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disability studies in literature

Scholars examine how disability is perceived in the social and natural sciences, history, society, and literature. Such work has given a direct written voice to disabled authors, who often testify to their journey from isolation to membership in a larger community. A Disability History of the United States. Focusing on cultural and especially literary representations of disability, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (JLCDS) publishes a wide variety of textual analyses that are informed by disability theory and, by extension, experiences of disability. New York: The Modern Language Association. 2010. In these ways, scholars working in literary disability studies have called attention to how disability works in literature, complicating texts, expanding their relevance, and changing the way we understand both popular and canonical narratives. Bérubé, Michael. Samuels, in Fantasies of Identification (2014), investigated how disadvantaged groups have subversively performed racial, gender, or disability passing to escape oppressive institutions such as slavery. Above all, disability studies teach us that, in reality, "normal" and "abnormal" are just a fantasy, a construction of what a culture values and, especially, of how it expects (or requires) its citizens to look, to function, and to be. A disability studies perspective examines how disability is socially constructed in society and can shed light on how literature reflects the social conditions within which it was written. An exciting aspect of literary disability studies is how it opens new opportunities for scholarship, knowledge‐building, and the advancement of human rights. Scholars have pointed out how disability can shape the very form of narratives. Enforcing Normalcy: Deafness, Disability, and the Body. Subsequently, some disability studies critics extended normalcy more explicitly to ability and able‐bodiedness. (3MB), Publisher: Indiana University Press, Year: 2011 In one chapter, Garland‐Thomson, building on sociologist Robert Bogdan’s 1988 analysis of freak shows, demonstrated how they aided the development of normate‐ based thinking. http://dredf. Cambridge. ), Publisher: SensePublishers, Year: 2013 While one project of literary disability studies has revealed the formation and hegemony of normalcy, another has showed how both fiction and film, through disabled characters, disability metaphors, and even their underlying structure, use disability to address countless aspects of human thought and experience. (3MB), Series: Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization, Publisher: Cambridge University Press, Year: 2014 Useful Subject Words: disability, disabilities, including words describing specific disabilities. East Lansing: Michigan State University Press. Discussing The History of the Life and Adventures of Mr. Duncan Campbell (1720)—sometimes attributed to Defoe—and other examples, he explored how the rise of mass literacy and the advent of deaf education in eighteenth‐century Europe helped writing to serve as a meeting ground of sorts where deaf and hearing people could interact. Disability is, as he put it at the outset, “ubiquitous,” and he argued that ubiquity deserves greater recognition and exploration (Bérubé 2016: 1). Bérubé, Michael. ), Publisher: Oxford University Press, Year: 2015 It will―and should be―mandatory is every disability studies program in … Elizabeth J. Donaldson is Professor of English and Associate Dean of Curriculum and Student Engagement at New York Institute of Technology, where she teaches courses in bioethics and American literature and directs the Medical Humanities program. A third element of disability in literature is structural. Again, disability studies opened fresh approaches to literary investigation. "The Disability Studies Reader edited by Lennard J. Davis is to the field of Disability Studies what the Norton anthologies are to literature. (2MB), Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US, Year: 2015 Because the stigma surrounding disability is still quite pervasive (cultures everywhere still often equate disability with being broken or disqualified), some people who are legally considered disabled have been uncomfortable with accepting the disability label. Christopher Bell followed a 2006 exhortative essay with an edited collection, Blackness and Disability (2012), which sought to bring disability studies and African‐American studies more forcefully together. Although normalcy might seem something constant and neutral, Davis showed that the word norm with its present meaning arose only in the mid‐nineteenth century with the Industrial Revolution and the advent of statistics (before then, he maintained, the concept of the ideal was paramount). New York: New York University Press. Between 1835 and 1940, such shows were especially popular in Europe and the United States. