Call for Papers – Issue #5

Theme: Disability and Desire


The Knots Editorial Collective is pleased to announce that they are accepting submissions for the fifth issue ofKnots: An Undergraduate Journal of Disability Studies. The submission deadline is April 15th 2019.


About Knots:


Knots is a peer-reviewed journal that highlights high-calibre work by undergraduate students and undergraduate alumni*, work that moves beyond normative biomedical conceptions of disability and contributes to the development and growth of disability studies as a field. The editors are open to the widest array of topics that contribute to disability studies and to the continued examination and deconstruction of ableism. Submissions in the forms of essays, creative writing, book and film reviews, as well as art pieces are welcome. Submissions are not limited to students from the University of Toronto.


Thinking with Disability and Desire:


For the fifth issue, we are especially interested in work that explores the complex relationship between disability and desire. Disabled, mad and sick bodies and minds are often treated as inherently undesirable. The presumed association between disability and undesirability can be seen with the pathologization of disabled sexualities, where disabled people are routinely cast either as hypersexual or else devoid of sexuality (Shakespeare, 1996; Siebers, 2008; Erickson, 2015). Disability is also commonly framed as socially undesirable, an assumption that is enshrined in a variety of institutional practices and state policies (e.g., segregated educational environments, sheltered workshops, forced institutionalization, immigration restrictions, etc.). Disability studies has long contested the presumed undesirability of disability, inviting us instead to recognize disability as an essential and valuable way of being in the world.


The work produced by disability justice scholars, activists and artists shows us how the association between disability and desire is profoundly complicated by intersecting and hierarchical relations of power (Berne, 2016; Mingus, 2011; Bailey and Mobley, 2018; Erickson, 2015; Minich, 2016; Erevelles, 2008). Disability, Nirmala Erevelles (2008) reminds us, is often “acquired under oppressive conditions,” conditions that often target Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities in particular (i.e, disability as an effect of poverty, occupation, economic exploitation, state and police violence, lack of access to nutritious foods, clean air and water, healthcare and education, etc.) (119). Thinking with disability and desire alongside and in tandem with critical race theory, queer and feminist epistemologies and indigenous studies means desiring to dismantle ableist structures of racism, colonialism, sexism and transmisogyny that continue to leverage disability as harm. To borrow the words of Knots #4 contributor Vania González Tanamachi, we ask: how might “desiring disability represent an opportunity to build an intersectional coalitional disability studies that fights for liberatory futures that meet the needs and desires of all bodies”? (52).

We invite written and creative submissions that engage broadly with the theme of disability and desire.


Submission might address the following questions and themes:


·      What is the relationship between disability and (mental) health to Western standards of beauty and desirability?

·      How do disabled, sick and/or mad bodies express and embody desire/desirability?

·      How does disability desire act as a form resistance and rejection of ableist norms?

·      What radical possibilities are released through mad, sick and disabled sexual desire?

·      How can we understand disability justice, radical access and anti-oppression work as a kind of desire?

·      How might disability desire change or impact activism and community organizing?

·      How does disability/crip art disrupt normative understandings of beauty and desire?

·      How can disability desire help us to imagine and build more accessible futures?  What might these           futures look/feel/be like?

·      How do we make room for different or conflicting desires for (our) bodies, minds and futures?


Submission Procedure & Information

The submission process is electronic: all manuscript submissions can be made online to by no later than April 15, 2019. The author’s name and the title of the work should both appear in the subject line of the email; the full manuscript should be attached as a PDF file to the editors. Any questions regarding content, submission or accessibility requests should be directed to

The Editorial Collective looks forward to receiving your submissions and to together producing Knots issue #5!

Knots is also seeking peer reviewers for the editorial board! If you are interested, send the journal an email.

*All submissions must be work produced in the context of an undergraduate degree. We recognize that the contributor may no longer be an undergraduate at the time of submission.


Bailey, Moya and Izetta Autumn Mobley (2018). “Work in the Intersections: A Black Feminist Disability Studies Framework.: Gender and Society.

Erevelles, Nirmala (2011). “Color of Violence: Reflecting on Gender, Race and Disability in Wartime”. In Kim Q. Hall (ed.), Feminist Disability Studies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. pp. 117—135.

Erickson, Loree (2015). (Un)Breaking our Hearts: Cultures of Un/Desirability and the Transformative Potential of Queercrip Porn. PhD Dissertation. York University.

Fritsch, Kelly (2015). “Desiring Disability Differently: Neoliberalism, Heterotopic Imagination and Intra-corporeal Reconfigurations”. Foucault Studies, no. 19: 43-66.

González Tanamachi (2019). “Confronting the Neocolonial Production of Disability: An Examination of Mexican Migrant Farm Workers’ Experiences and Understandings of Disability.” Knots: An Undergraduate Journal of Disability Studies. Issue 4.

Mingus (2010). “Changing the Framework: Disability Justice”. Leaving Evidence.

Minich, Julie (2016).”Enabling Whom? Critical Disability Studies Now”. Lateral

Shakespeare, Tom (1996). Sexual Politics of Disability: Untold Desires. New York: Continuum.

Siebers, Tobin (2008). Disability Theory. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Sins Invalid (2016) “Disability Justice: A Working Draft” Skin, Tooth, and Bone 

                        Knots Issue #4 on “Refusal”

Issue #4 of Knots was released in January 2019. If you are interested in a hardcopy of the journal please contact Past issues are open access and available here. A digital version of issue #4 is coming soon!


“Our beautiful cover art for this issue is by pruneah Kim, whose drawing features three human faces floating in a sea of star-like confetti. Out of the tops of their heads flowers and plants are growing, or woven, or both. From their eyes, the long, thin, parallel lines of tears flow freely. There is refusal here too; the drawing and the faces it depicts refuse to conceal their sorrow and pain. The tears that flow here – tears of psychic pain, of physical pain – rain out unbroken and water the growth that resides there too. No, we are not happy and no we will not hide but, yes, flowers exist here also.”


-Issue #4 co-editors Alex Napier and Caleigh Inman