CFP: Special Issue of JLCDS, ‘Representations of Dwarfism’

Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies 

Special issue: Representations of Dwarfism.

Guest editors: Erin Pritchard (Disability and Education, Liverpool Hope University) and Robert Kruse (Geography, West Liberty University).

Several themes are evident within the growing literature on cultural representations of disability. This includes the relationship between disability and humour by Tom Coogan and Rebecca Mallett; the social effects of displaying bodies perceived as extraordinary, as evident in the work of Rosemary Garland-Thompson; and the work of Paul Darke, which explores the representation of disabled people in film. This special issue aims to bring together articles that focus on the literary and cultural representations of dwarfism, both past and present.

The dominant discourse of dwarfism is often centred on entertainment. Dwarfs are popular characters within literature, including fantasy, children’s fairy tales, and science fiction novels. There is a strong connection between dwarfism and the mythical that blurs the boundary between fiction and disability. Limited adult literary work has focused on dwarfism and the subject of genetics, such as in Mendel’s’ dwarf. Dwarfs are also prominent in films and lowbrow entertainment venues. Hence, while there is continuing fascination with dwarfism (Shakespeare et al. 2010), there remain questions worthy of more research. How are dwarfs represented in various types of media? How do these representations shape society’s perception of dwarfs? This special issue seeks to develop these and other areas of inquiry and contribute significantly to the multi-disciplinary literature on literary and cultural representations.

We welcome proposals from disability scholars, but also from scholars in other disciplines whose perspectives can help to provide a broad and detailed understanding of the cultural representations of dwarfism. Contributions might consider, but need not be limited to:

  • Representations of people with dwarfism in children’s literature.
  • Cinematic representations of people with dwarfism.
  • Representations of people with dwarfism in television advertising.
  • Charitable representations of dwarfism.
  • Representations of dwarfism in religious texts.
  • Documentaries of people with dwarfism.
  • Representations of dwarfism in sci-fi and fantasy.
  • Theatrical representations of dwarfs.
  • Representations of dwarfs in adult literature.
  • From the Freak show to reality shows: the exhibition of dwarfism.
  • Representations of dwarfs in adult animation.
  • Disability humour and dwarfism.
  • The implications of lowbrow entertainment on people with dwarfism.

Please email a 1-page proposal and curriculum vitae to and by 1st December 2017. Contributors can expect to be selected and notified by 1st March 2018 (Full drafts of the selected articles will be due on 1st October 2018). Please direct any questions to either guest editor.



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