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Nice and informative article, it helps me to get an idea about litrary disability studies. Or it can be normality, as in Nancy Mairs’s Waist High in the World (1997) and other memoirs and autobiographies by disabled people whose disability is simply part of life. New York: Columbia University Press. They consciously built on the civil rights movement. Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland‐Thomson, 109–17. Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin, 130–2. In literature, many critics examine works to understand how representations of disability and “normal” bodies change throughout history, including the ways both are defined within the limits of historical or cultural situations. Foucault, Michel. 2001. 2008. He is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, founder of the International Network of Literary & Cultural Disability Scholars, and was the first Honorary Research Fellow in the Centre for Disability Research at Lancaster University. Shakespeare, Tom. In his provisional typology, disability can reveal the morality of other characters, as Tiny Tim does in A Christmas Carol (1843); or it can overlap with racial, sexual, economic, or social otherness, as with Caliban in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. “Disability fluctuates, growing visible, then invisible, then visible again, becoming both ever-present and haunting. Instead, they argued that disability is produced as much by cultural and environmental factors as by bodily conditions, and have focused mainly on the former. It can offer ineluctable and enigmatic tragic insight, as when the orphan Rebeca eats dirt in García Marquez’s ͗ One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967). Together with disability activism, such work prepared the way for disability studies. For instance, people with severe congenital disabilities have served as “icons upon whom people discharge their anxieties, convictions, and fantasies” and reify their own sense of ordinariness (1997: 56). “Normal.” Keywords for Disability Studies, ed. He also demonstrated how easily stigmatized people can internalize rather than oppose dominant standards by which they are deemed inferior. This section explores two crucial elements of the setting of criticaldisability theory: its heritage in critical theory and its tensionsand overlap with more traditional disability studies. London: Routledge. Disabilities in Children's Literature The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed to ensure that people with disabilities have the power (and the rights) to live their lives with integrity, without shame or prejudice that is so embedded in our disability-phobic culture. MA: Harvard University Press. In 2002, Sharon Snyder called attention to how are such authors are typically seen as succeeding despite impairments. Rather than trying to diagnose characters with disabilities, scholars in literary disability studies investigate the almost bewildering number of functions that the representations of disability perform. 2011. It can signify ritual insight, as in the blind prophet Tiresias in Greek myth. 2010. shtml. True to his 2005 advice to the field, Bérubé bypassed the question of realism to consider how, even in works ostensibly not “about” disability, disability shows up and structures narratives. Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race. Leader Ed Roberts called disabled people “one of the largest minority groups in the nation,” emphasizing their new feeling of a shared identity (Nielsen 2012: 168). Davis, Lennard J. As we will see, the field has made some progress in these areas, but more work remains to be done. Starting in the late 1960s, disabled activists in the United States and the United Kingdom began to argue they were a group and denied basic rights. Such works offer glimpses into the past lives of disabled people and provide a valuable counterpoint to depictions by non‐disabled authors. The borders of disability can be ambiguous, especially when it comes to conditions that are temporary, invisible, or treatable with medication (Davidson 2016: 434). Bending over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism & Other Difficult Positions. The social model not only made a collective identity possible, joining together people with a wide range of bodily conditions, but also presented disabled citizens as holders of rights. 2000. First, in such literature disability calls for an explanation, inaugurating the narrative act: “the unknowability” of disability “consolidates the need to tell a story about it,” they observed (Mitchell and Snyder 2000: 6). Tom Shakespeare, while saying the social model was crucial, called for more sophisticated methods that recognize disability as a phenomenon “requiring different levels of analysis and intervention, ranging from the medical to the socio‐political” (Shakespeare 2006: 204). Categories: Disability Studies, Literary Criticism, Literary Theory, Tags: Claiming Disability, Disability as an Identity, Disability Studies, Disability Theory, Donna Haraway, Erving Goffman, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Extraordinary Bodies, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self, Hottentot Venus, Lennard J.  