and transhistorical relations of power” (p.307).

In its Call For Proposals, the CDSSA adopts a broad understanding of intersectionality. Papers will be considered that either apply intersectionality as a framework or as a concept that can help us to understand how identities (e.g. gender, race, class, ability, sexuality, citizenship status) are shaped, and modified vis à vis forms of systemic privilege and oppressions (Yuval-Davis 2006, p. 198). Papers can also take on a more macro framework to consider how forms of government, and forms of resource distribution are created as a result of dominant ideologies. Yuval-Davis reminds us that the debate over whether intersectionality of social divisions ought to be interpreted as “an additive or as a constitutive process is still central” (2006, p. 195).

Yuval-David states that one of the problems with intersectionality being understood as additive is that it “differentiates between different levels [of analysis]”(p. 197). Some theorists argue that peoples’ social locations cannot be explained at the intersection of one or two forms of social identification, and that on the other hand it is impossible to consider all social locations and identifications simultaneously. For example, Robert Chang and Jerome McCristal Culp, Jr. (2002) wonder about how to determine the number of intersections and they question the feasibility of paying attention to multiple intersections at once,” (p.485; McCall 2005 p. 1772). In response to these critiques Carbado et al, argue that intersection moves are “necessarily particularized and therefore provisional and incomplete” (p. 304)

Possible themes of conference papers may include (but are not limited to);

  • The possibilities and potential shortcomings of applying a framework of intersectionality in critical disability studies;
  • Intersectionality as a way of complicating notions of disability and impairment;
  • Tensions that may arise between intersectionality as a framework and other concepts in critical disability studies;
  • Applications of intersectionality to the history of disability;
  • Intersectionality and mobilizing for social and political change;
  • Intersectionality as a critique of identity politics and past or current disability movements;
  • Genealogies of intersectionality;
  • Intersectional genealogies of disability;
  • The compatibility between intersectionality and other theories of domination, such a Marxist/queer/ feminist/critical race theories;
  • Intersectionality as a critique of neoliberal, capitalist, patriarchal, and other expressions of ableist ideologies;
  • Intersectionality and dominant forms of knowledge;
  • Intersectionality and the body;
  • Intersectionality and epistemology

Interested applicants should submit a short 250-300 word abstract as a word document or PDF by 30 January 2015 to

If you have any questions about the application process please do not hesitate to e-mail us.

Guidelines on how to write an abstract are available on the drop-down menu.


Carbado, D. W., Crenshaw, K.W., Mays, V.M. & Tomlinson, B. (2013).  Intersectionality: Mapping the movements of a theory, Du Bois Review 10 (2),       303-312.doi:10.10170S1742058X130

Chang, R.S. and Culp, J.M. (2002). After intersectionality.University of Missouri-Kansas

    City Law Review, 71 (1), 485–491.

Crenshaw, K. (1989).Demarginalizing the intersection of race and sex: A black feminist

critique of antidiscrimination doctrine, feminist theory, and antiracist politics,

The University of Chicago Legal Forum 140:139-167

Davis, K. (2008). Intersectionality as buzzword: A sociology of science perspective on

what makes a feminist theory successful, Feminist Theory, 9 (1): 67-85. 1464–       7001 DOI: 10.1177/1464700108086364

McCall, L. (2005).The complexity of intersectionality, Signs, 30 (3),1771–1800.

Yuval-Davis, N. (2006).Intersectionality and feminist politics.European Journal of            Women’s Studies, 13 (3), 193-209.DOI: 10.1177/1350506806065752.


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