Axel Bruns on Tue, 2 Mar 2010 02:55:40 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime-ann> CFP: M/C Journal 'deaf' Issue


                          M/C - Media and Culture
            is calling for contributors to the 'deaf' issue of

                                M/C Journal

M/C Journal is looking for new contributors. Founded in 1998, M/C is a crossover journal between the popular and the academic, and a blind- and peer-reviewed journal. 

To see what M/C Journal is all about, check out our Website, which contains all the issues released so far, at <>. To find out how and in what format to contribute your work, visit <>. 

                          Call for Papers: 'deaf'
                 Edited by Liz Ferrier and Donna McDonald

    "Which would you rather be, deaf or blind?" is a common playground game among children as they make their early forays into imagining the lives of people different from them. How do we learn what we know about deafness? Hearing people cannot know what it is like to be deaf, just as deaf people cannot know what it is like to hear ... or can they? How can we tell fresh and authentic stories of deafness that disrupt our familiar patterns of perception? (Fisher Fishkin)

Once upon a time, the word 'deaf' was enough to describe the varying experiences of people who hear substantially less than what is considered to be normal. However today, we are confronted with a plethora of definitions, playing around with upper and lower case, sensitivities of deaf politics, and delicacies of nuance, e.g.: Deaf/deaf. Hard of hearing. Hearing impaired - all labels that attempt to define, corral, and ghettoise 'deaf' into smaller and narrower prescriptions. If you describe yourself as an Australian, you are not immediately challenged to drill down into the genetics and heritage of your disclosed identity. However, if you are deaf, you are called upon to quote statistics from your audiology tests, to describe decibels, to illustrate whether you are a signer or a speaker, to demonstrate your loyalty to the Deaf community or to the hearing world. The complexities and intrusions are immense.

Deaf characters in fiction tend to be used as generic symbols for something else rather than as fully realised expressions of their individual selves. They are rarely allowed to take their place in the story without having to perform a symbolic task such as alienation, in addition to their narrative role. "Deaf history may be characterized as a struggle for Deaf individuals to 'speak' for themselves rather than to be spoken about in medical and educational discourses." (Dirksen & Bauman). "Also, there isn't a large body of literature about the deaf by the deaf." (Henry Kisor) Couser writes that "this should not be surprising, for a number of factors militate against deaf autobiography ... making them unlikely and rare entities." And what about deafness apropos God and spirituality? After all, St John's Gospel exhorts people to "hear the word of God". Does this mean that deaf people are deaf to God?

Some contemporary examples of representations of deafness and deaf people's lives include:

    * Films of the deaf experience - The Miracle Worker (1962), Children of a Lesser God (1986), Mr Holland's Opus (1994)
    * Memoirs of deafness that also conjure up memories of listening, e.g. Listening by Hannah Merker
    * Fiction - Vikram Seth's An Equal Music; TC Boyle's Talk Talk, Frances Itani's Deafening, David Lodge's Deaf Sentence
    * Documentaries - Sound and Fury (2000)
    * TV shows (showing representations of cochlear implants) - CSI (Miami and New York), Cold Case, Bones, Law and Order, ER

How can we create stories capable of crossing "the hearing line, that invisible boundary separating deaf and hearing people" (Christopher Krentz. Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth Century American Literature)?

These are not abstract issues, limited to the confines of the curious and the kind. How we explore and test such questions in the 21st century has direct, significant implications for the quality of deaf people's education, employment, income, and health.

Contact the editors at, and submit articles of 3,000 words in length through our Website at

Article deadline:     30 April 2010
Issue release date:   30 June 2010

M/C Journal was founded (as "M/C - A Journal of Media and Culture") in 1998 as a place of public intellectualism analysing and critiquing the meeting of media and culture. Contributors are directed to past issues of M/C Journal for examples of style and content, and to the submissions page for comprehensive article submission guidelines. M/C Journal articles are blind peer-reviewed.

Further M/C Journal issues scheduled for 2010 and 2011:

'deaf':      article deadline 30 Apr. 2010,   release date 30 June 2010
'waste':     article deadline 25 June 2010,   release date 25 Aug. 2010
'pig':       article deadline 20 Aug. 2010,   release date 20 Oct. 2010
'coalition': article deadline 15 Oct. 2010,   release date 15 Dec. 2010
'doubt':     article deadline 21 Jan. 2011,   release date 23 Mar. 2011
'diaspora':  article deadline  4 Mar. 2011,   release date  4 May  2011
M/C - Media and Culture is located at <>.
M/C Journal is online at <>.
All past issues of M/C Journal on various topics are available there.


                                                     Dr Axel Bruns

 General Editor                    
 M/C - Media and Culture      
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