J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Dublin Seminar to Look at “Living with Disabilities”

The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife has announced the subject of this year’s conference: “Living with Disabilities in New England, 1630–1930.”

The conference will be held in Deerfield, Massachusetts, on the weekend of 19-21 June 2020. The Dublin Seminar strives to be a meeting place for scholars, students, and committed avocational researchers. Professional development points are available for public school teachers who participate.

The Dublin Seminar is now accepting proposals for papers and presentations at this conference that address the history of people living with disabilities in New England and adjacent areas of New York and Canada from the seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 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.

The “Living with Disabilities in New England, 1630–1930” conference will consist of approximately seventeen lectures of twenty minutes each. Selected papers will appear as the 2020 Annual Proceedings of the Dublin Seminar to be published about eighteen months after the conference.

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 10 Mar 2020. Send proposals to dublinseminar@historic-deerfield.org.

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