Event Title

Enabling and Engaging Narratives: Disability and Fanfiction

Presenter Information

Mikhel Hudrlik

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Art & Letters

Major

English

Session Number

2

Location

RM 217

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Jessica Luck

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Annie Buckley

Start Date

5-19-2016 3:20 PM

End Date

5-19-2016 3:40 PM

Abstract

Critical Disability Studies is a rapidly growing field, as is the popularity of fanfiction, or fan-made stories. Fanfiction, because of its voluntary, non-profit nature, and use of established characters and/or settings, presents a uniquely versatile narrative mode which allows for inclusion of physical disability in a way that contributes meaningfully to the narrative, beyond a narrative prosthesis or inspirational purpose. Narrative Prosthesis, according to Mitchell and Snyder, is the

treatment of disability as a deviance from the cultural norm that is seen as a problem or challenge and needs to be ‘fixed’ by the end of the story. This presentation will look at the intersection of disability and fanfiction, how that disability is used in different ways, and how disability is moving beyond a narrative prosthesis or overcoming model. Two specific stories with explicit physical disability are discussed: “They Radiate Like Stars,” which has a protagonist who has lost an arm and eye, and has extensive scarring; and “Wisteria,” which includes a returned war veteran who has an amputated arm. This presentation analyzes who is disabled, how they are disabled, how disability is treated within the story and how it functions within the narrative as a whole, and why the inclusion of disability is important to these specific stories. How disability is used in fiction, and fanfiction in particular, holds ramifications for how disability is understood and treated in society at large.

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May 19th, 3:20 PM May 19th, 3:40 PM

Enabling and Engaging Narratives: Disability and Fanfiction

RM 217

Critical Disability Studies is a rapidly growing field, as is the popularity of fanfiction, or fan-made stories. Fanfiction, because of its voluntary, non-profit nature, and use of established characters and/or settings, presents a uniquely versatile narrative mode which allows for inclusion of physical disability in a way that contributes meaningfully to the narrative, beyond a narrative prosthesis or inspirational purpose. Narrative Prosthesis, according to Mitchell and Snyder, is the

treatment of disability as a deviance from the cultural norm that is seen as a problem or challenge and needs to be ‘fixed’ by the end of the story. This presentation will look at the intersection of disability and fanfiction, how that disability is used in different ways, and how disability is moving beyond a narrative prosthesis or overcoming model. Two specific stories with explicit physical disability are discussed: “They Radiate Like Stars,” which has a protagonist who has lost an arm and eye, and has extensive scarring; and “Wisteria,” which includes a returned war veteran who has an amputated arm. This presentation analyzes who is disabled, how they are disabled, how disability is treated within the story and how it functions within the narrative as a whole, and why the inclusion of disability is important to these specific stories. How disability is used in fiction, and fanfiction in particular, holds ramifications for how disability is understood and treated in society at large.