Special Issue "Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 August 2017)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Darla Schumm

Religious Studies (department of Global Politics and Societies), Hollins University, 7916 Williamson Road Roanoke, VA 800-456-9595, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: religion; ethics; Social Justice; Disability Studies; Gender Studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The emerging field of religion and disability is transforming how we think about sacred texts, theological assertions, ritual practices, community habits, and ethical commitments with respect to disability and Deaf and disability experience. The majority of the research to date focuses on the Abrahamic religions—primarily the Christian tradition—with several more recent publications incorporating discussions of Asian and indigenous religions. A current challenge facing religion and disability scholarship as it enters a new phase of assimilation into academic discourse is to integrate more actively theoretical and theological investigation with practical application and grassroots activism. This Special Issue investigates how and where religious and Biblical studies scholars working at the nexus of disability studies engage other liberationist frameworks such as feminist, queer, environmental, post-colonial, and/or critical race theories in their efforts to promote disability justice in particular, and social justice more generally. The hope is that this thematic issue fosters more activist oriented intersectional analysis in the field of religion and disability.

Prof. Dr. Darla Schumm
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Disability
  • Religion
  • Social Justice
  • Intersectional
  • Liberation
  • Oppression

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Building Coalitions with NGOs: Religion Scholars and Disability Justice Activism
Religions 2018, 9(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9010028
Received: 18 December 2017 / Revised: 10 January 2018 / Accepted: 16 January 2018 / Published: 18 January 2018
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Abstract
The World Council of Churches (WCC), an organization of 348 member churches, is a model of coalition building particularly through its support of individuals, churches, and their ministries for the inclusion, participation, and contributions of people with disabilities in its ecumenical work. The [...] Read more.
The World Council of Churches (WCC), an organization of 348 member churches, is a model of coalition building particularly through its support of individuals, churches, and their ministries for the inclusion, participation, and contributions of people with disabilities in its ecumenical work. The Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network (EDAN) informs one of the initiatives of the WCC—faith in Jesus Christ and communion fellowship—in the journey toward visible unity and justice for people who were too often missing the banquet of a church of all and for all. EDAN and other international disability advocates have most recently embedded its agenda of inclusion into the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The United Nations explicitly recognizes the Human Rights for persons with disabilities and, with the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), has raised protections against discrimination, exploitation, and abuse of people with disabilities to the level of international law. The World Health Organization works collaboratively in gathering data and local analyses of efforts to minimize preventable disability and maximize rehabilitation program availability with partners across the globe. These organizations, global in nature, have benefitted from the insights raised by people with disabilities and scholars working at the intersections of disability, religion, and justice. This essay examines the efficacy and opportunities of international coalitions available with these organizations so as to challenge the ethics of simple accommodations with a more robust social justice of affirmation and advocacy for people with disabilities: a new paradigm for our churches and our world. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessArticle Deaf Liberation Theology and Social Justice
Religions 2017, 8(10), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100232
Received: 3 September 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 17 October 2017 / Published: 24 October 2017
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Abstract
Deaf Liberation Theology is a branch of theology that has been developed over the past twenty years, with the book Deaf Liberation Theology published by Ashgate in 2007 (Lewis 2007) as a focal point of this development. This article briefly looks at the [...] Read more.
Deaf Liberation Theology is a branch of theology that has been developed over the past twenty years, with the book Deaf Liberation Theology published by Ashgate in 2007 (Lewis 2007) as a focal point of this development. This article briefly looks at the roots of Deaf Liberation Theology in both the concept of Deaf people as an oppressed linguistic minority and the principles of Liberation theology as an engaged contextual theology using the methodology of the hermeneutical circle. It then seeks to examine the impact of Deaf Liberation Theology in practice over the past decade, in particular the impact especially through increasing self-confidence and self-esteem so that deaf people themselves feel empowered to work for social justice. It will use personal reflections by a number of deaf individuals in the UK as source material, and look at how this experience and developments in Deaf studies might develop into the future to further develop social justice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Remembering the Neighborhood: Church, Disability, and Religious Memory
Religions 2017, 8(10), 219; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100219
Received: 18 August 2017 / Revised: 27 September 2017 / Accepted: 30 September 2017 / Published: 10 October 2017
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Abstract
This article focuses on rituals of community life within a North American church in which many of the congregants live with psychiatric disabilities and whose participation in religious life is affected by their experiences of poverty and gentrification. I begin by exploring an [...] Read more.
This article focuses on rituals of community life within a North American church in which many of the congregants live with psychiatric disabilities and whose participation in religious life is affected by their experiences of poverty and gentrification. I begin by exploring an aesthetic practice of remembrance that the postcolonial scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak identifies and performs in an essay entitled “Harlem”. Drawing upon Spivak’s description of an imaginative practice she identifies as “teleiopoiesis” and my own ethnographic research, including participant observation and interviews, I analyze an example of how this community incorporates visual art into its practices of communal memory as part of one church’s weeklong liturgy. I then argue for the church’s gathering of members from across the city as a practice of remembrance across time and space that confronts the structures and injustices of urban life that challenge the communal identity emerging from this congregation’s religious practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Television Dramas, Disability, and Religious Knowledge: Considering Call the Midwife and Grey’s Anatomy as Religiously Significant Texts
Religions 2017, 8(10), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8100209
Received: 15 August 2017 / Revised: 21 September 2017 / Accepted: 21 September 2017 / Published: 28 September 2017
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Abstract
Images and narratives of people with disabilities in popular culture shape the perceptions of people with and without disabilities. When these narratives raise philosophical and religious questions emerging from the lives of people with disabilities, and depict meaningful engagements between people with disabilities [...] Read more.
Images and narratives of people with disabilities in popular culture shape the perceptions of people with and without disabilities. When these narratives raise philosophical and religious questions emerging from the lives of people with disabilities, and depict meaningful engagements between people with disabilities and religious practices, an underexamined body of knowledge emerges. The television series Call the Midwife and Grey’s Anatomy both have episodes that depict families responding to a disability diagnosis in a newborn infant, and each offers a potentially significant account of what it means to be a person born with a disability. While popular culture depictions of disability often reinscribe stigmatizing stereotypes, they can also disrupt those stereotypes and identify people with disabilities as authoritative, underrecognized sources of knowledge and experience, including religious understanding. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
Open AccessArticle Why Disability Studies Needs to Take Religion Seriously
Religions 2017, 8(9), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8090186
Received: 20 August 2017 / Revised: 5 September 2017 / Accepted: 8 September 2017 / Published: 13 September 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (186 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Religion and theology are central ways that many people make sense of the world and their own place in that world. But the insights of critical studies of religion, or what is sometimes positioned as religious studies as opposed to theology, are scarce [...] Read more.
Religion and theology are central ways that many people make sense of the world and their own place in that world. But the insights of critical studies of religion, or what is sometimes positioned as religious studies as opposed to theology, are scarce in disability literature. This article suggests some of the costs of this oversight and some of the benefits of including religion. First, this article discusses how some past scholarly engagements of disability and religion have misrepresented and denigrated Judaism. Second, it argues that Judaism paints different disabilities in quite different ways, and that we cannot coherently talk about “disability in Judaism” as if it is a single thing. Third, it discusses the medical model and the social model, and shows how one Jewish woman’s writing on pain complicates how we might think about these models. In this way, the article shows how religious studies can both help remedy past mistakes and bring new insights to disability studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Religion, Disability, and Social Justice: Building Coalitions)
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