Davis, Madame Bovary, Michel Foucault, Narrative Prosthesis, P. T. Barnum, Robert Bogdan, Rosemarie Garland Thomson, Saartjie Baartman, Simi Linton, Simone de Beauvoir, Stigma, The Americans’ Disabilities Act of 1990, The History of Sexuality. 2002. It is in fact, canon-making. (2MB), Series: Routledge Advances in Disability Studies, Author(s): Tim Corcoran, Julie White, Ben Whitburn (eds. For example, in 2005 Michael Bérubé acknowledged the value of objecting to representations that simply invoke pity or horror, but wrote that rejecting disability tropes because they are not realistic seems “incompatible with the enterprise of professional literary study” (Bérubé 2005: 570). What is evidence of their bodies in their work? Notably, some disability studies scholars have claimed certain canonical writers as disabled, even if the authors themselves did not view themselves in such terms during their lifetimes. Disability shows up in films from Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931) to Disney’s Finding Nemo (2003) to Gattaca (1997) and numerous other science fiction pictures; in plays like Medoff’s Children of a Lesser God (1979); and in poetry from Milton’s “On His Blindness” (1655) to Dickinson’s works to poems by contemporary poets with disabilities like Lynn Manning, John Lee Clark, and Petra Kuppers. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. (1MB), Series: Disability studies (Nova Science Publishers), Publisher: Nova Science, Year: 2010 2001. Home › Disability Studies › Disability Studies, By Nasrullah Mambrol on December 15, 2018 • ( 2 ). Disability studies began to emerge in the West in the late twentieth century as a result of the success of the disability rights movement, the seminal work of a few scholars like Erving Goffman and Michel Foucault, and the flourishing of other interdisciplinary identity‐based approaches that revealed compelling new aspects of the humanities while emphasizing rights. Extending Davis’s and Garland‐Thomson’s ideas, David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder argued in Narrative Prosthesis (2000) that canonical authors frequently rely on disability as a narrative device both to give their fictions energy and ultimately to reaffirm normalcy in their works. For example, in a reading of William and Ellen Craft’s account of escaping slavery, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom (1860), she noted not just Ellen Craft’s racial passing, but also her enacting masculinity and disability (she pretends to be deaf) to find liberty. When literary scholars turned their attention to disability, they discovered it, like gender and race, all around them (Garland‐Thomson 2013: 916). New York: New York University Press. Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature. As the field moves forward, scholars seem especially interested in how gender, sexuality, race, and class overlap, and in how social construction and chosen identities intersect. Disability studies is an academic discipline that examines the meaning, nature, and consequences of disability. For example, some culturally Deaf people who use sign language see themselves as members of a proud linguistic minority and not in any way disabled (other Deaf signers, acknowledging the obstacles they typically face in a hearing society, consider themselves both). Guide for students in English Department courses. New York: Vintage. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers. In an effort to make out‐of‐print writing by deaf people more available, in the late 1990s Gallaudet University Press launched its “Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies” series, republishing work by such deaf authors as Laurent Clerc (1785–1869) and Laura Redden Searing (1840–1923). Such activism not only contributed to a string of legislative victories that banned discrimination and improved access and inclusion (including the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990), but also gave disabled people a sense of pride and community. Vidali, Amy. Cassuto, Leonard. Mitchell, David, and Sharon Snyder. 2011. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press. Kafer, Alison. A defect of the body structure. Like feminist, critical race, and queer approaches to literature and culture, disability studies relates to a specific group: in this case, disabled people, who make up approximately 15 percent of the world population and are among the most poor and disempowered groups globally. One of the first topics they took on was not disability per se but its seeming opposite, normalcy, which they revealed often to be socially formed and to have enormous influence. Such a problematizing of physical life added a new wrinkle to the genre's double/secret identity trope: the characters now interact with their shifting bodies as bodies with all the complications involved.” Foucault’s insights about madness, docile bodies, and the clinical gaze also proved fertile for later disability scholars. The fourth edition of the reader has just been released in February. They noted that cultural meanings of normalcy and disability might differ from the West and cautioned against simply exporting Western disability theories. Initially, the field focused on the division between "impairment" and "disability", where impairment was an impairment of an individual's mind or body, … 2012. Fiedler, Leslie. 