normalcy conference

6th Annual International Conference
***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***
 (Re)claiming the human: In times of crisis.
Manchester Metropolitan University
25th and 26th July 2016

In their 6th Annual International Conference, the Research Centre for Social Change at Manchester Met is hosting an event in association with the Universities of Sheffield, Sheffield Hallam and the University of Chester to examine the concept of being human, what it means and how labels and categorisations are used to define, defend or resist ‘human’ ways of being.

Call for papers

The conference is open to all, whether student, practitioner, academic or activist; we are interested in hearing your views and inviting debate around all aspects of being human and normalcy.

Abstracts of no more than 200 words (plus 100 word bio) should be submitted for consideration by 28th February 2016 to

Keynote speakers include: Stephanie Davis (The University of Brighton); Kirsty Liddiard (The University of Sheffield); Esther Ignani (Ryerson University) and Jonathan Harvey (The University of Portsmouth).

A full schedule and sessions for the July conference will be updated and available shortly.

Book your place now

“We are pleased to announce that we have 5 free places available to attend Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane. Priority for these places will go to unwaged and low waged disabled people and people of colour* (disabled and non-disabled) in the first instance. Please note that a free delegate place does not include funding for other expenses (e.g. travel and accommodation). If you would like to apply for a free space please send a short paragraph stating why you want to attend Normalcy to

*We are prioritising people of colour alongside disabled people for these free places to acknowledge the Whiteness of Disability Studies, particularly in the UK, and in order to broaden networks and consciously work to include the experiences of people of colour.”

For more information, email Dr Katherine Runswick-Cole

5th Annual International Conference
***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***
More Questions of the Human
University of Sheffield
7th and 8th July 2014

Programme released!!!

My Notes, page 88follow us on ht_twitter_logo_jef_120321_wblog @normalcy2014  

This conference is organised by the University of Sheffield, Manchester Metropolitan University, Sheffield Hallam University, University of Chester, the University of Toronto, the University of Leeds, the University of York in association with the White Rose Studies of Ableism Research collaboration.

The University of Sheffield is delighted to be hosting this conference in July 2014. This year our call for papers encourages engagement with the human and its historically problematic relationship with idealisations of the normal, the able and the non-disabled. The last 4 normalcy conferences have seriously contested and challenged these idealisations. For @normalcy2014 we seek to ‘up the ante’ a little more and debate together what kinds of human/ity should be valued in our context of austerity, economic crisis and neoliberal capitalism. Some questions that might be addressed:

To what extent is ‘the human’ a desirable or problematic category?
In what ways do normative understandings underpin ‘universal’ notions of children’s humanity?
What does it mean to be post-human?
In these times of technological and human enmeshment does it make more sense to talk of the post-human than the outdated category of human?
Do we need to hang on to notions of de-humanisation as powerful political statements?
What do post-human politics resemble?
How do queer, dis/ability, postcolonial analyses evoke different or alternative notions of the human?
How might we (not) want to resist, revise and shape notions of the human?
Is the human worth fighting for?
To what extent is the human an ableist fiction?
To what extent are queers and crips nightmare characters to the narratives of humanity?

Confirmed keynote speakers:

  • Lucy Burke, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Thomas Campbell, University of Leeds
  • Nirmala Erevelles, The University of Alabama
  • Rod Michalko, University of Toronto
  • Tanya Titchkosky, University of Toronto

Places are nearly full. To secure a place in the conference programme, presenters should have booked a place here  In the spirit of an eco-friendly conference, registered delegates will be sent information electronically.  Details of accommodation near the venue will also be sent to delegates.

While the conference is FREE to delegates, we are delighted to announce that the White Rose Studies of Ableism Collaboration have contributed funding to securing the keynote of Professor Erevelles as well as ensuring that a strong critical studies of ableism theme will run throughout the conference. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements so we can make the catering team aware of delegate requirements.

We look forward to welcoming you to Sheffield
Normalcy2014  in association with White Rose Studies of Ableism**


4th Annual International Conference ***Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane***
Tues. 3rd – Wed. 4th September 2013 – Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Programme: 1. Normlacy 2013 Conference Programme

Hosted by Dept. of Education, Childhood and Inclusion + Disability Research Forum, Sheffield Hallam University in association with University of Chester, Manchester Metropolitan University + the University of Sheffield.[1]
Precarious Positions: Encounters with Normalcy

