Call For Proposals: Institutional Survivorship

The Huronia Regional Centre, a residential facility for persons diagnosed with intellectual disabilities, operated in Ontario for 133 years until after a long and difficult history it was shut down in 2009. In 2013 a lawsuit that Huronia survivors had launched concluded with a multi-million dollar settlement to compensate for the emotional, physical, and psychological abuse endured while institutionalized (Slark (Litigation guardian of) v Ontario, 2014 ONSC 1283). In a public apology issued according to the terms of the settlement, Premier Kathleen Wynne declared: “we will protect the memory of all those who have suffered, help tell their stories and ensure that the lessons of this time are not lost” (ON Ministry of Community and Social Services, 2013, para. 9).

In this special journal issue, in honour of the work accomplished by Huronia survivors, we are interested in the experiences of disability and disablement both within and beyond experiences of institutionalization, and look to explore the meaning of survivorship as it pertains to institutionalization and disability. We will be defining institutionalization broadly—examples could include institutionalization within psychiatric facilities, hospitals, and hospital schools (for example, the now-closed Huronia, Southwestern, and Rideau Regional Centres), but could also include jails, detention centers, refugee camps, group homes, and forms of chemical control used in community settings.

We are actively soliciting submissions that take the following three forms:  

  1. Oral histories and lived experiences

  2. Theoretical and empirical contributions to the field

  3. Arts-based or creative responses   

Possible topics include, but are not limited to the following questions:

  • What does it mean to be an institutional survivor with a disability?

  • How is survivorship defined by social, political and legal discourses, and how do survivors disrupt these discourses?

  • What is the phenomenological experience of being an institutional survivor? In other words, what does it feel like to be a survivor? What are survivors’ lived experiences? How do these experiences change with time?

  • What does activism look like within survivor populations? What are salient dynamics between survivor activists and non-survivor allies?

  • What is the relationship between trauma, memory, and institutional survival?

  • What is the relationship of childhood and childhood experience to institutionalization? What are the enduring impacts of institutionalization on families?

  • What is the enduring legacy of having worked at an institution? In what ways are workers themselves survivors of institutionalization?

The Canadian Journal of Disability Studies welcomes interdisciplinary submissions ranging from but not limited to critical race theory, disability studies, gender studies, history, legal studies, philosophy, social work, sociology, and visual and literary arts. We invite authors who self-identify as academics, artists, activists, and survivors, among others.

Submissions must be no more than 6,000 words (oral histories and artistic responses may be significantly shorter), excluding references, notes, and tables. Work submitted must be original, not under consideration or published elsewhere in print or electronic media. Submissions must include a cover page with authors’ names, titles, institutional affiliations (if applicable), and full contact information, but authors’ names cannot otherwise appear anywhere in the manuscript. Authors must also provide a 250-word abstract and 4-10 keywords. Please read further for CJDS submission guidelines:

Artistic submissions may include poetry, creative writing, photography, video, mixed media, as well as digital renderings of works on paper or sculpture. For visual imagery, digital files may be sent as jpgs in an e-mail attachment. Emailed image files must be no larger than 640 x 480 ppi (72 dpi) and must be numbered and named to correspond with a text-based list describing images.

Submissions are due June 27, 2016. Please submit electronically in Microsoft Word format (or, if sending images, according to the specifications outlined above) as an email attachment to the special issue’s guest co-editor Dr. Jen Rinaldi

Special Issue Guest Editors Katherine Rossiter, Jen Rinaldi, & Kim Jackson