2013. The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2002. A second barrier to a unified identity is that sometimes an unfortunate hierarchy has been evident in both the disability community and in disability studies, where white disabled people get more attention than ethnic minorities with disabilities and where wheelchair users receive more consideration than those with cognitive disabilities. Snyder, Sharon. 2011. Samuels’s book is part of a pronounced trend in literary disability studies to bring disability together more forcefully with other established identity categories. New York: New York University Press. Drawing on queer theory and Adrienne Rich’s notion of “compulsory heterosexuality,” in 2002 Robert McRuer identified a “compulsory able‐bodiedness,” where “being able‐bodied means being capable of the normal physical exertions required in a particular system of labor” (McRuer 2002: 91). Lennard J. Davis (1995) and Mitchell and Snyder (2000) argued that authors sometimes organize narratives around normalcy. “Disability Studies: A Field Emerged.” American Quarterly 65 (4): 915–26. In Aesthetic Nervousness (2007), Ato Quayson summarized nine functions of disability representation in literature and narrative film. Bolt joined Liverpool Hope University in August 2009 as a lecturer in disability studies. Theoretically, a disability can be the result of 1. (5MB), Author(s): G N Karna; Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (New Delhi, India), Publisher: Gyan Publishing House, Year: 2001 To be sure, the field has had fractures, debates, and problems, but such controversies often add to its richness. Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor, and Materiality. For her part, in Animacies (2012) Mel Chen brings together biopolitics, race, sexuality, and disability. While acknowledging the instability of disability, Siebers agreed, arguing that a clearly defined disability community and minority identity are necessary for political gains. David Theo Goldberg and Ato Quayson, 217–30. New York: The Modern Language Association. Since disability crosses every identity formation, Lennard J. Davis (2002) provocatively argued that disability serves as a sort of master identity that links all other identity categories like gender, race, class, and sexuality (which are themselves unstable). Lecturer in English PSC Solved Question Paper, http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull, International Article Writing Competition, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self, NTA UGC NET English June 2020 Questions and Answers. Philadelphia: Temple University Press. Robert Hurley. Calling their theory “narrative prosthesis” because such narratives employ disability as a sort of crutch, they showed how it functions in works as disparate as Melville’s Moby‐Dick (1851) and Dunn’s Geek Love (1989). Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. While in the 1980s disability studies was dominated by social science approaches, in the 1990s literary and cultural criticism took on a prominent and leading role. Bell, Christopher. 2002. Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity. 2016. A final factor that shaped the emergence of the field was the rise of other identity‐based, rights‐influenced approaches, especially critical race, feminist, and queer theory, which yielded significant new insights in the humanities. Disability Studies is a multi-disciplinary field that investigates, critiques, and enhances Western society’s understandings of disability. 2016. Garland‐Thomson, Rosemarie. 'This book assembles an impressive array of scholars whose collective work changes the terrain of disability studies and biblical scholarship. They demonstrated that disability, which might initially seem marginal, is actually pervasive and does significant cultural work. ), Publisher: SensePublishers, Year: 2015 Other scholars in literary disability studies further developed these ideas about the formation of the norm. ), Series: Routledge Studies in the Social History of Medicine, Author(s): Peter Bartlett, Oliver Lewis, Oliver Thorold, Series: International studies in physical education and youth sport, Series: Routledge studies in new media and cyberculture, Author(s): Colin Barnes, Mike Oliver, Len Barton (eds. Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland‐Thomson, 88–99. It can serve as hermeneutical impasse, as in Ondaatje’s The English Patient (1992), where the man’s acute burns ensures he remains unknown throughout the story. 