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Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal

Special Forum on Disability & Aging

Call for Papers

Empirically, we need to remember these facts: barring sudden death, those who are aging and those who have a disability can be only artificially separated at a particular moment in time. Or except for the possibility of sudden death, everyone with a disability will age, and everyone who is aging will acquire one or more disabilities. (Zola, 1989, p. 6)

Rather than merely read old age as disability, or disability as akin to old age, it is crucial to consider how an older person’s body read as having a disability is different from a younger person’s body read as having a disability. Similarly, it is crucial to consider how an older person’s body read as having a disability is different from an older person’s body read as not having a disability. (Chivers, 2011, p. 22)

Population aging is taking place in nearly all countries across the globe and, by midcentury, older persons (ages 60 year and over) are projected to exceed the number of children for the first time ever (UN, 2013). According to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2010), chronic non-communicable diseases associated with old age will soon represent the greatest burden on global health. Within reports published by global governing bodies, disability is routinely assumed and directly referenced as a consequence of population aging. Although powerful in their potential to direct support to targeted issues, such reports may also contribute to a “crisis rhetoric” (Kennedy, 2002, p. 226) that rests on an “inappropriate conflation” (Chivers, 2011, p. 22) between disability and aging, which begins with the assumption that all older people are disabled by virtue of their being old. Such conflation has implications for public policy and entitlement to services and supports.

Research, policy and practice have tended to treat disability as a product of unsuccessful aging, and aging as an obstacle to living well with a disability. There is a paucity of research that explores the nuances and complexities of the relationship between disability and aging (Freedman, 2014). Conceptually, aging and disability are not only separated temporally, but spatially as well. There is, for example, very limited research on the experiences of young people living within nursing home environments and other residential care facilities despite the co-residence of older and young adults.

The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal (RDS) seeks proposals for a special forum on disability and aging. We are currently soliciting papers of approximately 6000 words in length. The deadline for submission of papers is October 31st, 2015. Papers should be submitted to the RDS online submission system at Upon submission, please submit under the “forums” category from the pull-down menu and indicate in the “notes for the editor” that your paper is for consideration for the special forum on disability and aging.

Papers considered for inclusion may take the form of academic and creative works, as well as reflections on international disability-specific policies, practices, pedagogies and developments.

Topics to be explored may include:

 *   (Trans-/)Disciplinary approaches to disability and aging

 *   Disability and aging as made to appear in/by technology, design and the built environment (e.g., Universal Design)

 *   Decolonizing disability and aging (post-/anti-colonial approaches)

 *   Disability, aging and embodiment

 *   Disability, aging, and the labor market

 *   Disability and/as (un)successful aging

 *   Epistemological relations to disability and aging

 *   Genealogies of disability and aging

 *   Geographies of disability and aging (social and cultural/local, national, inter-/transnational)

 *   Global policies and best practices that connect disability and aging

 *   Intersectional analyses that foreground disability and age

 *   (Dis)ablism and Ageism

 *   Living well: Social philosophical approaches to the good life from the dual perspectives of disability and aging

 *   Points of connection and contestation between disability studies and aging studies (e.g., caregiving studies)

 *   Queering disability and aging

 *   Theoretical and ethnographic approaches to the study of disability and aging

 *   The chronologization of the life course

Submissions to this special forum will undergo a process of multiple editor peer-review. Authors will be notified of whether their papers will be included in the forum by December 1st, 2015. Prospective authors are encouraged to consult the RDS website at<> for more information about the Journal and its formatting guidelines. Authors are encouraged to review previous issues of RDS in preparing their paper and to subscribe to the Journal. All submissions must follow the RDS publication guidelines posted on the website.

RDS is a peer-reviewed, multidisciplinary, international journal published by the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa. The Journal contains research articles, essays, creative works and multimedia relating to the culture of disability and people with disabilities.

We look forward to receiving your submissions. If you have any questions please contact the Special Guest Editors Dr. Katie Aubrecht and Dr. Tamara Krawchenko<> and<>.


Katie Aubrecht, PhD, Nova Scotia Centre on Aging, Mount Saint Vincent University

Tamara Krawchenko, PhD, Maritime Data Centre for Aging Research and Policy Analysis, Mount Saint Vincent University

Works Cited

Chivers, S. (2011). The Silvering Screen: Old Age and Disability in Cinema. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Freedman, V. (2014). Research gaps in the demography of aging with a disability. Disability and Health Journal, 7, S60-S63.

Kennedy, J. (2002). Disability and aging – beyond the crisis rhetoric. Journal of Disability Policy Studies, 12(4), 226-228.

United Nations. (UN). (2013). World population ageing. Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division. New York: United Nations. Retrieved from

World Health Organization (WHO). (2010). Global health and aging. Retrieved from

Zola, I. (1989). Aging and disability: Toward a unified agenda. Journal of Rehabilitation, 6-8.

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