Speaker: Robert Stock, University of Konstanz
Co-Speaker: Christian Meier zu Verl, University of Konstanz
Scientific Network, funded by German Research Foundation, DFG
 
Contemporary digital media practices developed and employed by people with disabilities is an important and growing research field, which unfortunately has been neglected by German Media Studies. In-depth analyses regarding the relationships between diversely abled bodies, sensory experiences and (digital) media technologies as well as critical reflections of the concepts of assistive technologies, media participation and cooperative media are still in their infancy. The proposed scientific network will address these urgent topics and map the field by exploring innovative research approaches and methodologies and by establishing and strengthening links to international scholars in Disability Media Studies.
Going beyond the approach of Disability Studies, the scientific network analyses how bodies and technologies are linked with each other in manifold ways and in specific constellations. This work focuses on the multi-layered character of agencies, which include not only human bodies but also technical objects, devices, prostheses, algorithms etc. Thus dis-/abilities are scrutinized as enabling as well as disabling practices of bodies and technologies, with a particular focus on digital mediators.
By concentrating on discourses, practices and materiality, the network will systematically approach the notions of agency, assistance, accessibility and sensory experiences in order to analytically grasp the complex associations of bodies and assistive devices or technologies. This interplay of dis-/abilities and digital media will be discussed from different methodical perspectives of the various disciplines involved.
Strong emphasis lies on the development of a media theoretically grounded research work. Further participating disciplines are Media and Cultural History, Media Sociology, Theatre Studies and Literary Studies. The network’s interdisciplinary framework will provide recent scholarly debates on dis-/abilities with new impulses, particularly regarding the significance of media technologies in their everyday uses and performative as well as socio-material dimensions. In particular, approaches developed and discussed in Germany, Austria and Switzerland will be connected in a way productive to current research on disability and media in the USA as well as in Canada.
 
Accessibility Statement
 
This scientific network is committed to accessibility and inclusivity in all our programming and publications. We therefore aim to design public lectures and workshops (whether on-site or virtual) and video or audio documentation as well as publications in an accessible manner. We will provide sign language interpretation, image description and further accessibility features when possible. Yet we are aware that appropriate solutions will need to be found locally at each university where network members research and teach. As we might not know of every accommodation necessary, please let us know your questions and needs regarding accessibility requirements. We are interested in providing opportunities for interdisciplinary dialogue while initiating discussions with disability activists and the broader public. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like to know more about the network’s activities.