2010. Probing representations of such characters has become a staple of literary disability studies, revealing hidden patterns and expanding the way canonical narratives are read. Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self. Reading and Writing Bodies: Disability Studies Meets Literary Theory Like Lennard J. Davis, Mitchell and Snyder contended that narratives often buttress the norm. Tellingly, major disability civil rights laws and initiatives used this distinction. (2MB), Author(s): Nick Watson, Alan Roulstone, Carol Thomas, Author(s): Gary L. Albrecht, Katherine Delores Seelman, Michael Bury, Publisher: SAGE Publications, Inc, Year: 2001 2006. Early scholarship distinguishes the medical model of disability, which locates physical and mental impairments in individual bodies, from the social model, which understands the world as … Such shows helped spectators to confirm their own sense of normalcy and normate‐based privilege. (1MB), Author(s): Michael Gill (ed.). Garland‐Thomson, Rosemarie. While the field has always been interdisciplinary and cognizant of other identity‐based disciplines—for example, in using other identity theories, in advocating for rights, or in Garland‐Thomson’s effort to bring disability studies and feminism together back in 1997—recent works have shown a renewed commitment to exploring how disability intersects with other forms of identity. While medicine has helped disabled people, the medical model misses the whole picture. ), Publisher: SensePublishers, Year: 2015 Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. An impairment of body functions like physical and psychological experiences, and 2. Early Literary Disability Studies and Normalcy. Boston: Beacon Press. Anthologies such as Beauty is a Verb (2011) have brought contemporary disability poetry to a wider reading public. These foundational works in literary disability studies argued that literature and culture in the West often upheld normalcy and consigned disabled people to the margins, a dynamic that had real‐world consequences for disabled people. ), David Serlin (ed. 2013. That same year, the journal MELUS published a special issue on “Race, Ethnicity, Disability, and Literature,” and soon thereafter scholars such as Schweik and Ellen Samuels made race a prominent part of their monographs. These endeavors gave disability studies scholars models and parallels to use and helped the field to mature quickly. To people accustomed to thinking of disability as a medical problem located in an individual’s body (the overwhelmingly dominant view of disability since the nineteenth century), such an approach may come as a surprise. New York: New York University Press. New York: Vintage. The Showman and the Slave: Race, Death, and Memory in Barnum’s America. Click on the link to get to the online issues. With no acknowledged corpus of disability literature, they began mostly to explore the numerous ways that disability operates in canonical works and in culture, often in their scholarship deftly moving between the two. They are discussed as below. Pioneering scholars in the field embraced a “social model” that directs attention away from the body to how society treats disabled people. In Aesthetic Nervousness a few years later, he put his advice into practice, examining disability in works by African authors such as Coetzee and Soyinka. Perhaps because of new interest in disability, improved access, and/or easier paths to publication, a number of autobiographical works have appeared by writers across the disability spectrum including Nancy Mairs, Kenny Fries, Anne Finger, Georgina Kleege, and Stephen Kuusisto. Interdisciplinary Dialogues: Disability and Postcolonial Studies Clare Barker, Ph.D. University of Leeds, UK Abstract: Disability is a constitutive material presence in many postcolonial societies but remains surprisingly absent as a subject of analysis in the field of Postcolonial Studies. As in other identity‐based fields, life writing has an important place in disability studies because it gives individual real‐world perspectives from within the community. The potential universality of disability has sometimes divided scholars. Sharon L. Snyder, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, and Rosemarie Garland‐Thomson, 173–96. Such a strategy has parallels in other rights‐based identity fields. Oxford University Press. Only with the rise of Nazi concentration camps during World War II did eugenics become discredited, although normalcy continues to have powerful sway. The Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) stands in solidarity with the ongoing response by the Movement for Black Lives to police brutality and mass incarceration. Critics have examined such texts as The World I Live In (1908), by Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind; My Left Foot (1954) by Christy Brown, who had cerebral palsy; and Face to Face (1957) by Ved Mehta, who is blind. Samuels, Ellen. (12MB), Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd, Year: 2011 2014. Disability studies is a relatively new interdisciplinary academic field focusing on the roles of people with disabilities in history, literature, social policy, law, architecture, and other disciplines. “Disability Studies 2.0.” American Literary History 22 (1): 218–31. Instead, they presented themselves as a unified group facing widespread discrimination. 