Addressing normalcy, addressing Mr Reasonable: “You are the Reasonable Teacher with your reasonable rules, reasonable exams and reasonable lesson plans. The teacher that believes it is only reasonable to stratify and separate children out from the moment they enter the school grounds; punishing those whom refuse to conform (Davis and Watson, 2001). You are the Reasonable Careers Advisor whose lecture I left […] when she asserted that if we did not ‘speak properly’, dared to utter an ‘erm’ or an ‘um’ in a job interview, we would remain unemployed. You are the Reasonable Academic who told me this was ‘just the way it is’ when I pointed out the ableism of that careers advice.  You are the Reasonable Boss that told my Mum she needed to “man up and grow some balls” in order to survive work in the public sector: the workplace will not change to accommodate you, so you must change to accommodate it.  You are the Reasonable Landlord, the Reasonable Councillor and the Reasonable Politician that live dogmatically by the reasonable, bureaucratic rules of Western neoliberal individualism (Titchkosky, 2011)” . (Slater 2013: 11)

“Normalcy imagines – ‘sees’ – no other possibility of human life than itself, and thus, ironically, does not ‘see’ itself.  The centre understands itself as the only legitimate space of human habitation and, like all spaces, the centre has its causalities.” (Titchkosky and Michalko, 2009:7)

In 2010, the UK’s Equality Act gave protection, under civic law, to nine ‘protected characteristics’ (age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion and belief; sex; sexual orientation).  While the Act remains in place, in 2012, as part of the coalition’s Red Tape Challenge, it became the focus of a series of consultations and reviews which aim to ‘simplify’ the legislation.

It is, surely, not a coincidence that this comes at a time when, due to global economic uncertainties, much of the world is witnessing rising levels of austerity and, with them, rising levels of fear and concern.  Tolerance, it seems, only lasts as long as there is enough room and resources for difference to be accommodated.  As soon as room and resources are scarce, similitude re-stakes its claim.  Suddenly, being anything other than ‘neoliberally normal’ places you in extremely precarious positions.  Whether you are on the sharp end of welfare reforms or face budgets cuts to your local services/provision, being (or at least, passing as) healthy, wealthy and wise seems to be your best bet to survive.  However, how sure are we that ‘normal’ offers the protection it promises? Importantly, amongst all the ‘doom and gloom’ can encounters with abnormality and non-normativity offers us a chance of hope and wonder?

This conference offers spaces to discuss and explore the precarious positions ‘normal’, and its operating system ‘normalcy’, create, present us with and, more often than not, force us into.  Furthermore, it seeks to ‘imagine otherwise’ by learning from and through increasingly precarious positions of marginality and non-normativity.

We welcome activists, undergraduate/postgraduate students, practitioners and academics to join us and call for papers which ponder on the following:

  • in what ways do ‘normal’ and ‘normalcy’ present clear and present dangers to our individual and collective futures?
  • in what ways does safeguarding a set of characteristics ensure the continued protection of ‘normal’? as begrudging tolerance turns to indifference or fear, is normalcy under threat?
  • what can (everyday) encounters with intersectionality, liminality and/or marginalisation reveal about the limits of normalcy?
  • is it time we challenged the ‘normalcy taboos’?  what do the persistence of ‘natural’ unquestionable norms (e.g. romantic love; bond between mother and child; healthy eating) tell us about the ubitiquity and robustness of normalcy?
  • are categorisations (e.g. disabled, vulnerable, hardest hit, scroungers, takers and makers) bring used to the fight to define and defend ‘normal’ ways of life?
  • are categorisations (e.g. autism, ADHD, depression) being used (and abused) in the race to export ‘normal’ Western ways of being?
  • multi-nationalism; multi-culturalism; multi-faith; multi-lingual – why does pluralism present such a challenge?
  • is contextualising ‘normal’ (historically, culturally, spatiality) the best (the only?) way to reveal its illusionary nature?  what do we gain by doing this, and where do we go from here?
  • what is to be gained by interrogating the intersections and attending to the margins? where are the spaces of hope, wonder and possibility to be found?
  • what is the role of individual (sometimes inadvertent, often mundane) acts of activism against normalcy? and what are the costs (financial, emotional, etc) to individuals who encounter and/or take on normalcy?
  • what ways are there to explore this within and across wider communities? what is the role of academia (learning, teaching and research)?


Abstracts of no more than 200 words (with a short bio) should be submitted by 22nd April 2013to the conference email address below.

Presenters will be informed of acceptance by 10th May 2013.  To secure a place in the conference programme, presenters should have booked a place by 31st July 2013.

In the spirit of an eco-friendly conference, registered delegates will be sent information electronically.  Details of accommodation near the venue will also be sent to delegates.

As the conference is FREE, lunch and refreshments will be available for purchase at the University, if you wish.  Please let us know if you have any dietary requirements so we can make the catering team aware of delegate requirements.

Keynotes will be announced via the conference page on the Disability Research Forum (DRF) blog:


[1] Conference committee includes: Dan Goodley (UoS); Nick Hodge (SHU); Rebecca Mallett (SHU); Cassie Ogden (Univ of Chester); Katherine Runswick-Cole (MMU); Jenny Slater (SHU).

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