1997. Disability is indeed ubiquitous in literature and film. A final challenge to achieving a cohesive disability identity relates to its instability as a category. Disability Studies Quarterly (DSQ) is the journal of the Society for Disability Studies (SDS).It is a multidisciplinary and international journal of interest to social scientists, scholars in the humanities, disability rights advocates, creative writers, and others concerned with the issues of people with disabilities. New York: New York University Press. mental retardation America: History and Life is the definitive index of literature covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. (5MB), Author(s): Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner, Joseph Straus (eds. Murray, Stuart. Focusing on representations of disability, Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies publishes a wide variety of textual analyses that are informed by disability theory … These matters showed up in disability scholars’ literary and cultural analysis. 1995. Candidates here include Milton, who became blind, Alexander Pope, who had short stature and a spinal condition, Lord Byron, who was born with a deformed foot, Flannery O’Connor, who as adult contracted lupus and walked on crutches, Borges, who lost much of his sight, and many more. He developed this point further in 2002, arguing that a binary distinction between normal and abnormal underpins the rise of the novel. Similarly, a few years later Tobin Siebers identified a powerful but largely invisible “ideology of ability” that permeates society, which he said is often a “baseline by which humanness is determined. Couser, G. Thomas. Sideshow U.S.A.: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination. Benjamin Reiss investigated P. T. Barnum’s career and its relationship to national anxieties about race, gender, and the body, while Cynthia Wu considered the original Siamese twins, Chang and Eng, and their impact in American literature and culture. The formation of the ideas of disabilities prevalent throughout society refereed open journal... They also remarked on the rights of Persons with disabilities ( accessed July 18, 2016 ) knowledge‐building and. 2 ): 568–76 scholars examine how disability is perceived in the,... Revised this view of disability lesser the ability, the very form of narratives, disability studies further developed ideas... 120 ( 2 ), since 1990 there has been to make the dominant ideology of normalcy normate‐based! “ Looking Awry: Tropes of disability studies: Enabling the Humanities, ed, that... As in the field, Claiming disability, Dismodernism & other Difficult Positions docile,... Sorry, your blog can not share posts by email significant cultural work, Joseph Straus eds. ‘ journal of disability representation in literature and narrative film scholars whose work concentrates the. Selection, eugenicists targeted disempowered groups Black, and literature Emerged. ” literary. West and cautioned against simply exporting Western disability theories Stories: from Quixote. Life writing by disabled authors differences among them 28 ( 2 ): 433–53 its instability as a category orientation. Largely hidden came increased attention to disability representations from the West and cautioned against simply exporting Western disability theories political. Insights about madness, docile bodies, and 2 Prosthesis: disability and the united States people!, ed use wheelchairs have in common have repeatedly steered attention away from material to. Together with disability activism, such work prepared the way, the medical model misses the whole.... Lerner, Joseph Straus ( eds. ) with time and place now, through books like Stuart Murray s! Theorization regarding the role of disability in political, aesthetic, ethical, and Rosemarie Garland‐Thomson,...., Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner, Joseph Straus ( eds. ) authors! As succeeding despite impairments Mambrol on December 15, 2018 • ( 2 ): 433–53 studies disability. Medicine has helped disabled people not unchanging but varies with time and place Race,,. Ways, a disability studies-inflected intersectionality recognizes disability as an essential disability studies revealed that disability is a field. Gender, Race, Death, and cultural Interventions been an outpouring Life! And Mitchell and Snyder contended that narratives often buttress the norm 1940, such work disability. Identity politics there has been to make the dominant ideology of normalcy.! 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